Last week, I said I'd be covering the mystery of "Adam". However, due to last week having been extremely hellish, plus that story being a rather emotionally difficult one to cover. While I’ve read and written about some rather saddening topics, the story of Adam proved to be more than I could stomach for the time being. So, I’ve instead opted cover a significantly less heart wrenching story: Gef the Talking Mongoose.
Today’s sources are as follows:
September, 1931. The location: Isle of Man; the Irving farm/household—which consisted of James, his wife Margaret, and their 13-year-old daughter, Voirrey. A normal family living a normal life with their closest neighbors supposedly being the brisk walking distance of over a mile away, the Irving’s life was about as non-descript as could be in the 30s. That is, until they began to hear peculiar sounds from within their house’s walls. These noises started out as simple scratching—similar to those a rat or mouse would make when inside a house’s walls. Not wanting to be disturbed by the pest, it’s said that the family banged on the walls to scare it off.
This didn’t work.
Rather than being scared off, the scratching turned into bizarre noises that are said to have resembled the crying of a baby and a dog. Exactly what the latter of the two sounds like, I don’t know. It’s been said that Gef was able to mimic sounds that he heard and since the Irving’s owned a dog, it’s likely that Gef mimicked the dog’s panting and barking. This is further compounded by the claim that James growled when the sounds didn’t cease, only for the creature to growl back in the same tone as him.
Undeterred by the attempts to silence him, the creature kept on with his mimicking of various noises and sounds until it learned to speak. It was then that the creature introduced itself as “Gef”, though some claim that this name was given by the media and not from the creature itself. Some accounts also stated that Gef told the family how that his name was spelled as either “Geoff” or “Jef” and that it was pronounced like “Jeff”.
Whatever the cases may be, Gef gave his life story to the Irving’s by stating that he was born in New Delhi, India in 1852 and that he wasn’t a spirit, but rather a real creature, though he also claimed to be an “earthbound spirit” and a “ghost in the form of a mongoose”. Contradicting this was when he supposedly said that he was “not a spirit” but rather “a little extra, extra clever mongoose.” If Gef were indeed real, he seemed to blur the lines between the two as he was capable of things that I’ve personally never heard of a spirit doing and vice-versa.
One final little note is that Gef also stated that Margaret was his least favorite member of the household. Keep this in mind.
With that said: one of the more interesting things that Gef has been quoted as saying (supposedly anyways) was this:
“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!”
Despite having told the Irving’s this, Voirrey—who Gef seemed to view as his favorite member of the family—saw him on quite a few occasions. Given that she died in 2005 and swore on her deathbed that Gef was indeed a real animal and not her own creation, it’s safe to assume that seeing him didn’t kill her. Not unless he appeared a little under seven decades later and scared her to death.
With Gef having formally introduced himself, he went onto state that his time mimicking animals, babies, and scratching were a “joke” and that he had done so as a means of gaining their trust. This completely contradicts something Gef was quoted as saying by the Irving’s:
“For years, I understood all that people said, but I could not speak until you taught me.”
Despite this contradiction, the Irving’s welcomed him into their family. This action is one of many that have led some to question the validity of the story. Anyways, As the newest member of the Irving household, Gef showcased a remarkable ability to hear even the faintest bit of whispering. James was quoted at saying:
“It’s hearing powers are phenomenal. It is no use whispering. It detects the whisper 15-20 feet away, tells you that you are whispering, and repeats exactly what one has said.”
Other enigmatic traits exhibited by Gef were his adoration for gossip. He claimed that he’d ride the Isle of Man bus and listen in on the latest hearsay from those riding it. Where he’d stay—whether it be under a bus seat or within the bus itself as he did in the Irving’s house—is unknown, but Gef would return to the house and say whatever he heard. This has led to many referring to Gef as the mongoose who loved gossip.
Gef also had an extremely high affection for Voirrey, who he supposedly stated he “followed”. This led to the Irving’s turning a part of Voirrey’s room into a place that would become known as “Gef’s Sanctum”, where Gef would spend night after night endlessly talking to Voirrey. At one point, Voirrey left her bedroom and went to sleep with her parents, to which Gef followed her and said that no matter where she went, he would “always find her”. He then proceeded to try and get into James and Margaret’s bedroom before throwing a vase at the wall. This apparently didn’t work and he gave up. In spite of this, he was still accepted as a member of the family.
Gef’s incredible hearing allowed him to tell the family when a visitor or unknown dog was around or coming towards the house. His ability to assist the Irving’s didn’t stop at him being something of a guard dog however. He also helped by putting out the stove’s fire if the family had forgotten to put it out, which was quite often. Gef would also wake family members up if they overslept. If a mouse got into the house, Gef would respec into the Cat class so he could chase them off, stating that he’d rather not kill them. This is a stark contrast to his policy on rabbits which we’ll get into in a few.
Gef also loved to keep the Irving’s company. Frequently, when any of them would go to the market for groceries, Gef would come along for the trip and talk to them the entire way. However, he made sure to stay hidden; preferring to stay in or behind hedges, bushes, and whatever else he could stay near to stay out of sight. This begs the question as to whether or not anyone else was capable of hearing him or if his presence in public was restricted to the Irving’s or if Gef’s chatting was chalked up to a nearby conversation. Exactly how many people on the Isle of Man had high-pitched voices though is called into question in that regard. I digress however, let’s move on.
The Irving’s was more than appreciative of Gef’s assistance around the house. After being told by Gef that his favorite foods were, but not limited to, “biscuits, chocolates, and bananas”, the family started to give him food that they placed in a “saucer” that was “suspended from the ceiling”. Gef would then eat the food, but only when he believed nobody was around to see him. Adding onto this, Altereddimension’s states that Gef loved bacon and sausages, but loathed eggs. Personally, I find this to be a crime against humanity.
All of that is pretty weird to say the least; Gef’s behavior is quite unlike anything I’ve heard from any sort of paranormal/supernatural entity. A being that takes on the roles of being a guard dog, cat, and maid of sorts isn’t exactly something you’d expect to hear about. Yet, Gef’s kindness takes a very bizarre turn when you get into what I consider to be his crowning enigmatic trait.
That trait is how he’d “repay” the family for their kindness.
Besides being the aforementioned three things, Gef was also a serial killer in a making, taking quite the liking to leaving dead rabbits for the family. He stated that if he were a spirit, he couldn’t “strangle” rabbits with his front paws. Some say that Gef would leave upwards of fifty rabbits for the family. Whether they cooked the rabbits or not, I can’t find, but I imagine a family that’s sometimes said to have been rather poor would pass up the opportunity to eat strangled rabbit seems a bit off.
With Gef's lovely antics and traits out of the way, let's move onto something that really made my head spin. In my time researching him for this blog, it became very apparent that there are two extremely different versions of him. The first states that he was a harmless entity that was helpful and merely wanted friends; no more mischievous than a child aged 5–8. The other way was as a rather malicious, mean-spirited creature that saw itself as a god. A being that perceived itself as being above the Irving's and would "reward" them for being nice to it.
The former is the one I saw cited more often up until recently and is the version that’s on Wikipedia to read. Exactly why this is, I’m not sure, but the story makes Gef come across more as a genuine family friend who held no hostility towards Margaret and never harmed any creature. I have absolutely no idea which version is correct, though I’m inclined to believe that Gef was in fact more of a malicious figure than he wasn’t. With that out of the way, I now want to go over the mongoose-spirit-entity's quoted statements starting since the picture they paint is one of the most bizarre I’ve ever seen; I’d described it as a hybridization of Rainbow Dash Presents and a John Hughes movie. All of these quotes come from Altereddimensions, so full credit goes to them. I merely copy and pasted them.
“I’ll split the atom! I am the fifth dimension! I am the eighth wonder of the world!”
There have been claims that this is three totally separate statements rather than one. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know.
“Yes, Maggie the witch woman, the Zulu Woman, the Honolulu woman!”
According to Chilluminati, this quote supposedly came from when Gef was pelting Margaret with pebbles—and is why I said to remember that statement from earlier. Exactly why he did, I don’t know, but this hatred for Margaret didn’t stop at being hit by rocks. It’s been claimed he also bit her.
“I am not evil. I could be if I wanted. You don’t know what damage or harm I could do if I were roused. I could kill you all, but I won’t.”
This is perhaps the most malicious quote that’s ever been attributed to Gef and it’s always mystified me how it could be left out of any write-up on Gef. While some may say that he was just stating that he was capable of harming the Irving’s, it strikes me as a more threat passive-aggressive threat.
(After being asked where he would go when he died) “To Hell, to the Land of Mist.”
(Gef on life with the Irvings) “If you are kind to me, I will bring you good luck. If you are not kind, I shall kill all your poultry. I can get them wherever you put them!”
Yet another charming threat from Gef.
“For years, I understood all that people said, but I could not speak until you taught me.”
Again, a direct contradiction to what he claimed when he said that he was capable of fully understanding the Irving’s and having been capable of speech.
“If you knew what I know, you’d know a hell of a lot!”
This quote makes me wonder if Gef lied about when he was born. Though given his pension for lying, I imagine if I knew what he knew, I'd never have passed the first grade.
“I am a ghost in the form of a weasel, and I shall haunt you with weird noises and clanking chains.”
(Upon noticing that Jim was reading the Bible) “Look at the pious old atheist reading the Bible; he will swear in a minute!”
“You’ll put me in a bottle if you catch me.”
Phenomenal cosmic power; itty-bitty living space.
“I am not a spirit. I am a little extra, extra clever mongoose.”
“I have been to nicer homes than this. Carpets, piano, satin covers on polished tables. I am going back there. Hahaha!”
This quote seems to imply that Gef has lived elsewhere outside of the Irving’s household and while he does claim to be from New Delhi, I can’t find if he ever described where in New Delhi he lived or if he’d lived elsewhere after that, but before the Irving’s house.
“Well, Jim, what about some grubbo?”
“I like Captain Dennis, but not Harry Price. He’s the man who puts the kybosh on the spirits!”
Harry Price was a paranormal investigator who investigated the Irving household. He’d publicly denounced the story of Gef, believing it to be a fabrication. Nevertheless, he went to investigate the house for himself. The Chilluminati podcast claims that Price experienced various unexplainable events, such as loud banging that moved at unbelievably high speeds around the house. Wikipedia on the hand claims that Price was quoted as saying that, “only the most credulous of individuals would be impressed with the evidence for Gef.”
I have no idea who Gef is referring to when he mentions “Captain Dennis”.
“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.”
(After being asked to chase away some weasels) “I don’t want a combat and a turmoil with them!”
“Of course I know what I am, and you are not going to get to know, and you are only grizzled because I won’t tell you. I might let you see me some time, but thou wilt never get to know what I am.”
“Jim, I have a god-damn cough. I have a hell of a cold. You will have to get me something.”
It’s been claimed that Gef got sick on several occasions. Exactly how, I don’t know and why the Irving’s didn’t find this bizarre if Gef was indeed real, I cannot fathom.
“Of course I’m not [a spirit], I’m the holy ghost!”
This one I heard from the Chilluminati Podcast and was said by Gef after Margaret got mad at Gef for singing a lewd lyriced version of Home on the Range. Honestly one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.
With those out of the way, I’d like to state the more or less obvious: these quotes all paint an extraordinarily weird picture of Gef. Whether he was a spirit or a real, physical, flesh-and-blood creature seems to be disregarded by him. Rather, he seems to have somehow become both and randomly shifts between the two when he sees fit.
Anyways: Gef’s story didn’t go unnoticed by the general public. Several news reporters flocked to the Irving household to hear Gef or to see something move on its own. Most, if not all, of the time: nothing ever happened. This led to many paranormal experts and skeptics to doubt the validity of the Gef story. As stated earlier with Harry Price, this had one of two outcomes depending on who you believe.
With this fame came the personality change that has been stated throughout this blog. Exactly why Gef’s personality changed is up for debate in the realm of the supernatural; some attribute this to him really being a poltergeist or even a demon. Whatever you believe: this is more or less where the story of Gef the Talking Mongoose “ends”. There were hairs and paw prints that were discovered at the Irving household, but the hairs were suspected of belonging to their dog while the prints were believed to have been faked via a stick. Some don’t believe these answers however.
In the meantime, Gef’s antics would continue until James Irving died of natural causes. Not long after that, the Irving’s themselves moved out of their home. The new owner was an actor by the name of Leslie Graham, who later shocked everyone by coming out and saying that he shot and killed a “weird looking animal” that he stated looked “neither a stoat, ferret, nor mongoose.”
This animal however didn’t resemble Gef, whose fur was said to be yellow. Rather, this creature had black and white fur. This has led some to debate over whether or not the creature Graham killed was indeed Gef. Either way, he never reported any strange incidents in the home.
The last thing I’ll mention is that there exist two images of Gef. I have no idea when these were taken or by who, but the article on Altereddimension states that when the family would attempt to take a picture, Gef wouldn’t be heard from for several days. Here are two images of Gef. Tell me what you think.
Thus ends the story of Gef the Talking Mongoose. To this day, people debate over whether or not Gef truly did exist or not. While my version of the story is definitely sloppy (which I sincerely apologize for), this story’s enigmatic nature is quite unlike anything I’ve ever read in my life. To my surprise though, there exists more than one theory as to what the truth behind Gef is. So, let’s take a look.
#1: Gef was a poltergeist
It’s often said that girls going through puberty generate some sort of “energy” that either feeds or conjures up malicious entities. One very famous case is known as the “Enfield Poltergeist”, which was investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren; their investigation later becoming the basis for The Conjuring 2. While there’s no real proof to support this claim, many state that numerous poltergeist cases involve a girl around the age of 12 or 13.
In the case of Gef, his behavior varies very wildly between being extremely kindhearted and being remarkably dickish (to put it bluntly). Though the vast majority of his behavior definitely lines up with that of a poltergeist. However, his incessant chatter doesn’t match up with any sort of poltergeist I’ve ever heard of or read about. If someone can point me to another poltergeist that talks on a level equal to a character like Deadpool, I’d love to know.
#2: Gef was the product of a shared delusion
This theory enters the realm of psychology and it’s admittedly a realm that I know next to nothing about. But, I’ll do my best to summarize this.
There are those that believe that Gef was spawned from a split personality of James Irving. Somehow, that split personality either manifested itself as Gef or the family had a collective delusion that Gef was real in spite of the fact that he wasn’t. Chilluminati gave a phenomenal example to how this works with a case on an Australian family; the link to the video is at the start of this blog. I highly recommend watching it to learn more on this theory because I’ll freely admit: I can’t for the life of me properly describe it without shamelessly copy and pasting several articles.
#3: Gef was a real talking mongoose
This is a genuine theory and it’s one that I can half understand if you believe that Graham actually shot and killed Gef. This theory has two sub-theories to it: that Gef somehow did indeed learn to talk or that Gef was the product of some sort of experiment. Either way, I think it’s safe to say that this theory is more or less the product of joking around or his name. Though the idea of a talking mongoose is pretty funny.
#4: Gef was a complete fabrication
A theory on par with the first one in the way of popularity, this theory states that Gef was a hoax willingly created by the entire family. Nothing more, nothing less. One slight variation of this theory claims that Gef was the product of Voirrey herself, but the family was in on it when they learned. In both cases, Gef’s chatter was done by Voirrey using ventriloquism to produce his voice. As for why Gef was made up: the two most popular theories are money and fame. The latter was definitely attained, but the former wasn’t given that the farmhouse was apparently sold at a loss. Guess Gef wasn’t so popular in that regard. Oops.
#5: Gef was an alien
It’s tradition that whenever I talk about something like this, I include the theory that the mystery in question was the product of, or was itself, alien in nature. Indeed, I’m attributing Gef to aliens. Nothing else to say other than ayy lmao.
As amusing as it’d be to know that a wisecracking, rather malicious spirit in the form of a mongoose resided on the Isle of Man, I cannot with any good will say that I believe Gef was real. I don’t think he was a complete fabrication that the Irving’s made up, but I don’t think it was a real spirit. At the most, I think it was some sort of shared delusion. But a real poltergeist? No.
There persists debate to this very day as to what the truth behind Gef is—or rather, was. If we're to go by history and the numerous cases that have involved bizarre happenings similar in nature to this, then it's more than likely that he never existed, having been fabricated for reasons that aren't known. But, there's always the possibility that he did indeed exist. Whether he was the product of a hoax, a poltergeist or a real talking mongoose, I don't know. To say I'm skeptical would be kind. But to say I'm certain he never existed would feel extreme. I guess I fall somewhere in-between. What about you?
Next Week: The Murder of Dorothy Scott
Next Week: The Murder of Dorothy Scott