Welcome to Dread: The Unsolved! In this bi-monthly web series, our team will investigate cases of unexplained phenomena, unsolved deaths and disappearances, cryptic viral videos, paranormal sightings, and all the latest terrifying content making the rounds on social media.
In our premiere episode, “The Lost Puppeteers,” we explore a series of horrific and mysterious real-life cases involving puppets and the people who hold their strings.
Puppets, ventriloquist figures, and marionettes… all of them are vessels for the imagination and talents of the puppet master, who controls their movements or lends them a voice of their own. In ancient times, ventriloquists and puppeteers were often accused of necromancy… and sometimes they paid the ultimate price for their arcane practices.
Today, those superstitions may be far behind us, but there’s something slightly “off” about the concept of an inanimate “thing” suddenly taking on the appearance of life… especially if that “thing” looks uncomfortably human. (Just try Googling “Uncanny Valley” for some extremely unsettling images.)
The entire history of horror cinema is filled with examples of ventriloquists exchanging personalities with their all-too-realistic figures, or dolls and mannequins brought to life by supernatural forces… but some of the most chilling stories involving puppeteers are straight out of today’s headlines.
Our debut episode investigates some of these real-life tales – including the horrific secret life of Ronald William Brown, former host of the children’s puppet show Joy Junction, the unexplained disappearance of famous magician and ventriloquist William B. Wood, and viral videos of street performers terrifying spectators with their puppet creations.
The most recent – and certainly the most unnerving – of these unsolved cases involves Aleksander Emilov, a Bulgarian puppet performer who relocated to Seattle in the ‘90s, where his surreal and often disturbing street-theater shows brought him both controversy and a cult following… that is, until he mysteriously vanished in 2016, in the middle of a particularly nightmarish performance in a public park.
Check out the first episode and tell us what you think… and if you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Aleksander Emilov, be sure to notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org (your name and contact info will be kept anonymous).
Who knows, maybe with your help, we can find the answers…