I'm sure Royal Nails and Spa is a great place to get your nails did. But their swaying mannequin, visible as you enter the side parking lot to my favorite Market Street (19th & Quaker) is terrifying. And while she hasn't haunted my dreams yet, she startles me EVERY DANG TIME.

I'm not alone; many other people at least find her creepy. And there's science that explains why.

It's a concept called uncanny valley, which basically means that the closer you get to looking human without looking convincingly human, the more uncomfortable/creeped out the viewer will get.

From WhatIs.com:

The feelings diagrammed in the uncanny valley can reach extreme levels like revulsion, exceeding those experienced when viewing a corpse. The uncanny valley is experienced at different levels by different individuals, mostly depending on the familiarity of the subject materials. Designers can bridge the valley with changes like the addition of cartoon-like or "cuter" features.

The uncanny valley phenomenon is usually spoken of in reference to human simulations but also can be brought about by Photoshopped images, dolls, teddy bears and subjects of plastic surgery. The uncanny valley can also be created by discrepancies in voice, movement or appearance.

So it's possible our brain thinks we are looking at a dead body moving and has a startled response. Yikes!