The Wonder Of The Age
May 6, 2015 3:08 PM   Subscribe

 
I take some small comfort in the fact that the person who screeched "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" for the body of a doll has been dead for decades.
posted by dr_dank at 3:14 PM on May 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


I take some small comfort in the fact that the person who screeched "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" for the body of a doll has been dead for decades.

I pray the Lord her soul took.
posted by The Bellman at 3:18 PM on May 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Every few years with the creepy Edison doll.
posted by clavdivs at 3:20 PM on May 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Hey, I like the SCP Foundation as much as the next guy, but this is just going too far.

Anyway, Tesla made one first.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:24 PM on May 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


I do not take comfort at all in that fact, dr_dank. If anything, I take negative comfort in it.

draws blinds, thinks about wandering ghosts
posted by phooky at 3:29 PM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Tesla's talking demon doll actually worked on the first test run.

There were no survivors.
posted by The Whelk at 3:31 PM on May 6, 2015 [32 favorites]


Various articles about these, one of which cites a biography of Edison, claim that the recordings were made by young girls. But I just cannot buy it. The three different doll-recordings I've heard so far all sound similarly like an adult doing a high-pitched "childish" voice. Hard to explain what I mean--the voices have too much body beneath them, and too much artificial-head-voice packing them into that soprano register.
posted by theatro at 3:34 PM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Edison, not wanting to deal with children, just did the voices himself?
posted by The Whelk at 3:35 PM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I feel for the girls having to make passable recordings of nursery rhymes. Even full grown men had to stick their face into the horn when recording. I can imagine that the results the girls got from just singing normally were awful, hence the need to mangle their voices. (Though I can well believe that girls didn't do the recordings at all, as theatro said.)
posted by Thing at 3:37 PM on May 6, 2015


The past is a foreign country: they CAN'T SLEEP, DOLL WILL EAT ME there
posted by RogerB at 3:46 PM on May 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Tesla's talking demon doll actually worked on the first test run.

"Worked" might be too strong a word. It tipped over and exploded when it tried to land.
posted by The Bellman at 3:54 PM on May 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ancient records like this are as close to time travel as we're going to get. The subject matter here is slightly off-putting, but being able to listen to somebody who lived and maybe died over a century ago is pretty damned amazing.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 3:56 PM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


IT ISNT DEAD
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:00 PM on May 6, 2015


While listening to this, I realized I was quietly whispering "no, no, no, no" without even realizing it.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:23 PM on May 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


The subject matter here is slightly off-putting, but being able to listen to somebody who lived and maybe died over a century ago whose soul was sucked out by an unholy occult ritual and imprisoned forever inside an obsidian crystal carved into a disturbingly realistic doll-sized heart, placed with metal forceps into the quivering torso of a mechanical homunculus amidst the backwards Latin chants of black-robed figures, unable to speak except in the same shrieking lines, over and over again for all eternity is pretty damned amazing.
posted by dephlogisticated at 4:26 PM on May 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


The historian in me loves this. My raw imagination does, too. As crude as this sounds to us, it's an amazing feat. And people spoke differently then, yo.

Here is Wm McKinley. Here is Florence Nightingale. Here is a nice assortment.

Doll voices? Not creepy to me at all given comparable recordings.
posted by CincyBlues at 4:38 PM on May 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Whelk, I had the same idea. Edison recited Mary Had a Little Lamb, of course, so he had a history of putting children's rhymes on wax. I could imagine him recording in a falsetto, at least for some of them.
posted by QuietDesperation at 4:55 PM on May 6, 2015


Edison, not wanting to deal with children, just did the voices himself


At least he didn't have the children electrocuted.


That we know of.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:08 PM on May 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


My sister had what was probably one of the last descendents of this doll: a crying baby doll, manufactured some time during the 1980s. It contained a small record player with a plastic groove record, on which was recorded the sound of a crying baby; the record player was triggered by a mercury switch and/or a switch closed when a dummy was removed from the doll's mouth. They stopped making such baroquely mechanical devices a few years later when cheap digital voice chips rendered them obsolete.

My sister, at the time, did not appreciate my figuring out how the doll worked.
posted by acb at 5:16 PM on May 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am sure the NPR story I heard about these said that the voices were done by female Edison employees trying to sound like little girls.
posted by Biblio at 5:17 PM on May 6, 2015


It is of theory that Chucky stole Edison's last breath.
posted by clavdivs at 5:31 PM on May 6, 2015


IT ISNT DEAD

Get an axe.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:44 PM on May 6, 2015


I still find it less terrifying than the sound of an actual child.
posted by maxsparber at 6:47 PM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


One thing you gotta respect about those old school ghoul dolls, none of that "Math is hard!" nonsense.
posted by Chitownfats at 6:51 PM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Playing this caused my poor guinea pig to leap into the air, then run and hide under my blanket.

I do agree that orators' voices from a century and more ago are fascinating. My guinea pig Lydia Pigham is voting for the demon theory, however.
posted by DrMew at 7:19 PM on May 6, 2015


Edison's Eve
posted by 0rison at 8:47 PM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's pretty amazing that we can hear the voices of demons who lived over a century ago
posted by NoraReed at 11:56 PM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


MY NAME IS THOMAS ED I SON AND I DON'T LIKE YOU
posted by benzenedream at 1:21 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


My sister had what was probably one of the last descendents of this doll: a crying baby doll, manufactured some time during the 1980s. It contained a small record player with a plastic groove record, on which was recorded the sound of a crying baby; the record player was triggered by a mercury switch and/or a switch closed when a dummy was removed from the doll's mouth. They stopped making such baroquely mechanical devices a few years later when cheap digital voice chips rendered them obsolete.

I had one of those too, also in the early 1980s! Mine worked the same way, but it sang "Mary Mary Quite Contrary" instead of crying. When the batteries started to run low, it slowed down and the pitch got deep and croaky and it was truly terrifying.
posted by lollusc at 4:14 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]




More than anything, it sounds like a Dalek to me.

"NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP. I PRAY THE LORD TO EXTERMINATE! IF I SHOULD DIE BEFORE I WAKE, I PRAY THE LORD TO EXTERMINATE!
posted by Caduceus at 9:06 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Jesus Christ. The McElroys need to bring back Haunted Doll Watch one last time for this.
posted by kmz at 1:10 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


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