Because I’m me, and curiosity doesn’t just belong to cats, I couldn’t let James Wedgwood show up today without knowing a bit more about ventriloquism. A quick search on the almighty google provided me with a plethora of websites outlining the history of this fascinating art.
It, quite literally, is ancient.
While I had known about the priestess Pythia, the Greeks, and the Delphi, I never actually said, “Self, Pythia is a ventriloquist. The earliest of ventriloquists, used as a vessel for Apollo’s voice.” While this revelation takes some of the magic away from Pythia and her ilk, it actually makes me respect the culture in which ventriloquism arose.
Think of the power and energy that went into this deception. Think of the vulnerability and need of the people to hear directly from a god. Was it manipulation or compassion that allowed ventriloquism to arise?
And who was the first puppet master of inanimate objects? Was some Greek boy schlepping along in his sandals thinking, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if I could talk without moving my mouth?” Or did he do it to get the bullies off his back, turning the objects around him into living testaments of his power?
Or was it a mom who needed to keep her little tykes in line who first threw her voice across the room, making a stick talk to keep her kids occupied while she washed laundry? This is what I want to know. Alas, I never found out.
Regardless, gastromancy, as ventriloquy was called, was as fascinating then as it is today. The ability to speak without moving your mouth is a talent that has charmed some and scared others. It’s powerful because it’s uncommon. It’s something few of us will ever be able to take on the road–or to the Delphi.
Join us tonight to learn more about this magical art.