"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!"
Those were some of the words spoken by Gef, a mysterious entity discovered in a lonely farmhouse in Dalby, Isle of Man by 13-year-old Voirrey Irving in 1931. It started with an irritating scratching sound within the walls of the farmhouse, but soon evolved into hisses and spits, or even the crying of a baby. Soon thereafter, it revealed the ability to speak and introduced itself as Gef, a mongoose. According to Gef, he was born in New Delhi, India in 1852. Evidently Voirrey was the only person who had ever seen the thing (although others had heard it speak), and she described him as the size of a small rat with yellowish fur and a large bushy tail. Incidentally, the Indian mongoose, as Gef claimed to be, was much larger than this and had no bushy tail.
More than once Gef referred to himself as an "extra clever mongoose", an earthbound spirit, and "a ghost in the form of a weasel". It soon became evident had the ability to shape-shift and even become invisible. One notable account of this is an incident reported by Voirrey's father, Jim. One night in 1932, when Jim and his daughter were home alone in broad daylight, Jim witnessed an unusually large orange cat that was "striped like a tiger". Knowing that it wasn't a normal cat, Jim loaded his single-barrel gun and followed it into an open field. The cat then turned a corner and vanished. While relaying the events to his wife later, Gef called out from the walls, "It was me you saw, Jim."
Later, in 1935, Jim Irving sent in hair samples to Harry Price, a forensic examiner. Jim said later on that Gef claimed to have plucked the hairs from his back himself. Harry concluded that the hairs did not come from any sort of mongoose, nor ferret, nor any other small mammal. He instead proposed that the hairs closely resembled the fur of a "longish-haired dog." When Harry Price later visited the Irving's home, he pulled a few hairs from the family's dog, Mona, and stated that the hairs were exactly identical to the hairs examined previously. Imprints of Gef's teeth and claws were also examined, and inspection revealed that there was an unusual disparity between the front and rear paws, with the front paws measuring eight to ten centimeters, which was remarkably large for a creature that was only 30 centimeters in length. This, however, was still consistent with the Irving's description of Gef's human-like hands.
The imprints were also sent to the Zoological Society for analysis, and it was revealed that there was absolutely no animal with paws of such largeness in proportion to body size.
In 1970, journalist Walter McGraw tracked down Voirrey Irving and persuaded her into an interview, where Irving stated, "I was shy… I still am… he [Gef] made me meet people I didn't want to meet. Then they said I was ‘mental’ or a ventriloquist. Believe me, if I was that good I would jolly well be making money from it now! Gef was very detrimental to my life. We were snubbed. The other children used to call me ‘the spook’. I had to leave the Isle of Man and I hope that no one where I work now ever knows the story. Gef has even kept me from getting married. How could I ever tell a man’s family about what happened?"
When McGraw asked whether or not Gef had really been a mongoose, Irving responded with the following: "I don’t know. I know he was a small animal about nine inches to a foot long. I know he talked to us from the wainscoting. His voice was very high-pitched. He swore a lot… At first he talked to me more than anyone. We carried on regular conversations."
"I am not a spirit. I am a little extra, extra clever mongoose."
"I am a ghost in the form of a weasel, and I shall haunt you with weird noises and clanking chains."
"I was born near Delhi, India, on June 7, 1852. I have been shot at by Indians. I am a marsh mongoose."
"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."
"I’ll split the atom! I am the fifth dimension! I am the eighth wonder of the world!"
"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."
"If you knew what I know, you’d know a hell of a lot!"
"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!"
"I have been to nicer homes than this. Carpets, piano, satin covers on polished tables. I am going back there. Hahaha!"
"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!"
"Nuts! Put a sock in it! Chew coke!"
"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."
"Put the bloody gramophone on!"