• Please be advised there is a potential issue with DD collections, which may result in an excessive amount being taken. Please read the stickied thread in Fortean Times Magazine > General Discussion, Subs etc

Gef: The Talking Mongoose / The Dalby Spook

Graylien

As if!
Joined
Jul 31, 2004
Messages
4,428
Location
Norwich.
New book on Dalby Spook mystery
Link is dead. No archived version found.


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.)

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.
I would be about 6 or 7 at the time, and I recall pestering Voirrey to find Jeff and let me hear him speak. I would follow her around the old buildings, whilst she whistled and shouted for Jeff, but he never materialized.

Voirrey was a very attractive young woman by this time. My Grandfather told me a few years later, that it was, in reality, Voirrey, who had the gift of throwing her voice. A good trick, and she got away with it. I remember her as a very nice person.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

GNC

King-Sized Canary
Joined
Aug 25, 2001
Messages
33,618
If Gef was Voirrey throwing her voice, why bother pretending to whistle and call for him when she could have done the voice on the spot? And what about the times when the creature was seen, what was that?
 

Graylien

As if!
Joined
Jul 31, 2004
Messages
4,428
Location
Norwich.
By the 40's Gef had ceased manifesting. I guess the sceptical explanation would be that Voirrey had grown tired of her creation and the attention it attracted, so had stopped doing the act.

As for people outside the family seeing Gef, I'm not aware of any detailed sightings at close range. Perhaps people glimpsed squirrels or ferrets or such and mistakenly believed they had seen the loquacious mongoose?
 

Peripart

Antediluvian
Joined
Aug 1, 2005
Messages
6,516
Is "throwing your voice" even a real thing? I thought that ventriloquists are simply very good at talking without moving their lips - how does anyone make it sound as if their voice is coming from somewhere else?
 

PeteByrdie

Privateer in the service of Princess Frideswide
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
2,991
Is "throwing your voice" even a real thing? I thought that ventriloquists are simply very good at talking without moving their lips - how does anyone make it sound as if their voice is coming from somewhere else?
You're correct. Throwing your voice depends on the audience's assumption that any talking is coming from whichever dummy is moving its lips. So, Voirrey would have needed a remote controlled animatronic mongoose to pull the trick off. Clever girl!

Does anyone know how to pronounce 'Voirrey'? I've always struggled with it. Such an intriguing name.
 

Swifty

doesn't negotiate with terriers
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
32,178
Is "throwing your voice" even a real thing? I thought that ventriloquists are simply very good at talking without moving their lips - how does anyone make it sound as if their voice is coming from somewhere else?
This is how someone says it's done ..

 

Peripart

Antediluvian
Joined
Aug 1, 2005
Messages
6,516
That's really more about increasing the range and power of your voice, rather than making it sound like it's coming from the mongoose across the yard!
 

gattino

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jul 30, 2003
Messages
2,331
Throwing your voice, I'd have thought, was about lowering the volume and pitch to make it sound like its coming from further away....the obvious example being the ventriliquist gimmick of doing a muffled squeaky little voice to give the impression of the puppet locked inside his case or box
 

GNC

King-Sized Canary
Joined
Aug 25, 2001
Messages
33,618
Does anyone know how to pronounce 'Voirrey'? I've always struggled with it. Such an intriguing name.

I always thought it was pronounced "Vwa-rey", but I've never heard anyone say it, that I can recall anyway.
 

Jepra Peld

Devoted Cultist
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
158
Location
Doolish
By the 40's Gef had ceased manifesting. I guess the sceptical explanation would be that Voirrey had grown tired of her creation and the attention it attracted, so had stopped doing the act.

As for people outside the family seeing Gef, I'm not aware of any detailed sightings at close range. Perhaps people glimpsed squirrels or ferrets or such and mistakenly believed they had seen the loquacious mongoose?

There are no squirrels on the Isle of Man I'm afraid. I'm not sure about ferrets.
 

Andy X

AWOL
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
3,195
Location
Larch Forest
Throwing your voice, I'd have thought, was about lowering the volume and pitch to make it sound like its coming from further away....the obvious example being the ventriliquist gimmick of doing a muffled squeaky little voice to give the impression of the puppet locked inside his case or box

Case in point:


Am very impressed by this trick - although it's totally pointless tbh.
 

JamesWhitehead

Piffle Prospector
Joined
Aug 2, 2001
Messages
14,013
an eclectic set of articles

Thanks for posting that . . .

Classifying Gef with poltergeists seems sensible.

Reading an account of a classic - if suspiciously migratory - poltergeist tale attached to Boggart Hole Clough in Blackley, I traced it back through Edwin Waugh to Roby's Traditions of Lancashire, from which all later accounts derive. His much-reprinted volumes were a product of the 1830s and 40s but he is these days regarded as having compiled them rather than written them himself.

It is Thomas Crofton Croker who is usually credited with the cheeky poltergeist of the Clough. Like Gef, this mischievious spirit had a favourite place - under the stairs in this case. From here he would make cheeky observations about the family. They got so fed up with him that they used to stick a shoe-horn in the hole to block his view. This provided the opportunity for the Boggart, as it was called, to forcibly eject the obstruction. It all leads up to the famous scene in which the family decamps with all their possessions. A neighbour spots them and hears the sorry tale. "Aye, we're flitting!" comes the voice of the Boggart from inside a saddle-bag. At which they give up all hope of escaping their guest.

Now Crofton Croker was an Irishman and his books on fairy-lore have a distinct flavour. His account of the Boggart is filled with lively detail which cannot be traced to any other earlier account. He was a good spinner of yarns and the "We're flitting!" tale is also attributed to a Yorkshire poltergeist, several less certain locations and it has analogues worldwide. As a writer, he was happy, I think to supply the banker Roby with tales by the yard.

Anyone reading the tale of the Boggart will be reminded of Gef. I doubt if that establishes his literary origin so much as a shared oral tradition with the Isle of Man close to Ireland in every respect. His mongoose shape was exotic enough but his personality seems steeped in Irish Boggartry to me. :)
 
Last edited:

Gizmos Mama

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Sep 23, 2015
Messages
427
Location
Southern Alberta, Canada
excellent work James!

literary or not, I find Gef's personality oddly endearing! :clap:

I love Gef, and James' Blackley Boggart is intriguing! But I will admit, something about this type of poltergeist gives me the absolute, creeping horrors!!:eek:

A "normal" polt would be enough to send me around the bend, with the throwing stuff and stacking furniture in weird ways. But the thought of some creepy conscious entity, with apporting abilities, that knows stuff, and seems to be watching you all the time...Brrrrrr!!!
 

JamesWhitehead

Piffle Prospector
Joined
Aug 2, 2001
Messages
14,013
Just to add to the horrors, Waugh has another boggart tale from a spot a mile or so north of Heywood*. The Gristlehurst Boggart is a very atmospheric yarn. This boggart was supposedly dead and buried with a stake through its heart, which gives it an unusual physicality, though it did not appear to stop its work.

Waugh's original is told in dialect, which this webpage helpfully translates! :)
Link is dead. No archived version found.

*I have located G. Farm* on my A to Z of the area. The Lane is also marked but not named. I intend to visit the location, though the grave of the boggart may be hard to pin-point!

Edit
*The property is now in the poshest part of Rochdale, last on the market at a price approaching two million pounds.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Draheste

Devoted Cultist
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
196
That's a horrible drawing. If it's accurate i hope poor Voirrey got the treatment she needed for the grosser deformities and someone stopped her being hit the face with a shovel.

I believe the Isle of Man had a massive delivery of perspective in the 50s, which must have made things easier for everyone.

The book sounds interesting, but if it had that cover art it'll find itself recovered in brown paper before it finds a home in my shelves.

I love and frequently visit the Isle of Man and I'm quite interested about Gef the Talking Mongoose and would buy the book, but if they publish it with that drawing on the cover, a picture of it would go straight to that website :
http://www.goodshowsir.co.uk/

However, I've seen the site of the publisher, Strange Attractor, and they seem to get books out with less artistically shocking covers.
 
Last edited:
Top