Greg Fallis

On Thursday I heard a couple of office workers talking about how the top floor of a nearby parking garage was going to close for the winter. So I zipped up to the top floor to shoot this photo. While I was up there, a maintenance guy was doing something obscure and mechanical, and his stomach was growling. Loudly. I sort of laughed and the guy said something about his belly voicing an opinion.

I thought about telling him that a couple thousand years ago, people would have thought that was true. People believed that the loud grumbling of the stomach was the speech of demons or spirits who'd taken up temporary residence in a person gut. I thought he might be interested in knowing that there were some people whose stomachs were so vocal they were thought to be conduits between the spiritual/demonic world and the living world. Those people would listen to their stomachs bellow and would then 'translate' what was being said, foretelling the future or interpreting current local events.

There was a Latin term for these belly-speakers. Venter (from the Latin for belly) - loqui (from the Latin for speak). They were called ventriloquists.

I thought about telling the maintenance guy all this, but the elevator came. And rescued him.

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