by Jackie Turley
Gef the talking mongoose – a Manx mystery which made headlines around the world – is the subject of a symposium being held in London.
It’s being organised by Christopher Josiffe and Dr Richard Espley of the University of London’s Senate House Library, which holds a significant proportion of the limited primary sources available to researchers.
The mystery dates back to 1931 when James Irving, his wife, and their teenage daughter all claimed that a talking animal – a weasel or mongoose – was a regular visitor to their farm at Doarlish Cashen, displaying apparent gifts of clairvoyance and telepathy.
Soon, the story had become an international Press sensation. Over the years, journalists, authors, spiritualists, psychic investigators (notably Harry Price and Nandor Fodor) and psychologists have all attempted to make sense of the family’s claims.
The half day event, on the afternoon of April 10, will include an overview of the history and legacy of the case from Mr Josiffe, and papers on subjects including Gef’s sexual symbolism and the esoteric lesson he teaches about oneness.
There will also be a screening of Vanished!, based on the Dalby Spook, and introduced by its makers, Professor Brian Catling and Tony Grisoni.
Meanwhile, Mr Josiffe hopes to have finished his book on Gef by the end of the year.
It’s four years after he urged residents who knew the Irving family and could help uncover the truth come forward, in an article published in our sister paper, the Isle of Man Examiner.
At the time he said: ‘I have never been able to decide whether Gef was a hoax, or a genuine – if unexplained –phenomenon.’
For more information about the symposium go to www.senatehouselibrary.ac.uk/2014/03/13/gef-symposium/