Who invented ventriloquism? – How Do You Learn Ventriloquism Fastrak San Diego

Dr. John Vanecek and John H. McWhorter from the University of Missouri:

Inventor: Peter H. Langer

Date: October 31, 1852

First publication: Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 23, No. 6, pp. 851-852

First mention of ventriloquism: New York Times, Nov. 9, 1878

First known use of ventriloquism: 1877, for delivering a lecture to an audience of 150 at the University of Toronto

“Invented” to describe a new form of surgery

Inventors and researchers in the fields of surgery and psychology will always focus on the first uses of their inventions. The use of a ventriloquist’s dummy in surgery is sometimes cited as an early example of ventriloquism. A ventriloquist was a person who held a dummy suspended from a line. He would act out different parts of the dummy, such as his “hand” and his arm, to simulate a different patient, sometimes a patient with a difficult procedure and sometimes another, similar but slightly different problem, such as being treated for insanity by placing a ventriloquist’s dummy in front of a person’s face. The dummy would then appear to say different things to each person – and sometimes to other people – depending on their position in the room.

Many historians believe that the ventriloquist’s dummy first appeared in the U.S. on May 9, 1851, in the New York Times. The paper reported on the appearance of the dummy in a surgery theater near the Yale University. (It is not known where in New York the dummy was installed, or what the purpose was for the dummy.) The newspaper account said the dummy was “raised in the air so that it would not be seen by the people in the theatre and, after a while, was lowered and acted upon by a man named Peter Langer.” The paper quoted the doctors of the surgery theater and a doctor at Yale’s hospital as saying that the dummy appeared to “make sounds to some extent to convince the patients that they were being treated by another person.” The dummy was designed (and made) entirely by Langer and it has been widely believed that he used the dummy as an early form of ventriloquism. Although it is possible that the “dummy” was made from the body of a dead person, it’s not

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