HAPPY HALLOWEEN

These creepy newswire photos of mannequins will haunt your dreams

Can’t unsee.
Can’t unsee.
Image: AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade
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For a recent assignment, I had the misfortune of stumbling upon newswire photos tagged with “mannequin.” Turns out, the uncanny valley is alive and well in the image databases for Reuters and the Associated Press.

The uncanny valley describes the relationship between how lifelike an object is and our emotional response to that object. The more a robot or doll resembles a realistic human, the more positive we feel towards it. That is, up to a point. There is a significant dip in the comfort we feel around life-like objects when they become too real. Owing to this effect, mannequins are often far creepier than they ought to be.

These images have been haunting my dreams—and now they can haunt yours. Happy Halloween!

The destroyed face of a dummy used to simulate a suicide bomber during a blast scene investigation course in Thailand, 2016.
The destroyed face of a dummy used during a blast scene investigation drill in Thailand, 2016.
Image: REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Mannequin parts at a factory in Ankara. The company makes approximately 100 models per month, priced between $200 and $500 each, 2014.
Mannequin parts at a factory in Ankara, 2014.
Image: REUTERS/Umit Bektas
Putin on a face: A mannequin of Russian president Vladimir Putin seen during a rally in Ukraine against Russia’s hosting of the soccer world cup, 2018
A mannequin of Vladimir Putin at a rally in Ukraine protesting Russia’s hosting of the World Cup, 2018.
Image: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Broken mannequins lie behind a shop front damaged by clashes between anti-government protestors and riot police in Kiev, 2014.
Broken mannequins lie behind a shop front damaged by clashes between anti-government protestors and riot police in Kiev, 2014.
Image: REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
Nursing students in Michigan use a mannequin to learn how to respond to real-life medication situations. These teaching tools can bleed, vomit and give birth.
Nursing students in Michigan use a mannequin to learn how to respond to real-life medication situations, 2016.
Image: AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
Fiberglass mannequin parts lie in apparent agony at a factory in Egypt, 2017.
Fiberglass mannequin parts at a factory in Egypt, 2017.
Image: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
A mannequin in an animal mask wears designer John Varvatos' Men's Fall/Winter 2016 fashion.
A mannequin in an animal mask wears designer John Varvatos’ Men’s Fall/Winter 2016 fashion line in New York.
Image: AP Photo/Leanne Italie