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Automatonophobia is the fear of anything that falsely represents a sentient being; it is a type of specific phobia. This includes, but is not limited to, ventriloquist dummies, animatronic creatures, mannequins, and wax statues.

Explaining to my friend Klare how much I feared dolls and the like when I was a child wasn't hard to do. We had started off discussing a drawing I had done about two years back that terrified me. I told her about how it shouldn't exist. How even though I remember drawing it, it wasn't actually my doing. It had felt almost as if drawing while sleepwalking might; your body not really being controlled by conscious decision.

One thing led to another, and in our exhausted 2 am discussion of the supernatural, we got into how it was very humanoid, like the figures from my nightmares that were only empty shells of human bodies. Floating off of the floor or staring into the back of my head. People that just weren't... people.

"Things like that used to really freak me out, too," she said, "until I realized what was so scary about them. Y'know, like what they want."

My brow furrowed. I had never considered why I feared them, only acknowledged that I did.

"What they want?" I asked.

I stared at the drawing's blank eyes, so empty but so obviously watching. What she said chilled me as much as it comforted her.

"Well, it's because they don't have souls. Sure they look human, but that's what they lack that makes them so unnerving. Human forms without souls. And what does everything without a soul want?"

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