Subject: Gef, the Talking Mongoose. At first, Gef made his presence known by random scratches, rustling, and general activity within the cavities of the farmhouse at Cashen’s Gap, close to Dalby on the Isle of Man. Yet as Colin Dickey wrote in his article on Gef! While he’s frequently referred to as a “mongoose,” he was initially called the “Dalby Spook” (referring to his geographic location on the Isle of Man). The farm was home to 60-yr-old Jim Irving, his wife Margaret, and their 12-yr old daughter Voirrey. 19-27. Indeed there are many cases of poltergeists taking animal forms, so perhaps Gef was some spirit, ghost, demon, or other supernatural entity. I know who I am but I shan’t tell you. On a farm in Manx, Doarlish Cashen in the United Kingdom’s Isle of Man, in the early 1930’s, Mr. James T. Irving discovered what he thought was a strange animal inside his house. Image credit: Canstockphoto. Voirrey Irving was twelve and thirteen years old at the time of the notoriety. Seven years of research, trawling local newspapers, esoteric journals, interviewing locals, and with field trips to the Isle of Man, Liverpool, parapsychology archives in London and Cambridge, finally the wait is over and the definitive history of the Dalby Spook (a.k.a. On an American farm, there was Mike the headless chicken. The book draws on newspaper clippings from the media frenzy around Gef, diaries, artist sketches, previously unpublished photographs, and the Harry Price Library of Magical Literature at the Senate House in London. I am the eighth wonder of the world!” Gef himself was unsure of his form, or powers, sometimes claiming to have magical abilities, or clairvoyance, which required some form of invisible technology. : The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose by Christopher Josiffe is out now from Strange Attractor. It’s highly likely that what would happen now, happened then. That American-born movement centered on the belief that spirits were around us, and wanted to communicate with us. If the Irvings were sane and unable to profit, or uninterested in profiting, off of Gef, then, such logic runs, a talking mongoose is suddenly the most reasonable answer. for the Los Angeles Review of Books, “Looking for a motive beyond profit and fame suggests a family in turmoil, a crisis that manifested itself in a mischievous and protective supernatural creature.” Whatever occurred, Voirrey, who died in 2005, never confessed a role in the creation of Gef. Josiffe journeys to the ruins of the Isle of Man farmhouse, torn down in 1971, where it all began, and revisits the 1936 book on Gef — The Haunting of Cashen’s Gap — authored by Richard S. Lambert with paranormal investigator Harry Price. One of the more popular theories is the idea that Gef was not a real talking mongoose at all, but rather a poltergeist taking the form of one. Price arrived on the island in the summer of 1935. The story of one of the weirdest poltergeist cases on record continues to run and run. In September 1931, the Irving family, consisting of James, Margaret and a 13-year-old daughter named Voirrey, claimed they heard persistent scratching, rustling, and vocal noises behind their farmhouse’s wooden wall panels that variously resembled a ferret, a dog or a baby. Although he reported no conversations with Gef the talking mongoose, he did catch and kill an unusual small animal that, he told local press, ‘answers to all descriptions’ of Gef… I have hands and I have feet, and if you saw me you’d faint, you’d be petrified, mummified, turned into stone or a pillar of salt! "I am not a spirit. Gef on Gef "I am an earthbound spirit." : The Strange Tale of an Extra-special Talking Mongoose (courtesy Strange Attractor), Photograph from Gef! I agree. © 2009-2020 Historic Mysteries. “Over the years my understanding of the Irving family’s experiences almost a century ago has taken many twists and turns, shifting in shape and form almost as many times as Gef himself, so I present here the facts of the case and leave you to draw your own conclusions as to who, or what that clever little mongoose really was,” Josiffe writes in a foreword. A wonder of the 1940s where an ordinary chicken survived for 18 months with no head after being cut off with an axe. The story of Gef the Talking Mongoose was one of the biggest stories of the 1930s! In the nearly 400 pages of Gef! We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Nowadays this story falls between the cracks of historical significance, much like reports of Rat-Kings, the Alpine Tatzelwurm, and the native American Thunderbird. Famed parapsychologists such as Harry Price learned about Gef and began an investigation. Historic Mysteries is an Amazon Associate and earns from qualifying purchases. What at first appears like an obvious hoax becomes something more complex, as Gef’s presence as a spirit, ghost, hallucination, possessed animal, indication of family hysteria, or a young daughter’s ploy for attention are all methodically examined. Gef also mentioned he was a mongoose born on June 7th, 1852 in Delhi, India. Read our cookies policy. A family on the Isle of Man, in 1931, found that they had a rather strange house guest who called himself Gef. There's some indication the tale originated when 13 year-old Voirrey Irving, an accomplished rabbit hunter, began saying that dead rabbits she brought home were killed by her friend, a sentient mongoose, and before long she had her parents believing the tale and spreading it to their neighbors. TTM Episode 15: Interview with Shelley Langan-Newton Amanda Cashmore speaks with Head of Environmental Health, Glenn Blacker. : The Strange Tale of an Extra-special Talking Mongoose (courtesy Strange Attractor), Alleged photograph of Gef, showing him “in distinctly cat-like form” (December 1935) from Gef! Surely, Gef was a “hoax” of some kind, if only of “War of the Worlds” variety. Imagine if Gef was discovered today, he would be all over the internet for days, weeks, or even months to come. Become a member today », “Harry Price commissioned artist George Scott to draw a sketch of Gef, based on the Irvings’ descriptions of him. The animal eventually identified itself as Gef and was first discovered by the Irving family in September 1931. Looks more like a llama!’,” from Gef! The corpse that he put on display was black and white and by all accounts was considerably larger than Gef. In this episode of The Talking Mongoose, Stuart Steen McFaull chats to Paul Jones about FC IOM. You guessed it, he was a talking mongoose who got up to all kinds of hijinks. A Net Inceptions project. Gef the Talking Mongoose by Thinking Sideways Podcast. | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | DMCA Notice, This website uses cookies to improve your experience. He was a talking mongoose who lived on the Island of Man. Gef the Talking Mongoose) can now be told. Claiming to be a mongoose from India that was born in 1852 in India, the voice called itself Gef and always claimed it was a flesh and blood creature. It has been superseded with stories of ghosts, UFOs, Bigfoot, and even dinosaur sightings. Gef, when queried on if he knew what death was, said: “Yes, a changeover.”, “‘How Gef showed his fingers’ — Irving is pointing towards a pair of white, hand-like objects that protrude from the gap between the wooden rafter and the sloping roof. Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism. According to reports, Gef did much more than talk. Gef remained behind or at least didn’t go with them. It didn’t take Gef long to enamor himself to the Irvings, quickly becoming more than a pet. As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever. All rights reserved. So what exactly was the Dalby Spook? He sang songs – a personal favorite being Carolina Moon, recited texts, and mimicked other animals and sounds brought to him or simply overheard. : The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose (photo of the book for Hyperallergic). are images and accounts from Josiffe’s years-long obsession with this singing, stealing, multilingual talking mongoose (who was said to speak phrases in English, French, German, Yiddish, Spanish, Flemish, and Hebrew). During his investigation, Price took care to avoid supporting or condemning the Irvings reports, trusting that facts would speak for themselves. There's an intriguing comment by one 'Gypsy Bowels' who claims to have visited Doarlish Cashen as a young child in the mid 40's. Although now a largely forgotten tale, the sensational Gef (pronounced Jeff), the ‘talking mongoose’ of the Isle of Man, or as he is sometimes known, the Dalby Spook, caused an international media stir during the 1930s.. Mike the Headless Chicken and Dalby Spook. "If I were a spirit, I could not kill rabbits." In a nation long fascinated by the supernatural, the case of Gef the talking mongoose stands out as one of the most bizarre in British paranormal history. Once when Margaret asked him about her husband’s long absence, Gef responded: “I don’t know. He’s the man who puts the kybosh on the spirits! When this activity became more pronounced and developed into coherent speech, the 1930s British tabloid press went into overdrive and turned Gef into something of a media sensation. He became a member of the family itself. Yet to a reporter in 1932, James assured: “There are no spooks here.” The journalist with the Daily Dispatch in Manchester, which was Gef’s first appearance in the mainland press, wrote: Had I heard a weasel speak? In the early 1930s however, an even more astonishing story of the Dalby Spook hit international headlines. In time, the Irvings moved out and a new owner, Leslie Graham, took up residence at the farm in 1946. Accept Read More, http://gefmongoose.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-story-of-gef.html, Lake Avernus Mythology, Oracles, and the Underworld, Indrid Cold: Grinning Man of 1960s American Folklore, Stingy Jack and the History of the Jack-o’-Lantern, Dark Legend of the Celle Neues Rathaus, Germany. In "Gef! Post Mortem Photography – Immortalizing the Dead. His widow and daughter sold the farm and left for mainland England. On one occasion he threw stones at Mrs Irving as she walked home and one morning when Mr Irving took too long to open the morning paper he lost his temper and cried out “Read it out, you fat-headed gnome!”. : The Strange Tale of an Extra-special Talking Mongoose (courtesy Strange Attractor), Alleged photograph of Gef, showing him “in distinctly cat-like form” (May 1936) from Gef! Photographs of the camera-shy Gef appear alternately cat and squirrel-like, always obscured, and his own attempt at a self-portrait is barely more than a scrawl. We use cookies to make the site easier to use. : The Strange Tale of an Extra-special Talking Mongoose (courtesy Strange Attractor). Several times in the last few decades, certain animals have obtained a celebrity status that has earned them a cult following. He refused to show himself to the family, and was often at times quite ill-mannered. He could be violent — “You don’t know what damage or harm I could do if I were roused. Hyperallergic is a forum for serious, playful, and radical thinking about art in the world today. Gef happily feasted on biscuits, chocolate, and bananas. Despite their written reports, magazine articles and books, several photographs of Gef, the talking mongoose (a.k.a. This does sound all fine and dandy, but there was a darker, more sinister side to the animal. Was it somehow real?! The depth of the slit (4″) is shown by the other knife which Mr. Irving holds.,” from Gef! I am a freak. It's a big Universe full of wonders. (Voirrey was not the Irvings’ only child; however, the two older children, Elsie and Gilbert, were already grown and living on their … Gef (/ ˈ dʒ ɛ f / JEF), also referred to as the Talking Mongoose or the Dalby Spook, was the name given to an allegedly talking mongoose which was claimed to inhabit a farmhouse owned by the Irving family. But on being shown the sketch, Gef strongly objected, saying: ‘That ain’t me! : The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose (courtesy Strange Attractor). "I am a ghost in the form of a weasel, and I shall haunt you with weird noises and clanking chains." The Irvings lived on a farmstead on top of a hill in Dalby. Georgia Guidestones: Who Paid for It and Why? : The Strange Tale of an Extra-special Talking Mongoose (courtesy Strange Attractor), Gef! Maybe the legend of Gef the Talking Mongoose was a collective fantasy, the product of a basic human desire for other-wordly wonder and magic. Richard welcomes a TV producer and author to discuss one of the strangest cases in paranormal history: A talking mongoose that terrorized a family living on an isolated farm on the Isle of … It was not a successful farm; James “Jim” Irving, an educated man, had previously been a traveling salesman, and although the farm was his retirement project, it was proving insufficient to support his wife, Margaret, and their daughter, Voirrey. On both sides of the Atlantic however, two early stories about real extraordinary animals emerged a generation or two ago. The Irvings' farm was located at Cashen's Gap near the hamlet of Dalby on the Isle of Man.The story was given extensive coverage by the tabloid press in Britain in the early 1930s. If Voirrey knew who or what Gef was, she took that knowledge to the grave in 2005 and left the world with one of the most bizarre and perplexing mysteries of any generation. Manx born and bred, self-confessed cooking addict and food snob. Surely, this is a puzzle of the mind rather than the paranormal realm. You guessed it, he was a talking mongoose who got up to all kinds of hijinks. The farm’s new owner, a man called Leslie Graham, proclaimed that he had shot and killed a ‘funny looking animal’ in 1946. A convenient excuse as in the build-up Price’s arrival, Gef let his feelings be known. That in itself is quite the testament to willpower and determination to survive anything. HARRIS, Melvin. Price also remarked on so-called peep-holes along the skirting boards and walls. When Price concluded his investigation and left the island, Gef reappeared, claiming that he had taken a few days holiday. As the family grew fed up with the incivility, and threatened to leave, Gef calmed down. : The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose, A Mysterious 17th-Century Artist Who Saw Visions in Firewood's Rings, Irving Harper, a Mid-Century Designer Whose Playful Paper Art Deserves A Look, A Brief Guide on How to Get Your Creative Work Seen, Funded, and Supported, A Prison Abolitionist Ceramics Studio Is Helping Change People’s Lives, Arts Leaders Call for Senior Executives to Resign at Americans for the Arts, A Surrealist Yves Tanguy Painting Was Tossed in Trash at a German Airport, University of Florida Offers a Funded MFA Degree in Its Cutting-edge Studio Art Program, German Film Office and Arsenal Berlin Present “Comes the Revolution: The Berlinale Forum at 50”, UC Davis’s MFA in Design Program Welcomes Prospective Students to a Virtual Open House, Tulsa Artist Fellowship Provides Extraordinary Support, Washington University in St. Louis Offers Competitive Funding for Inclusive MFA Programs, Proudly powered by Newspack by Automattic. Gef! Tagged #unsolved mysteries #curious stories #thinking #sideways #thinking sideways. On both sides of the Atlantic however, two early stories about real extraordinary animals emerged a generation or two ago. The Irving family themselves appear in these photographs, neatly dressed and apparently sane, posed in front of their remote home. Although he never got to see or hear Gef for himself, Price was able to collect evidence that could corroborate the Irvings’ version of events. Gef became part of the family and it reminds me very much of the Bell Witch, except it was a lot less hostile - although still at times unpleasant and demanding. London: Orbis Publishing 1983, pp. Interesting history topics are just a click away. In this time of craziness when we’ve all been forced into our homes I wanted to get creative, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, I wanted to have an excuse to shut the kitchen door on my adorable family, drink wine by myself and share my passion for all things tasty. Dennis. Gef was famous about 100 years ago. As James would later describe, what started as a “tap, tap, tap at night” within their walls developed into an ongoing conversation with this astute, and often snide, “man-weasel” who had decided to make their isolated home his own abode. He was a talking mongoose who lived on the Island of Man. He would often boast or brag that he was the 8th wonder of the world; he was an extra clever mongoose; perhaps most chilling of all. I am the fifth dimension! James Irving, age 58, Margaret, age 54, and their daughter Voirrey, age 13, collectively experienced the manifestation of Gef at their farmhouse on the Isle of Man. there are 3,530,000 results). Allison C. Meier is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. I don’t like that Harry Price! “The Mongoose That Talked & Lost For Words” In Peter Brookesmith (ed) _Open Files_. Links:Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GefGef: The 8th wonder of the world – http://gefmongoose.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-story-of-gef.html. : The Strange Tale of an Extra-special Talking Mongoose (courtesy Strange Attractor), “Gap in the concrete step from which Gef’s voice was heard,” from Gef! It might seem like quite a lot of pages to devote to one early 20th-century mystery, but Josiffe contextualizes Gef within a paranormal moment in Great Britain (emerging alongside such cryptids as the less verbose Loch Ness Monster, who drew international notice in 1933), as well as the enduring engagement with Spiritualism. Gef was famous about 100 years ago. A recurring theory is that the daughter Voirrey used ventriloquism to throw the high-pitched Gef voice around the house. Coming straight from the Mongoose’s mouth itself, the Dalby Spook was a name given to a mongoose that had managed to master the art of speech. The Irvings continued to reside on the farm for another decade until James, the patriarch, passed away in 1945. Gef! The strange saga of Gef the talking mongoose began in Autumn 1931 in an isolated hilltop farmstead on the Isle of Man known as Doarlish Cashen (Manx for 'Cashen's Gap'). "I know who I am but I shan't tell you. Voirrey Irving, the young daughter who many considered to be responsible for a potential hoax, was adamant that the slain animal was not Gef at all. Other accounts speculate that the precocious Voirrey told school chums of her chatty little pal, no doubt inspired by Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, a short st… Gef often helped around the house, turning off stoves accidentally left on, awaking over-sleepers, and that kind of thing. Gef the Talking Monster, also known as the Dalby Spook or simply Gef, was an extremely bizarre and amazing animal-like spirit which was claimed to inhabit a farmhouse owned by the Irving family known as Cashen's Gap near the hamlet of Dalby on the Isle of Man. Sometime after, the new owner shot a large mongoose-like animal which may have been the creature. Dalby Spook, or Gef, was allegedly a talking mongoose which became a sensation in the 1930s. On an American farm, there was Mike the headless chicken. Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all. Indeed, she was an early fixation of Gef’s. Les currently resides in London and is a freelance writer with a long standing passion for the unexplained and paranormal. : The Strange Tale of an Extra-special Talking Mongoose (courtesy Strange Attractor), “The slit in the matchboarding through which Gef threw a packing-case needle at Capt. As a quickie, the first two pages (20+-) of Google results for the phrase all refer to Gef (and yeh! Gef the Talking Mongoose A family on the Isle of Man, in 1931, found that they had a rather strange house guest who called himself Gef. Isle of Man News article heralding Chistopher Josiffe's imminent book on Gef (Christopher wrote the FT Gef cover story of a few years ago.) Tragedy on the S.S. Ourang Medan – Fact or Legend. He did evaluate the family and considered them to be honest and decent people. Hairs thought to be from Gef turned out to belong to the family dog, and the few photographs Price was able to take were of poor quality, and one of them appeared to show a cat. Was it an elaborate hoax? “I am the ghost in the form of a weasel and I shall haunt you,” proclaimed Gef, a spectral creature that became part of the Irving family’s daily life in 1931. The one suspicion that lingers is that the “hoaxer” was Gef himself. Founded in 2009, Hyperallergic is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. For links, you can't do better than the Gef blog or the book Gef… Researched extensively by legendary ghost hunter, Harry Price, Gef was thought to be a spirit that took shape in the form of a talking mongoose. Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, Flipper the Dolphin, Lassie, Eddie (from Frasier), and both Mr. Cotton’s parrot and Captain Barbosa’s monkey, Jack, from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise are probably among the most famous of all, but there are undoubtedly numerous other examples people can cite. In his spare time he enjoys astronomy and Xboxing. Though he is largely forgotten, a small but obsessive band of researchers refuses to let Gef go.The Story of Gef by Clifford Malcolm Willett"If you knew what I know, you'd know a hell of a lot!" More by Allison Meier. Can you think of another "talking mongoose"? : The Strange Tale of an Extra-special Talking Mongoose (courtesy Strange Attractor), “This admittedly crude sketch, allegedly Gef’s attempt at a self-portrait, supposedly demonstrated his ability to grasp a pencil,” from Gef! But then again, maybe Gef … : The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose", Christopher Josiffe investigates a 1930s mystery on the Isle of Man. I could kill you all, but I won’t” — and proclaim godlike talents — “I’ll split the atom! Gef! I recommend this source for information on Gef, the talking Mongoose of the Isle of Man. “This admittedly crude sketch, allegedly Gef’s attempt at a self-portrait, supposedly demonstrated his ability to grasp a pencil,” from Gef! : The Strange Tale of an Extra-special Talking Mongoose (courtesy Strange Attractor), The visual history of Gef is particularly interesting. A sample of fur, which analysis concluded that it was dog hair, most likely from Mona, the family dog. I am a little extra, extra clever mongoose." When her parents attempted to move her bed to their room, he let out a shrill shriek: “I’ll follow her, wherever you move her.” It would also account for her father’s incredible earnestness in all of his discussions of Gef. Sometimes, Gef seemed to delight in tormenting the Irving parents. Attack on Lady Florence Dixie: “Saved by Her St. Bernard”. Cover of Gef! I am a freak. Gef even drew a self-portrait for the family. Note that he appears to be wearing boots whilst clambering upon his bed!,” from Gef! Historic Mysteries provides captivating articles on archaeology, history, and unexplained mysteries. Originally from Oklahoma, she has been covering visual culture and overlooked history for print... Fur samples (revealed to be that of a dog), paw prints, and photographs of James Irving pointing to his “hands” emerging from a wall, or a concrete step where Gef’s voice was heard, only add to the eeriness of the tale, rather than dispelling its myths. The Irvings left the farmhouse, and Gef, in 1937. : The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose, out now from Strange Attractor, is Christopher Josiffe’s sweeping investigation into Gef (pronounced like “Jeff”). Josiffe concludes that when he started to research the case, he was “confident that a close reading of the primary sources,” combined with the recollections of the Isle of Man inhabitants, “would be sufficient to establish whether it had been a hoax, or a genuine paranormal phenomenon.” Instead, the deeper he looked, “the evidence became more conflicting, pointing on the one hand to fraud, and — at the same time — to something inexplicable.”, Examining Gef’s prints, from Gef! I have not got my magic phones on.”. 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