Gef the Talking Mongoose

Ottershrew

Jedi Master
Thought I'd share an interesting story that I just came across this evening about Gef (pronounced "Jeff"), a talking mongoose, who lived with a family on the Isle of Man. The account here given is from the book "Hollyweird" by Mark Russell Bell. I was going to bold the interesting bits - but then found that nearly all the account would have been in bold. But see what you think.

Mark Russell Bell said:
[A] well-documented case relegated to the category of the ’paranormal’ was found in a book written in 1935 and published the following year, THE HAUNTING OF CASHEN’S GAP: A MODERN MIRACLE Investigated by Harry Price and R. S. Lambert. Although I had written a screenplay based on the Bell Witch case, the Cashen’s Gap premise would’ve been more suited to a narrative plotline and possibly even be deemed commercial because of the unique central figure in the haunting who accepted the name of ’Gef’. The authors explained their intentions in the book’s introduction:

"Whether looked at from the point of view of psychology, of psychical research, of anthropology, or of sociology, this true story of Gef is very odd. We have been moved to set it down in as full a form as possible in order that every one interested including, we hope, posterity may be in a position to form their own judgement about it. To believers it will represent proof of a miracle; to skeptics a lesson in the laws of evidence. Some will call it nonsense from first to last; others will admit it to be at least as good as most ghost stories. Throughout we have tried to avoid mere credulity on the one hand and prejudiced skepticism on the other. There may be readers who will be disappointed that we have at the end no cut-and-dried solution of the mystery to offer; but this only suggests the facts, as we have honestly tried to set them forth, are susceptible of various explanations."

Events reported in the book centered on a small farmstead on the Isle of Man, where a remote house built of slate, concrete and cement with interior walls and ceiling paneled with match-boarding was the setting for a family of three reporting a most unusual cohabitant. The owner of the house was James T. Irving, a man around sixty whose main stock was a herd of thirty sheep. Mr. Irving described these initial events in a letter to Harry Price, a well-known ghost hunter at the time:

"Its first sounds were those of an animal nature, and it used to keep us awake at night for a long time as sleep was not possible. It occurred to me that if it could make these weird noises, why not others, and I proceeded to give imitations of the various calls, domestic and other creatures make in the country, and I named these creatures after every individual call. In a few days’ time one had only to name the particular animal or bird, and instantly, always without error, it gave the correct call. My daughter then tried it with nursery rhymes, and no trouble was experienced in having them repeated. The voice is quite two octaves above any human voice, clear and distinct, but lately it can and does come down to the range of the human voice."

In October 1931 and early ’32, newspaper readers in London and then northern England were alerted that Mr. Irving, around sixty; his wife, four years younger; and their teenage daughter, Voirrey, described experiences with a talking mongoose that had taken up residence in their home. They had sighted the creature or at least the animal’s tail on several occasions and the reporter from the Manchester Daily Dispatch was perplexed by what he witnessed:

"Had I heard a weasel speak? 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 had had the same experience as myself."

Harry Price and his co-author R. S. Lambert, editor of British Broadcasting Company publication The Listener, presented a compendium of anecdotes and comments about Gef in their book while noticing some parallels to poltergeist cases:

"Many of the events related by Irving can be classified by those experienced in psychical research as belonging to the class of ’poltergeist’ phenomena. Amongst these are Gef’s habit of throwing sand and small stones, also metal, wooden, and bone objects, at persons in or near Doarlish Cashen; the thumping, scratching, rapping, and banging noises which he makes behind the panelling and in the rafters of the house; and the movement of furniture… Gef indeed will hardly bear classification as a poltergeist at all, for in the whole history of such phenomena there is no known case of a poltergeist assuming the form of a talking animal, and conversing with human beings intelligently and at length."

It seems that the authors didn’t know about the Bell Witch case or deemed that the events in Tennessee during the previous century didn’t meet their criteria for poltergeist hauntings despite there being a talking element reported in descriptions of cases usually associated with poltergeists from even older centuries. These include the England, 1661 John Mumpesson case known as ’The Drummer of Tedworth’; and the Newbury, Massachusetts 1679 William Morse case described by Increase Mather in AN ESSAY FOR THE RECORDING OF ILLUSTRIOUS PROVIDENCES. Among other talking poltergeist accounts is an Italian case mentioned in DEMONIALITY by Lodovico Maria Sinistrari, who died in 1701 and whose manuscript in Latin was first published in 1875. Andrew Lang’s THE BOOK OF DREAMS AND GHOSTS, 1897, reprinted in a paperback edition by a Hollywood, California publishing company in 1972, featured 18th Century anecdotes from Scotland and Iceland. A more recent case was offered by Guy Lyon Playfair’s THIS HOUSE IS HAUNTED: AN INVESTIGATION OF THE ENFIELD POLTERGEIST, 1980, yet I hadn’t read this book in 1995, the year when I would set out on my own investigation concerning a contemporary talking poltergeist haunting.

Reading THE HAUNTING OF CASHEN’S GAP, one sympathizes with the Irvings as each new facet of Gef that they discover makes their encroacher’s existence harder to comprehend, such as events during the last three months of 1932:

"But on October 22nd 1932 he made his presence known by throwing stones at Mrs. Irving as she was returning from Peel. She shouted, "Is that you, Gef?" He answered: "Yes, Maggie the witch woman, the Zulu Woman, the Honolulu woman!" This was rather rude of him, but they excused him because he was so excited at the return of his hostess. A few days later he made amends by finding a lamb that Irving had lost. It was found exactly at the spot that Gef had indicated.

"By Christmas 1932 Mr. Irving had discovered that the forefeet of Gef were much larger than the hind feet. Not only were they larger, but they had the appearance of human hands, with extensile fingers. He gathered these facts from impressions in the dust which the animal made during his nocturnal rambles about the house. Gef admitted that he had three long fingers and a thumb, and said they were "as large as a big doll’s hands." The fact that he frequently picks up such small and flat objects as coins, pins, etc., rather points to his having some sort of fingers on his forefeet. A set of paw prints in plasticene and dough which the present writers received after their visit confirms Gef’s statements. Not only does he claim to have hands rather like human beings, but he uses them in the same way."

To provide some idea of Gef’s personality, here is an excerpt from Price and Lambert’s book from July, 1934:

"There was some sort of ’tiff’ between Mrs. Irving and the animal, who, as a peace-offering, went hunting for a rabbit to give to his hostess. He was determined to be friendly again and said: "If Mam will speak to me, I will sing two songs for her," and that he had a little present for her. The gift was two biscuits, taken out of a packet in a locked cupboard, which he threw at Mrs. Irving as she lay in bed that same night. Mrs. Irving was not appeased, and the animal remained in her bad books. A few days later, when the farmer was again in bed, and his wife had not yet joined him, Gef shouted out something. Mrs. Irving heard him, and called up the staircase: "Don’t answer him." Gef then said in a faint whisper: "Hey, Jim, what about some grubbo? I’m hungry!" This touching appeal to the farmer was too much for him, so he called out to his wife to bring the animal a couple of biscuits. She did so and threw them on top of Gef’s ’sanctum,’ the top of the boxed-in staircase which is in Voirrey’s room. Voirrey was in bed, and the room was in darkness. For some minutes they could hear Gef groping for the biscuits with his bony fingers. In a plaintive voice the animal said he could not find them (although at other times he can, apparently, see in stygian darkness). Mrs. Irving said: "Shall I give you a match? He said, "Yes, pass them to me." To do this she had to stand on Voirrey’s bed. She did so, and Gef took the box out of her hand. He opened it, extracted a match, lit it, said he had found the biscuits, blew the match out, and threw the box into the room. Then he burst out laughing. A few moments later he could be heard munching the biscuits.

"Although the Irvings had had Gef literally under their roof for nearly three years, they had by no means sounded the depths of his capabilities. He was always springing surprises on them. Though they knew he could do a little in the way of foreign languages, they were not prepared for the linguistic treat that was in store for them on the evening of July 26th 1934. In succession, Gef sang three verses of "Ellan Vannin," the Manx National Anthem, "in a clear and high-pitched voice"; then two verses in Spanish, followed by one verse in Welsh; then a prayer in pure Hebrew (not Yiddish); finishing up with a long peroration in Flemish."

Here are some further memorable comments from Gef as chronicled in The Haunting of Cashen’s Gap:

"Vanished." (Gef usually said this at the end of conversation to signify leaving them.)

"It was me you saw, Jim!" (After Mr. Irving saw a large stray Manx cat, striped like a tiger, outside the house.)

"I did it for devilment." (After sighing and moaning without ceasing for thirty minutes.)

"I am a ghost in the form of a weasel, and I’ll haunt you."

"What did you tell Miss Creer about us?" (On Mr. Irving and Voirrey’s way home from the schoolhouse where Mr. Irving had spoken with Voirrey’s teacher about Gef.)

"Tell Arthur not to come. He doesn’t believe. I won’t speak if he does come, I’ll blow his brains out with a 3d. cartridge." (After being told that Mr. Northwood’s son, Arthur, was on the way for a visit.)

"A mongoose can speak if he is taught."

"I am an earthbound spirit."

"I did not intend you to see me. Out of friends for seeing me!"

"I see a name that makes me quake, that makes me shake." (Gef then tells Mr. Irving to look in the obituary column where he finds an announcement of a death featuring the name ’Jef’ in brackets.)

"My rectophone wasn’t working!" (After Mr. Irving commented that Gef was a long time calculating the question "How many pence in seventeen and sixpence?" Gef had taken a few seconds to reply, "Two hundred and ten pence.")

"Of course I know what I am, and you are not going to get to know, and you are only grigged because I won’t tell you. I might let you see me some time, but thou wilt never get to know what I am."

"You don’t know what mischief I could do if I was roused. I could kill you too if I wished, but I won’t."

"I’ll split the atom." (After a conversation wherein Gef refers to the Gresford Colliery Disaster, Einstein, and Sir Isaac Newton.)

"I am a freak. 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 have a pain in my side from laughing." (After laughing for several minutes in response to being asked what he will do for Captain Macdonald upon visiting.)

"If you knew what I know, you’d know a hell of a lot."

"I am not a spirit. I am a little extra, extra clever mongoose."

"I am the Holy Ghost." (After Mrs. Irving responded to Gef singing a parody of the song "Home on the Range," "You know, Gef, you are no animal!")

"Jim the infidel." (After asking Mr. Irving who God is and receiving the reply, "I do not know"; prior to singing six verses of "The King of Love My Shepherd Is.")

"I have three attractions. I follow Voirrey, Mam gives me food, and Jim answers my questions."

"I have three spirits, and their names are Foe, Faith and Truth."

"He’s damned well not going to get to know my inferior complex." (After Mrs. Irving tells Gef she wishes he would talk when Captain Macdonald comes.)

"Never mind how I know, I know." (After being asked how he knew Captain Macdonald’s ring was a sapphire.)

"I mean to throw a brick at you tonight when you are asleep. I’ll throw pebbles now at the windows." (After being told by Captain Macdonald to go and vanish; almost at once after the second comment, there was a rattle against them just as if gravel, sand and small stones were hurled.)

One can easily understand the Irvings’ confusion about Gef’s pedigree. In addition to occasionally seeing Gef, there were even a few awkward snapshots permitted. In a chapter of their book entitled "Weighing Up The Evidence," Price and Lambert appraise:

"Besides the visual and the aural evidence for Gef, there remains certain indirect pieces of evidence of a material kind. Gef is said to take food from the Irvings, though his diet is certainly more luxurious than nourishing. He urinates (Captain Macdonald and others have been shown signs of this on the wall of the house), but does not excrete. He has been touched and felt by the members of the Irving family though not by anyone else. His teeth have once drawn blood Mrs. Irving’s finger in spite of which, however, she has persisted in feeling his teeth again on several occasions since then. Gef has displayed animosity against visitors with whom he was displeased , by spitting upon them; he has also, more playfully, thrown stones, sand, pins, and other objects at the backs of members of the Irving family and at visitors."

Gef cooperated with the Irving family in some ways, such as killing rabbits for them, an important supplement to the impoverished family’s sustenance. Another aspect of the mystery concerned the objects delivered to the family by Gef as these included a bell and a halfpenny, the latter said by Gef to have been carried home in his mouth. When asked for a sample of fur, Gef left some hairs for them in an ornament on the mantelshelf but an expert’s opinion was that they had "probably been taken from a longish haired dog or dogs." Convinced that the fur originated on the Irvings’ sheepdog Mona, Price and Lambert decided:

"The reader is faced with alternative solutions to the mystery: (a) That some person robbed Mona of portions of her fur, with the idea of providing ’evidence’ for the mongoose story; or (b) that Gef clipped bits of fur off Mona and foisted them on the Irvings as specimens of his own hirsute covering."

Prior to Price and Lambert’s visit to Cashen’s Gap, Price sent a representative from the National Laboratory of Psychical Research, Captain MacDonald, who would receive reports about Gef from Mr. Irving in the following years. The authors describe Gef’s reaction to the name of Harry Price in their book:

"The question was raised whether Mr. Price should accompany Captain Macdonald on his next visit. Immediately when Gef heard their names he screamed out: "The two spook men!" and began to make fun of the name ’Price.’ Of course, this was not difficult even for an educated mongoose. Then he called out: "Ask Harry Price whose was the invisible hand that scattered the violets about the room at night." He continued: "You know, Olga and Rudi Schneider." Irving declares that although he had seen in the press an account of Mr. Price’s investigation of Rudi Schneider, the incident of the violets and the alleged spirit hand was quite unknown to him. But an account of this particular seance had appeared in The Times and other papers, and apparently Gef had read all about it. Although the mongoose had never been introduced to Mr. Price, and did not know him except by repute, Gef appeared a little afraid of him. When it was suggested that both Mr. Price and Captain Macdonald should visit Doarlish Cashen, Gef said that the captain was welcome, "but not Price. He’s got his doubting cap on!" In October 1934 another reference was made to Mr. Price: "I like Captain MacDonald, but not Harry Price. He’s the man who puts the kybosh on the spirits!" He also said that he had seen Price’s photograph in the papers "and did not like him"."

Upon Mr. Irving receiving a letter from Price and Lambert that they intended to visit Cashen’s Gap in July of 1935, Gef began a period of silence. Gef wouldn’t talk in the presence of "doubters" and while the authors were able to learn more about the case during their sojourn, Gef remained "missing" and they left disappointed:

"Gef had had a month’s notice of our visit; he had been appealed to by the Irvings and by ourselves, but had persisted in absenting himself to his own very great disadvantage. For if we could have told the world what we had seen or even heard the animal, he would have gone down to posterity as the most wonderful mongoose that had ever been known. Also he would have made the Irvings’ fortune. He lost a literally golden opportunity. Of course our hosts were very sorry that we had to leave the island without that evidence for which we had travelled so far. They said they had done their best, and could not possibly understand why Gef had hidden himself for nearly five weeks."

Gef also became a subject for Dr. Nandor Fodor, a psychoanalyst and researcher into the occult who wrote about the Isle of Man case in chapters of his books HAUNTED PEOPLE, written with Hereward Carrington and published in 1951, and BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, published in 1964. When he visited the Irvings, Gef was again silent yet Fodor provided some new insights. His discussions with Mr. Irving suggested that some of Price and Lambert’s quotations of Gef may have been abbreviated. Gef’s declaration of being a ghost in the form of a weasel was supplemented with, "and I shall haunt you with weird noises and clanking chains." The comment about being able to split the atom was expanded to include "I am the fifth dimension" and "I am the eighth wonder of the world." In Price and Lambert’s own book, an appendix concerning a chronological record of Gef’s activities also showed that on the occasion he called Maggie a witch, Zulu and Honolulu woman, he’d also included "Algerian woman." Fodor also presented some entirely new anecdotes:

"Irving wanted to know how far his intellectual processes carried Gef. He asked where he would go when he died. Gef answered: "I’ll never die." Irving persisted: "But supposing you did, where would you go?" Gef answered: "To Hell, to the Land of Mist"."

Once Gef had asked Irving if he had any enemies; if so, Gef offered to kill their lambs. Mr. Irving told Gef that he could not do such a thing yet during Fodor’s visit Mr. Irving shared his doubts about the matter:

"In 1932, a relative of mine visited me with his wife and daughter. Gef talked to them for an hour and five minutes. Sometimes afterwards he came home and reported that he heard this man, four miles away, telling a neighbor that ’Voirrey was helping’ (with the talking). He screamed in saying this and added: ’I’ll kill his turkeys.’

""Six months afterwards I accidentally met the daughter of this man. In the course of conversation I casually remarked that I was going to a neighboring farm to get some eggs for hatching. She then told me that they gave up poultry farming. ’We had bad luck. Our turkeys and ducklings disappeared. We don’t know where they went.’

""I asked Gef if he killed them. He said: ’I killed the turkeys and I killed four ducklings.’"

"Unsupported by evidence as this story is, two hundred years ago it would have sent the whole Irving family to the pyre."

In "The Truth About The Talking Mongoose" that appeared in Haunted People, Fodor made some surprising contentions:

"Gef’s sapience can be explained without postulating supernormal knowledge. I admit but one puzzling exception: his occasional ability to describe to Mrs. Irving and Voirrey at home Irving’s movements when the latter is faraway and out of sight, and repeat, word for word, the florid language which he uses in talking to the sheep and the dog. Gef was often asked how he did it. His only answer was:

"I cannot tell how I know. I know."

Concerning the "sad trouble" over the fur sample that had been sent to Harry Price, Fodor related that Mr. Irving had told Gef about it:

""The expert thought it was that of the dog," Irving informed Gef. He answered: "He should not think, he should know. He damn well does not know what I am"."

Fodor also divulged new details about the rabbits Gef left for the family. These numbered 244 at the time of Fodor’s visit. Although Price and Lambert had established that the rabbits were strangled, Fodor noted, "One eye of the rabbit is always poked out and there is a clot of blood on its nose, sometimes behind the ears." Fodor would bring up the rabbits again in the epilogue to his description of the case in Haunted People. Despite his belief that the mystery of the talking mongoose would be solved, Fodor regretted that at the time of his trip to Cashen’s Gap he "was not yet equipped with adequate psychoanalytic knowledge to conduct an exploration of Irving’s unconscious.":

"The only meat they knew was rabbit, when Gef provided them, or When they caught them with snares. Often, only the head of the family feasted on the rabbit stew. Most of the rabbits had to be sold because they fetched seven-pence apiece and this was, at times, the only cash income with which to buy other household necessities. Voirrey had no shoes, and used to walk barefooted four miles to Peel, and lug back whatever supply she brought, as the bus was too expensive.

"The problem of mental starvation, for a man of Irving’s intelligence, must have been even more serious. There was no way to relieve it by conscious means. So his unconscious took care of the job and produced the strange hybrid of Gef, fitting no category of humans, animals or ghosts, yet having common features with all of them. Had Irving been a student of psychical research, the development of Gef would have proceeded, I believe, on more occult lines."

It is worthwhile to consider the meaning of this "unconscious" that Fodor finds to be an important aspect of the case. He addresses the matter in the chapter of HAUNTED PEOPLE entitled "The Psychoanalytic Approach To The Problems Of Occultism.":

"Psychical researchers admit that all mediumistic phenomena arise from, or manifest themselves through, the unconscious mind of the medium. However, they do not quite realize that the unconscious mind is not interested in science, in standards of evidence, in genuine or fraudulent manifestations, but only in its own dynamic problems."

There are many levels of irony in this statement. First, one might consider that "the unconscious mind" has only been addressed in hypothetical terms. Discussing the subconscious is even more difficult than explaining consciousness, something that we each experience and thus know something about. Secondly, these sentences from Fodor and all human creative expressions for that matter may be attributed to "the unconscious mind." Perhaps an interchangeable word would be "subconscious mind," a term that might be accepted by some as being responsible for the physical life process of our bodies as we don’t consciously control ourselves the beating of our heart, the breathing of our lungs, or the blinking of our eyelids. At this point, bringing up such a word as "superconscious mind" would be disconcerting for some because this word will not likely be found in a dictionary.

Be it a sign of changing attitudes and social preoccupations, the latter book by Fodor taking a look back at "The Talking Mongoose" case, BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, shows that the author no longer showed any preoccupation with Mr. Irving’s unconscious. Key witnesses are revealed by their real names: Captain Macdonald is identified as Captain James Denis and Mr. Northwood’s real name is reported as Charles Morrison. Where Denis is concerned, Fodor relates that he "as yet had come to no conclusion beyond the fact that so far there was no conclusion." This seems to be representative of everyone concerned with Gef. Fodor himself deduces:

"As I said in the beginning, a fantastic story presupposes a fantastic solution. And the best I can do is to say that by process of elimination I think Gef was a mongoose or a similar animal that learned to talk. There have been other remarkable creatures. The Elberfeld horses could draw cube roots and communicate thoughts by tapping with their hoofs. Dogs have been taught to read and spell. Birds can speak.

"In lieu of any more positive information, and because I have not been in all honesty able to deny Gef, I am forced to, if not accept, at least not negative his own quaint definition of himself: "I am just an extra, extra clever little mongoose"."

A 1970 article about ’the talking mongoose’ appeared in FATE magazine that provided an epilogue to the previous books. The writer, Walter McGraw, stated that he was an acquaintance of Nandor Fodor who had interviewed Voirrey Irving just prior to the appearance of his article. The question McGraw most wanted answered was what happened to Gef?:

"Voirrey says she does not know. The last she remembers his being around the farm was in 1938 or 1939. He seemed to go away for longer and longer periods of time, and then he just never showed up again. He had made no statements about leaving; there had been no good-byes; he simply was gone. No, Gef did not leave the island with the Irvings, at any rate…According to Voirrey, Gef cost them dearly. They had to sell the farm at a low price because Manxmen called it "haunted."

""Gef was very detrimental to my life. We were snubbed. The other children used to call me ’the spook.’ We had to leave the Isle of Man, and I hope that no one where I work now ever knows the story. Gef has even kept me from getting married. How could I ever tell a man’s family about what happened?"

" … Fodor regretted that the mystery of the talking mongoose probably never would be solved. He felt that "the power which he (Gef) displayed must have had a human origin." He believed that clues obtained from studying that "power" might have given us leads about many strange and still mysterious aspects of the human personality and possibly explain poltergeist phenomena (though he did not believe Gef was pure poltergeist)."

Fodor’s BETWEEN TWO WORLDS is a retrospective of the experiences and research of Fodor throughout his life and the book’s Introduction is a summation:

"No matter how many of the famous and the great have shared similar super-normal adventures and kept them a secret from the outside world; no matter how much testimony bears out the existence of strange byways of the mind, or appears to indicate interaction with terrifying states of existence (perhaps the abode of ghosts, nonhuman shades) we are apt to shy away from the thought of how little we know about the world.

"We should, instead, express concern or wonder over the blind spots that orthodox science still contains regarding phenomena that have been with us throughout the ages of man phenomena that should, perhaps, have transformed our life in this universe. For, it appears, that the age-old claims of religion, metaphysics, certain Eastern teachings and modern parapsychology cannot be ignored with impunity. […] Almost daily new horizons open up before science; gradually the conclusion is being forced on us that mind, life, logos, spirit, or God is the only reality of this mysterious universe. Ignorance is the only limitation that reins us back. The battle against the unknown is gradually being lost or rather won by the new generation of scientists who are finding themselves more and more in Alice’s Wonderland where nothing is impossible… every journey begins with the first step, and the outlines of a new ultra-science are perhaps already discernable along the path, I do not know what it will be like. All I know is that human destiny will be profoundly affected by it and that eventually, and hopefully, we shall understand the meaning of human life.

"Then, perhaps, all dissensions will cease; the golden age of dreams will be at hand."

Unlike Price and Lambert, Fodor did study the Bell Witch case the chapter preceding "The Truth About The Talking Poltergeist" in HAUNTED PEOPLE is "The Case of the Bell Witch." However, he seems to have overlooked one of the key pieces of the puzzle to "The March of the Poltergeist," as was called Hereward Carrington’s documented catalog of the phenomenon through the centuries appearing in HAUNTED PEOPLE.

One of the things that caught my attention reading about Gef was something that I probably wouldn’t have noticed if not for my work on the Bell Witch screenplay and scrutinizing each situation, every word of dialogue, and the various names and nicknames offered by the assorted testimonials. On Page 29 of THE HAUNTING OF CASHEN’S GAP I saw:

"The mongoose usually called Mr. Irving ’Jim’ or ’Pots’…"

"But why won’t he prove himself to us?" was among R. S. Lambert’s questions in a cross-examination of Mr. Northwood included in THE HAUNTING OF CASHEN’S GAP. Questions arise as to what would constitute proof and what would this proof signify at this particular occasion, based upon the witnesses’ perceptions as they themselves distinguished the boundaries of human experience. Lambert’s co-author Harry Price would reveal that their book on Gef had been limited by their choice of anecdotal evidence. The substantiation for such an appraisal can be found in Harry Price’s book CONFESSIONS OF A GHOST HUNTER published in 1936, the same year as THE HAUNTING OF CASHEN’S GAP. This is how Price described the beginning of his second day on the Isle of Man and this paragraph is not included in the book about Gef:

"I awoke just before eight o’clock. I say ’awoke,’ but actually I was in that hypnopompic state between sleeping and waking, when a thin, shrill voice (which appeared to come from the end of the bed) said: "Hullo! Hullo! come along! come along!’ and some chattering which I could not interpret. With thoughts of Gef still uppermost in my mind, the ’voice’ startled me into complete consciousness. But, alas! it was only mine host’s parrot whose matutinal mutterings had floated in through my open window from the kitchen across the road."

This paragraph shows the limitations of Price’s deductive reasoning. Gef had claimed to be not only a mongoose but also a Manx cat, while the specimens of fur provided by Gef had been demonstrated to have come from Mona, the Irvings’ collie sheep dog. Another possible deduction would be that Gef were each of these animals and also the parrot. Similarly, the spirit that had been known as ’the Bell Witch’ or by the nickname ’Kate’ had made similar claims concerning animals while also manifesting in a gamut of different individual human voices.

edit: formatting
 

Buddy

The Living Force
Ottershrew said:
Thought I'd share an interesting story that I just came across this evening about Gef (pronounced "Jeff"), a talking mongoose, who lived with a family on the Isle of Man. The account here given is from the book "Hollyweird" by Mark Russell Bell. I was going to bold the interesting bits - but then found that nearly all the account would have been in bold. But see what you think.
{snip}

Interesting, but I haven't a clue as to what is the most likely conclusion to draw. Do you suppose it will always be a mystery?
 
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