The ventriloquism effect is what makes us think the ventriloquist's dummy is talking, even though our ears should be able to hear that they aren't. We can train ourselves out of it using a simple trick (but then we'd have to find out which dummies really are talking).
Ventriloquist dummies are made to be anthropomorphized, and their not-quite-human appearance is precisely what makes them so unnerving. So when I first heard of celebrity photographer Matthew Rolston's book of dummy portraits, I expected a creepy celebration of the uncanny valley. But so many of these photos,…
Thanks to The Twilight Zone, it's not easy to succeed as a ventriloquist in this day and age. No matter how hard you and your dummy try to bring joy to the world, your audience is left silently wondering who will be next. They laugh out of fear and obligation, not mirth. It is less vaudeville, more hostage crisis.