I can’t remember. The earliest reference I can find is in a paper by W. A. Wundt and J. A. Sartor. According to this work, the ventriloquism was invented in 1848.
How is that relevant?
It was invented first in Europe, and then in North America. In Germany, ventriloquism was invented in 1896, then in America in 1889. In Italy, ventriloquism started in 1908 and was popularized by the ventriloquist.
Why was ventriloquism an invention?
First, it seems that the inventor was not a man of science or skill. A scientist may invent a method for producing a desired chemical compound, but it was not due to the expert knowledge of someone with a “scientific” background or training. Second, it seems to be a much later invention than that of the ventriloquist, as it may have been invented to imitate the ventriloquist.
Why did the ventriloquist develop the ventriloquism?
According to the authors of the report on the discovery of the ventriloquist (1890):
… the ventriloquist invented the ventriloquism out of the want to be able to talk to the dead. By making the dead sound the sound of life, or by making them say words and gestures of the living, which the dead in the act of dying did, the ventriloquist enabled himself to speak to the living in the language of the living.
In a review of the development of ventriloquism, by Arthur L. Anderson in 1937, he states:
The ventriloquist’s methods of ventriloquism were based loosely on the ventriloquist’s methods of singing. The ventriloquist’s ventriloquism, however, was entirely different from that of the other early and successful ventriloquists. The difference was not of words – they were very close, and the ventriloquist himself was never known to pronounce his own words – but in the particular method of ventriloquism. The ventriloquist’s method was a direct and simple approximation of the ventriloquist’s speech voice (a voice that he had learned, which was a sort of direct imitation of it from living examples). The ventriloquist’s method, in point of fact,
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