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The Vocal Vent

Ventriloquism, Mentalism, Magic and More!

The Vocal Vent

Ventriloquism, Mentalism, Magic and More!

The True History of Ventriloquism Revealed

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history of ventriloquism

Ventriloquism is an art where a person changes his or her voice to make it seem that the voice is coming from the stomach.  This is referred to as “throwing” the voice.  The term ventriloquism originates from the Latin words venter and loqui, which mean to speak from the stomach.

Ventriloquism in Ancient Times

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In ancient times, ventriloquism was believed to be coming from dead souls living inside the stomach.  The early Greeks, as well as people in the Middle Ages, believed that there were magical powers associated with ventriloquism.

They believed that the ventriloquist was being used as a medium for either an oracle, or even being possessed by a witch.

It was not until the 18th and 19th century that ventriloquism gained popularity as an entertainment art form.  This was in part to travelling entertainers who would perform at fairs.

But ventriloquists didn’t always use a puppet, most commonly referred to as a “dummy”.  Ventriloquists would “throw” their voice so that it seemed as it were coming from far away.  This lent an air of mysticism and “magic” to the ventriloquist since this is not an easy feat and certainly not performed by the majority of people.

Eventually, ventriloquists began in incorporate dolls in their act.  In the United Kingdom, it came during the time of the Music Hall, and in the United States during the time of Vaudeville.

Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his best-known sidekick, Charlie McCarthy, in the film Stage Door Canteen (1943).

Ventriloquism is Gaining Popularity Today

Ventriloquism’s popularity decreased since the 1950s but is recently making a comeback.  Popular shows like America’s Got Talent and its counterparts worldwide have reminded the public of the talent required of ventriloquists.  Popular ventriloquists like Jeff Dunham have brought to the forefront the skill required to master the art of ventriloquy.

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