Do you find yourself uncomfortable around inanimate figures that appear human? You may have automatonophobia, the fear of mannequins, wax figures, puppets, animatronics, and, among other ersatz humanoids, ventriloquist dummies. While little is known about the origins of this phobia, many attribute it to the uncanny valley effect - the eerie feeling of encountering things that look realistically human, but not quite human enough - and our innate fear of death, as these lifeless, blankly staring figures resemble corpses.
But with ventriloquism puppets, this concept goes further: These seemingly deceased humanoids suddenly spring to life, as though reanimated from their eternal slumber. They talk, move their heads, and blink their eyes, yet remain bodily inert, as though paralyzed below the neck. But are they?
Are the cartoonish voices and exaggerated movements of these dummies executed at the hands of their puppeteers, or do they possess a life of their own? Do they get up and walk around without human manipulation when the stage lights go down and audiences go home? What nefarious, unwholesome thoughts do they carry in their mind, counterbalancing their publicly jolly appearance?
Numerous films and TV series explore the concept of evil ventriloquist dummies: The Twilight Zone, Tales From the Crypt, American Horror Story, Goosebumps, Dead of Night, Magic, and Dead Silence, to name just a few. The following 30 images of creepy ventriloquist dummies, though, don't come from the land of fiction, but our world.
These ventriloquist dummies are out there somewhere, perhaps rotting away in a suitcase in someone's attic, waiting for the moment an unsuspecting soul unearths them, so their evil work can continue. Maybe they're in your closet, or your basement, or the storage spaces of those you love. Do you dare take a look?