The act of ventriloquism is commonly called in English the ability to “throw” one’s voice. It was originally used in religious practice. The name “ventriloquism” comes from the Latin, which means “to speak from the stomach”, venter (belly) and loqui (speak). The Greeks thought that the sounds in the stomach belonged to the souls of the dead, which were living into the stomach of the ventriloquist. People believed they could talk to the dead through ventriloquist. One of the known early practitioners was Eurykles, a prophet at Athens. In the Middle Ages that ability was considered witchcraft. Ventriloquism became a performance act only in 18th century. The earliest recorded performer was known to perform in 1753 in England. In became a very popular act at travelling funfairs and market towns. But those days the performer would make it sound like the voice was coming from afar, and the dummies came along later. The father of modern ventriloquism is considered to be Fred Russell. In 1886, he was offered a professional engagement at the Palace Theatre in London. His act involved engaging a dummy into a conversation. By the way, the fear of dummies is called automatonophobia.