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(1984). Meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 53:162-163.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:162-163

Meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

March 30, 1982. ON VENTRILOQUISM. Edgar L. Lipton, M.D.

Dr. Lipton began by noting the absence of psychoanalytic literature on ventriloquism as well as the paucity of analytic studies of art form in general. He illustrated his discussion of the psychological aspects of ventriloquism with the presentation of a patient who used ventriloquism to deal with problems of separation and individuation.

Since the direction from which sound originates is not clearly recognized by the human ear, the ventriloquist is able, through suggestion, to create an illusion of a personality other than his own. The illusion is associated with magic in the public's eye. Magic involves the belief that humans may directly influence nature and each other for good or evil, although the precise mechanism may not be understood. Ventriloquists are classified by ancient writers as evil or as practicing black magic. The Old Testament, as interpreted by the commentator, Rashi, specifically forbids the practice of necromancy through ventriloquism. There seem to be other references to it in the books of Samuel and Isaiah. At Delphi, oracles' utterances were probably spoken by priests who referred ventriloquial sounds to statues.

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