Rabelais and the Engastrimyth.

In the court of this ingenious grand master, Pantagruel witnessed two classes of person, both tiresome and excessively officious, which he held in great abomination. The one was known as Engastrimyths and the other Gastrolaters. 

The Engastrimyths laid claim to be descended from the ancient line of Eurycles, relying on the testimony of Aristophanes in his comedy of The Hornets or The Wasps. These were known in ancient times as Euryclians, as Plato and Plutarch, in his book On the Cessation of Oracles, have written. The Holy Decrees, 26 quest. 3, call them ventriloquists, as does Hippocrates, speaking of the belly in the Ionian language, lib. 5 Epid. Sophocles called them Sternomantes. They were diviners, enchanters, and deluders of ignorant people, who appeared to speak and respond to those who questioned them, not from the mouth, but from the belly. 

Such, in about the year 1513 of our blessed Saviour, was Jacoba Rodogina, an Italian woman of low birth. Along with many others in Ferrara and elsewhere, we have often heard, from the belly of this woman, and obedient to the summons of the rich lords and princes of Cisalpine Gaul, the voice of an unearthly spirit. The voice was low, weak and tiny, yet always well-articulated, distinct and intelligible. In order to guard against all possibility of dissembling and magical fraud, they caused her to be stripped completely naked and her mouth and nostrils to be stopped up. This evil spirit wished to be known as Crespelu (Curlyhead) or Cincinnatus, and seemed to take pleasure in the appellation. Whenever he was called by this name, he replied instantly to questions. Whenever he was asked about present or past matters, he responded so aptly as to excite the admiration of his audience. But regarding things in the future, he always lied, never uttering the truth about them. Often he seemed to confess his ignorance by letting out a great fart in lieu of reply, or mumbling a few words unintelligibly and in a barbarous fashion. 

François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel (1564), Book IV, ch. 58, Oeuvres Complètes, ed. Jacques Boulenger (Paris: Pléiade, 1953), pp. 697-8. Trans. Steven Connor as part of The Dumbstruck Archive, a continuing, online supplement to Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).