Perhaps all of this was nothing more than the human desire to understand something from other-worldly wonder and magic, yet The Legend of Gef still lives on. This small sized mongoose story, has since become a strange twisted encounter and has become more of an urban legend nowadays.
Back during September of 1931, a little 13 year old girl named Voirrey and her parents James and Margaret, heard what sounded like rustling and scratching noises coming from behind their farmhouse that had wooden type panels. At first, they thought it could have been something like a dog or a young child even.
To their shocking surprise, it was a mongoose. However, this was no ordinary mongoose, it was special because it talked to them. The mongoose introduced itself as “Gef” and then explained how it was born back in New Delhi, India, in 1852.
Of course all of this was really weird and is difficult to believe, yet the Irving family believe they came across something rather rare. The families bizarre story began when James Irving from the village of Dalby on the Isle of Man was ready to read his daily newspaper. It was at this moment when he heard along with his family a high-pitched disembodied voice calling out to them impatiently, “Read it out, you fat-headed gnome!”.
Puzzled, James wondered who this might have been. It wasn’t his wife or daughter, it was coming from the mongoose before them. Gef the mongoose had been living within the family home for a while, without their previous knowledge.
According to daughter Voirrey, Gef was the size of a small rat with yellowish fur and a large bushy kind of tail. The family conveyed how clever this mongoose was. Perhaps it was an Earthbound spirit and/or a ghost taking the form of a mongoose. Gef explained to them,
“I am a freak. I have hands and feet, and if you saw me you’d faint, you’d be petrified, mummified, turned into stone or a pillar of salt!”.
Taking on the role of watchdog, Gef supposedly guarded their house and informed them of any unwanted guests including other animals around. If one of them forgot to put out the fire at night, Gef would go down and stop the stove.
Gef even helped by waking up those who overslept. When a mouse entered the house, Gef would be the one to get rid of them by scaring them away rather than killing them.
The family began to reward Gef by giving them biscuits, chocolates and bananas. Food was often left behind in a saucer dish suspended from the ceiling. The family even began to take Gef out with them while going to the local market. The talking mongoose would wedge through the hedges chatting incessantly.
After word got around about this special house guest, the newspapers began to run stories about the family and their furry little friend.
The story of Gef became quite popular in the tabloid press. A number of journalists went to the families home trying to catch a glimpse of this special animal. Others would frequent the area in hopes to see or even talk with this unusual creature.
As time passed by, no real physical evidence could be recorded. Only small sized footprints and stains on the wall were seen. The only hairs found belonged to the families sheepdog ‘Mona’. However, several photos were taken that claimed Gef was real.
Following the death of James Irving, both Margaret and Voirrey Irving left their home in 1945. The home was sold for less value than it was worth, due to the rumored hauntings there.
The following year in 1946, Leslie Graham bought the farm. She claimed to have killed Gef. The body put on display, was larger than the original description made about Gef.
Leslie would end up dying in 2005 and maintained her story that Gef was killed by her and not some kind of creation. So-called experts did collect samples from the farm and it was later revealed that the hair belonged to the Irving’s sheepdog, Mona.
The pawprints found were also evaluated among different tooth impressions. Reginald Pocock from the Natural History Museum said these findings were “conceivably made by a dog”. He did state that none of the markings had been made by a mongoose of any kind.
The diaries of James Irving, along with reports about the case, are located in Harry Price’s archives in the Senate House Library at the University of London. It remains a fascinating tale, yet still unexplained entirely. A talking mongoose would surely be famous worldwide.