I'm a bit on the fence over this one. I suspect Voirrey may have been on the ASD spectrum - I'm not quite sure why or what gives me that feeling but some things that she said just made me wonder. And that she conjured up Gef (whether literally or figuratively) to keep her company, be a guardian, to distract her parents' attention from her. And making a film about a young girl's loneliness, isolation and possible undiagnosed mental health problems, then making it a 'comedy' just doesn't sit right with me.

Yeah I never found the Spook very funny; irritating, abusive and a bit sinister, if anything.

My own feeling, if we're looking at non-parapsychological explanations, is that there might originally have been a small animal that temporarily took up residence in the outbuildings - perhaps an escaped domestic ferret. Margaret developed the 'trick' of giving it a voice to amuse her imaginative, lonely daughter and possibly to play a trick on her husband, who comes across as an emotionally domineering sort at the very least. Many of the "Spook's" utterances seem to express specific anger and resentment towards Jim ("turn your head, you bastard, I cannot stand your eyes").

The two things that then happened, by which time the ferret itself had moved on, were that a) Jim believed what was happening and became utterly invested in the deception and b) the shared family 'game' became a public matter.

By the end of things I think the deception was largely being carried on by Voirrey, who still wanted to please her father enough to perpetuate it. I think the above explains it but also sits with Voirrey's slightly cryptic comments late in life.
 
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I've been reading the article in the latest FT regarding the film, and something struck me, which then, of course being a novelist, I ran with.

It's just a theory, a 'what if', but I don't know if it's been considered, but...

what if Voirrey wasn't Jim's daughter, but his granddaughter? Their son and daughter were mid and late teens when Jim and Margaret moved to the Isle of Man, where Voirrey was born about a year later. What if...what if they actually moved there because the daughter, Elsie, was pregnant? And they wanted to keep it quiet, so they moved to Man, where Margaret had some connections. So (in my alternate universe), Elsie gives birth to Voirrey and always intends to claim her as her daughter and move back to the mainland. But when Voirrey was 11, her uncle/brother moved away to London and then her mother/sister moved to Liverpool - without taking her. Even if Elsie had been Voirrey's sister, surely it would be natural for her to take her sister off Man and away to somewhere she could have proper schooling and friends, rather than being stuck in the middle of nowhere?

Anyway. Suppose Elsie told Voirrey that she would send for her. But didn't. And then, after a couple of years when Voirrey realises that Elsie isn't ever going to come back to fetch her...she takes matters into her own hands to try to drive the family to return to the Mainland.
 
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