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Surely, this is a puzzle of the mind rather than the paranormal realm. “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. He refused to show himself to the family, and was often at times quite ill-mannered. Price also remarked on so-called peep-holes along the skirting boards and walls. I do not know, but I do know that I have heard today a voice which I should never have imagined could issue from a human throat: that the people who claim it was the voice of the strange weasel seem sane, honest, and responsible folk and not likely to indulge in a difficult, long drawn-out, and unprofitable practical joke to make themselves the talk of the world; and that others have had the same experience as myself. More by Allison Meier. TTM Episode 15: Interview with Shelley Langan-Newton Amanda Cashmore speaks with Head of Environmental Health, Glenn Blacker. 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'). : 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. The animal eventually identified itself as Gef and was first discovered by the Irving family in September 1931. Tragedy on the S.S. Ourang Medan – Fact or Legend. So what exactly was the Dalby Spook? 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.) Indeed there are many cases of poltergeists taking animal forms, so perhaps Gef was some spirit, ghost, demon, or other supernatural entity. It’s highly likely that what would happen now, happened then. He sang songs – a personal favorite being Carolina Moon, recited texts, and mimicked other animals and sounds brought to him or simply overheard. I am a little extra, extra clever mongoose." : The Strange Tale of an Extra-special Talking Mongoose (courtesy Strange Attractor). Once when Margaret asked him about her husband’s long absence, Gef responded: “I don’t know. Gef! His widow and daughter sold the farm and left for mainland England. "I know who I am but I shan't tell you. 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. I don’t like that Harry Price! Imagine if Gef was discovered today, he would be all over the internet for days, weeks, or even months to come. Post Mortem Photography – Immortalizing the Dead. 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. Can you think of another "talking mongoose"? Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all. A wonder of the 1940s where an ordinary chicken survived for 18 months with no head after being cut off with an axe. 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. 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!" 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. 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 … Dennis. 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). "I am not a spirit. 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. Sometimes, Gef seemed to delight in tormenting the Irving parents. In the early 1930s however, an even more astonishing story of the Dalby Spook hit international headlines. On both sides of the Atlantic however, two early stories about real extraordinary animals emerged a generation or two ago. A recurring theory is that the daughter Voirrey used ventriloquism to throw the high-pitched Gef voice around the house. 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. "I am a ghost in the form of a weasel, and I shall haunt you with weird noises and clanking chains." Gef happily feasted on biscuits, chocolate, and bananas. The depth of the slit (4″) is shown by the other knife which Mr. Irving holds.,” from Gef! 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. In the nearly 400 pages of Gef! Gef on Gef "I am an earthbound spirit." Historic Mysteries provides captivating articles on archaeology, history, and unexplained mysteries. : The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose by Christopher Josiffe is out now from Strange Attractor. Subject: Gef, the Talking Mongoose. I have not got my magic phones on.”. A convenient excuse as in the build-up Price’s arrival, Gef let his feelings be known. London: Orbis Publishing 1983, pp. 19-27. A family on the Isle of Man, in 1931, found that they had a rather strange house guest who called himself Gef. You guessed it, he was a talking mongoose who got up to all kinds of hijinks. He could be violent — “You don’t know what damage or harm I could do if I were roused. © 2009-2020 Historic Mysteries. Interesting history topics are just a click away. In his spare time he enjoys astronomy and Xboxing. : The Strange Tale of an Extra-special Talking Mongoose (courtesy Strange Attractor), Gef! Gef remained behind or at least didn’t go with them. During his investigation, Price took care to avoid supporting or condemning the Irvings reports, trusting that facts would speak for themselves. 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… : 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. : 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! 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. : The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose (photo of the book for Hyperallergic). As a quickie, the first two pages (20+-) of Google results for the phrase all refer to Gef (and yeh! 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. 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. As the family grew fed up with the incivility, and threatened to leave, Gef calmed down. 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. On an American farm, there was Mike the headless chicken. 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!”. 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. Trusting that facts would speak for themselves themselves appear in these photographs, neatly dressed and apparently sane posed. 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