Talking Mongoose?

I seem to remember reading a story in one of those "Mysterious Britain" type books (you know the sort, covering ABCs, ghosts, crop circles, psychics etc) about a young girl who lived on a remote Scottish island (the daughter of a lighthouse keeper?) who apparently owned/lived with a "Talking Mongoose".

This may have been linked to Poltergeist activity. I think other people saw the "mongoose" but the girl was the only one who heard it talk. Not sure what it said.

There was an indistinct photograph of the girl with what looked like a small animal in the corner of the picture, but it could have been a rat or anything.

Also I seem to recall the girl`s life ended young and tragically - either she killed herself, someone else in the family killed her or she ended up in a mental institution?

The same book had a picture of a "Winged Cat" in it if that helps. (a real picture, it was a longhaired cat with hair that had been braided and left to get matted so it looked like wings)

Anyone got any details? Please tell me I`m not making this up...
Check these out...


Link is dead. Here are the MIA image and the text caption accompanying it ...

The Talking Mongoose. The photograph allegedly shows Gef, the Talking Mongoose on the ridge of a sod hedge at Cashen's Gap, the Isle of Man.
Voirrey Irving, Harry Price Collection


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in the forteantimes link i cant see a mongoose in the pic, can someone point it out to me.
mrchopper said:
in the forteantimes link i cant see a mongoose in the pic, can someone point it out to me.

It should have a speech balloon, really, shouldn't it?

No, I can't see a bleedin thing either, except a hedge.

Now, a talking hedge would be worth points.
The most accessible source on Gef is probably the Orbis part-work
The Unexplained, which carried a good account over two or three
issues. These turn up quite frequently in charity shops and were
often reprinted in various formats as books, with or without the
original art-work. Otherwise you will need to look out for Harry
Price's monograph, which is surprisingly rare, given the fame or
notoriety of the mongoose in the thirties.

The Unexplained contained a picture of a nondescript creature on
a wall, said to be Gef. It has to be said that a contemporary
analysis of Gef's hairs, showed them to be identical with those
of Voirrey's doggie. :rolleyes:
thanx for the mongoose info

"Jeff (or Gef, whatever you spell it) the Talking Mongoose"... sounds like a slightly off-the-wall (Ren & Stimpy-ish) TV show...

I cant make out any obvious "creature" in the photo either. Looks like it most likely was something the girl made up, whether deliberately as a fraud or subconsciously as something weirder - although there could have also been an OOP flesh-and-blood mongoose. (SOMETHING was shot in 1947... is this too early for introduced Mink perhaps?)

Guess I must have just made up the bit about the girl killing herself or whatever, although she does claim that "people thought she was crazy". Not surprising really if you claim to be living with a talking mongoose!

re the "deer" picture - the simulacra of a bug-eyed creature (maybe a fish, maybe an alien) in the top half of the picture looks a lot clearer than the simulacra of a deer to me...

btw what is the plural of mongoose?
Long musings on Gef, sorry folks..........

I too as a teenager read about the talking mongoose 'Gef' which raised lots of questions for me. For a start, I didn't think the mongoose (careful syntactical avoidance of the plural form there!) was native to these islands, so that in itself seemed odd to me. I felt that there was an Indian sub-continent connection that we weren't told about. In fact, there was a 'curse' feeling about it, as if Gef were inflicted on the family by someone with a grievance.

Its conversations were sometimes recorded in detail, and it appeared to quarrel vigorously with both the house's residents and their visitors. It also appeared and disappeared through cracks in the walls and ceilings and could hang upside-down to talk. It didn't melt away like a ghost, it seemed to act as a little rodent would be expected to.

But I don't remember learning what its voice sounded like- I imagine it to be squeaky and rapid- or what its prophesies were. Maybe that's my failing memory.
Re: Long musings on Gef, sorry folks..........

escargot said:
It didn't melt away like a ghost, it seemed to act as a little rodent would be expected to.

Actually, mongooses are carnivores of the family Viverridae, and are related to meerkats, civets and genets.

I think this is the picture that James mentioned. It's from 'Open Files', an Orbis book made up of excerpts from 'The Unexplained'.

'Gef' is on the fencepost at the top left.
Re: thanx for the mongoose info

Originally posted by Goldstein

re the "deer" picture - the simulacra of a bug-eyed creature (maybe a fish, maybe an alien) in the top half of the picture looks a lot clearer than the simulacra of a deer to me...

I see what you mean, but it looks like the pink panther to me.
With regard to Gef's foreignness, the mongoose was most familiar
from Kipling's Indian-based tale Rikititavi, which was still going strong in my
Primary School days. But there had been a more local history of the
animal on the IOM. It appears that an attempt had been made in
1912 to establish the animal on the island to control rabbits.

Gef himself claimed to have been born in Delhi on 7th June, 1852 - which
would have made him 79 years of age in 1931! :rolleyes:
Gef the most mysterious of mongooses

After attempting in vain to dislodge the idea of the talking mongoose from my mind, I have recently given in. I decided I really wanted to know more about the cheeky little chap.

There are a few versions of the tale kicking around, but most state that a cast of Gef's prints were sent to the Natural History Museum.

After some telephone conversations from which you could have extracted a whole comedy series, I was finally contacted by someone from thier mamals department. I was told that they have no such cast, or any knowledge of ever having seen it...

Does anyone know anything of these infamouse mongoose prints? :confused:
The prints were given to R. I. Pocock FRS, at the NHM, who gave it as his opinion
that he did not consider them to be foot tracks at all. "Most certainly
none of them was made by a mongoose."

The hairs were examined by a F. Martin Duncan who found they were
identical with those of Voirrey's pet dog.

The footprints are illustrated on page 1947 of the Unexplained part
work, published in 1982. That seems to be the most complete
modern account of Gef. The conclusion seems to be that Voirrey's
father was as much a fabulist as his daughter.

Where the reliques of Gef ended up is anybody's guess. The Irvings
themselves seem to have faded out of the record completely after
they moved away from the remote cottage where they lived. :(

this has nothing to do with your subject...but i was wondering whether the plural for mongoose is mongooses? or mongeese?? or simply 'mongoose'??:confused:
There were two threads on this topic - they are now merged!
I first became acquainted with the "Gef" story in the mid 60's. It was included in a paperback that IIRC was a spin-off from an American TV series. I'm fairly sure that the author's name was Nandor Fodor, who I believe was an American investigator of the paranormal. The pages of the book were old and yellowing by the time it was given to me so it had maybe been printed in the 50's. That book represented the awakening of my interest in the paranormal, but for the life of me I can't remember what else was in it.
Sorry - just reminiscing.
The book mentioned above is Fodor, Nandor, Between Two Worlds: Amazing True Case-Histories ofthe Occult, the Mysterious and the Supernatural.

The chapter title is "The Talking Mongoose" and at the end, under "Postscript", Fodo writes, "Some years after my visit Doarlish Cashen was sold. The new owner claimed to have shot a weird looking animal and said it must have been Gef because the house was no longer haunted.... [In 1953] Voirrey...was married and working in an aeroplane parts factory near Peels. Nobody cared to find her and follow up the story of Gef, her faithful companion and self-appointed guardian during the years of her schooling. Hers is the last word on the miraculous mongoose. It has not been heard."
It would be very interesting to track down Voirrey and find out the truth.

I suspect she's an adult rather embarassed by her childhood hijinks and the subsequent attention, and rather glad she's married and has a new surname.
Gef the Talking Mongoose was the very first Fortean tale I ever read about - when I was 8 and can remember thinking, 'gosh,I wish I had a pet like that.'

Er, that's all really . . .

I remember being really, really scared! It was in that 'Usbourne book of thinks to shit children up with' series, which could have made ET seem terrifying.
If a flesh and blood mongoose had been shot on the IOM, it would
not necessarily have been Gef. It may be that Voirrey had heard of
a farmer quite near to where she lived who had deliberately introduced
mongooses as a means of rabbit control. His surname was Irvine,
I think. Very like her own. :eek:
Chris Woodyard said:
The book mentioned above is Fodor, Nandor, Between Two Worlds: Amazing True Case-Histories ofthe Occult, the Mysterious and the Supernatural.
Thanks Chris. Its been bugging me what the title was. I knew "world" was in there somewhere! I might be able to sleep now!
My pleasure--there's enough of a sleep deficit in the world as it is without losing sleep over elusive book titles!

"I was a reference librarian in a previous life."
per gef

I have in my storage room at my store a magazine from around 67-68, I think ED. was Brad stieger, anyway , Its strange that I just skimmed that story a month or so ago while i was going through my old stuff looking for an old article in the same mag . about a sea serpent that attacked a few merchant vessels(which i finally found) .but anyway it told the whole story about Gef ,pictures,footprints ;the whole ball of wax.
Talking Mongoose Alert!

If fellow Forteans go to the webcrawler google.com and enter "talking mongoose" as the reference, there are 11,400 references to "Geoff", which should be sufficient for the most mongoose-obssessive. Research by Harry Price should be interesting as he was an avid investigator of ghosts/poltergeists, etc. Probably a bit gullible, too, but references to footprints, etc may well be among his stuff!
Just dragging up this old thread, but to me, the Gef case exhibits most of the classic polergeist phenomena - I think it's likely that the family had a poltie, and arrived at the persona of 'Gef the talking mongoose'!