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The peculiar case of Gef The Talking Mongoose, or the Dalby Spook, has ample evidence, yet is unlikely to reach a satisfactory conclusion, writes GAYLE FIDLER
“I am not a spirit. I am just a little, extra clever mongoose.” The creature that called itself Gef and lived on a remote farmstead in the Isle of Man, once famously said.
The enigma of whatever Gef the Talking Mongoose was (or is) is one that has baffled researchers since Gef first appeared in the 1930s. Some of the most famous names in paranormal research have tried to solve the Gef mystery.
To this day, Gef has an army of fans all over the world who are intrigued by the mongoose case. However, The Dalby Spook (as he was known locally) remains at large.
I have visited Doarlish Cashen, the site where the remote farmhouse belonging to the Irving family once stood. Unfortunately, the house was knocked down in the 1970s and there is very little evidence that a family home once stood there.
Despite the lack of physical remains of the farm, the landscape has an eerie presence about it. It feels like something ancient still haunts the rolling hills and countryside.
Even without a mysterious talking mongoose, the surrounding area is a mystical place. There are many local tales of strange creatures and ghostly sightings. The terrifying Moddey Dhoo that haunted Peel Castle. The giant Buggane of Glen Maye who attacked a housewife. The ghostly child with no name who terrified fisherman. These are just a few of many stories that the area holds. If you are looking for a trace of old magic, you will find it on the Isle of Man.
Details of the Dalby Spook and his personality can be found in notes from researchers and newspaper articles. The Mongoose case was even discussed in the High Court of Justice and got a mention in the House of Commons.
Who Was Gef The Talking Mongoose, aka Dalby Spook?
Gef might have been an extra clever mongoose, but he was also a bad-tempered, foul-mouthed creature when he wanted to be. It is difficult to read some of the reports and not chuckle at his quick wit and demanding temperament.
“Jim, I have a god-damn cough. I have a hell of a cold. You will have to get me something.” He complained to Mr Irving, who offered him peppermints as a remedy. If he was a spirit, why did he need cough sweets?
Gef had a dislike of psychic researcher Harry Price “He’s the man who puts the kybosh on the spirits!” Gef once declared. There is an underlying sadness and fear in some of Gef’s statements. He appeared to be terrified of getting caught or dying. “If you try to grab me, I’ll take your finger off,” he once sniped at the Irving’s, as he allowed them to touch him.
Margaret Irving told parapsychologist Nandor Fodor that Gef was very partial to food. She found tooth marks in the butter. Gef liked to eat sausages, kippers, and uncooked bacon. Mrs Irving once hid some biscuits in a jar on the top shelf and didn’t tell the other family members. Later the biscuits had vanished, and Mrs Irving suspected Gef of stealing them.
Jim Irving wrote in his diary that once he was awoken by Gef at 5am. The mongoose was being sick under his bed. Jim found the vomited remains of carrots. Gef claimed to have been at a house 8 miles way and eaten all their food.
Gef would bring back objects from his travels over the island. Paintbrushes, a ball of wool a glove and a coin all mysteriously appeared at Doarlish Cashen. He claimed that he had found some of the items and some he had deliberately stolen. Including sandwiches from a bus conductor. The man was so cross about his missing lunch, that he angrily told Fodor he would “like to get his hands on Gef.”
Gef also liked to eavesdrop on local gossip and report back what he had heard to the Irving family. This behaviour was so concerning to the staff at the bus depot in Peel. A place where Gef liked to hang out, that they rigged up an electrical trap under one of the buses to try and catch him. They failed in their attempt. Gef was wise to them. He told James Irving that he knew all about it, even the exact bus number that the trap was on.
I, like so many others continue to be intrigued by the mongoose story. It took place in the perfect setting for a mystery. Wild, desolate, unforgiving land, so remote that it was barely accessible by foot.
The Irving’s. A strange and complicated family, who had gone from riches to rags. James Irving, a father, and husband almost destroyed by poverty. Destitute and penniless. Desperate to provide for his wife and daughter. Margaret Irving, a formidable looking woman, who believed she was psychic. Voirrey Irving. A shy, lonely girl whose best friend was her sheepdog, Mona. The pair hunted rabbits together and walked the wild lands from dawn to dusk. Bullied and laughed at by her classmates, who mocked her about the Dalby Spook.
If the Irving’s fabricated the story, they certainly made no financial gain from it. It still does not explain the other witnesses that Gef antagonised on his Island rampages.
There are many theories about the Talking Mongoose case. Unfortunately, that is all they are. Theories. All of those who were involved have since passed on. Hair samples, photographs and paw prints have not provided any conclusive evidence. For now, any physical trace of Gef the Talking Mongoose has vanished.
What are your thoughts on the Dalby Spooky, aka Gef The Talking Mongoose? Tell us in the comments section below!
Read Gayle Fidler’s film review of Nandor Fodor and The Talking Mongoose