Random Ephemera

Top 6 Creepiest Ventriloquist Dummies for National Ventriloquism Week

There are very few things left in this world that are genuinely surprising. Every once in a while you may read something or come across an odd fact that really causes you to say "Seriously?" to yourself. I came across such a fact the other day when I learned that this week just so happens to be National Ventriloquism Week. Who decided these days should be dedicated to the dummy, no one seems to know for sure, but they are throwing their voices all over the place at the Cincinnati Airport Marriott Hotel at this year's annual Vent Convention.

The ventriloquism that we know today dates back to the vaudeville era, when the draw wouldn't be so much the witty repartee between dummy and human as the sheer novelty of watching someone switch voices around without moving his lips. If you've ever given it a shot, there is certainly a skill to it. How do you say the letter "R" without moving your mouth or looking like you're having a seizure?

The real origins of ventriloquism began way before that. The ventriloquists were more soothsayers than joke makers and the noises they were making came from their intestines. The ventriloquists then translated the noises, which were feared as coming from the dead. What could the dead possibly be saying through a stomach other than "hungry"?

Stomach gas or amusing stage performance, ventriloquism has a certain cachet to it with a huge creep factor. People are really frightened of those wooden dummies. In fact, there's an honest-to-God phobia over the dolls, called automatonophobia. They are weird and scary.

Television and movies have done nothing but add to our fear and mockery of the craft, making dummies the root of all evil.

Our top six creepiest ventriloquist dummies.

6. Dead Silence Dead Silence, a film released just some five years ago, was created by the good people behind the Saw franchise. It's not a good movie per se, but it will make you jump. A married couple in one of those sleepy towns receives an unexplained ventriloquist doll one day in the mail. Lesson learned: If someone ever sends you a dummy in the mail, it will kill you.

5. Freaks and Geeks -- "Noshing and Moshing" Poor Neal Schweiber. After discovering his dad is messing around on the side, Neal finds comfort in the arms and attention of a ventriloquist dummy named Morty. It's sad and pathetic and not very funny to boot. His obsession with his new dummy friend turns into an all-out, awkwardly unpleasant family party that would make anybody cringe. In the end, Neal trades in Morty for some real people, but it is a fond farewell.

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Abby Koenig
Contact: Abby Koenig