Terror In Motion: Automatons!

(above - "Spirit Halloween" Store item)

Automatisms - Unconscious behaviors.  In the field of medicine, this includes seizures, tics, lip smacking, chewing, finger rubbing, and the like.

Interestingly, when a human does something unconscious, it is automatism, but if you design a machine to move like a human, it becomes an automaton. These are more creepy than your sister chewing on her hair.

Something nostalgic, a bit steampunk, and totally unique--Automata Toys. I think if you have an eccentric, interesting, nostalgic, steampunk, or older relative you need to find a gift for, one of these would say "I know you're unique and I'm promoting that."

Made in the 1930s by Wolverine Manufacturing Company of Pennsylvania, this vintage musical automaton toy plays the xylophone. The tune it plays is "programmed" on the profile of a cam measuring about 3" in diameter. By changing the cam, the little figure will play any one of six songs:

1. The Farmer in the Dell
2. Yankee Doodle
3. My Old Kentucky Home
4. Sidewalks of New York
5. Silent Night
6. Listen to the Mocking Bird

Of course, everyone knows this famous one (and kind of fears it too)

Now, it gets creepier...

Some movies don't come across as particularly chilling, but atmospheric. "Woman in Black" is one such movie. In fact, I like the movie for the nursery that is filled with automaton toys from turn-of-the-century and I dream of making a writer's office full of such devices that are scarier when they aren't even moving. The movie "Saw" utilized a disturbing clown on a tricycle.

Can't afford this (below) 7500 dollar vintage floating lady?

Here's my dream toy I want - Zoltar the Fortune Teller -

And, if you don't need vintage, remember in September we start the Spirit Halloween Store season - more than a few automatons there (I heard they have a fortune teller machine this year -- guess I'm gonna have to shake my change jar)  -

And, if you want to see more in action and be creeped out, watch the movie "Woman in Black" in which a room in the big old scary mansion has lots of these staring at the lead character and freaking him out.