In the 1930s, Gef the Talking Mongoose haunted the Isle of Man. Members of the Lancashire Anomalous Paranormal Investigation Society spoke to GAYLE FIDLER about their recent visits to the island to investigate the enigmatic creature
“Our experiences are so wonderful and incredible, that I doubt if the like has ever occurred before on this earth.” Jim Irving
With the release of the new film Nandor Fodor and The Talking Mongoose, starring Simon Pegg and Minnie Driver, writer and researcher Gayle Fidler and her husband Ben joined a group of researchers led by Lancashire Anomalous Phenomena Investigation Society (LAPIS) on two trips to the Isle of Man in 2022 and 2023, to search for the mysterious talking mongoose.
Gayle spoke with Janet Walkey and Paul Pearson from LAPIS to tell Spooky Isles a bit about their adventures.
In Search of Gef The Talking Mongoose Interview
GAYLE: What made you decide to embark on an adventure to investigate the mysterious mongoose?
The original idea for the trip came following a talk by Christopher Josiffe and Chris Hill at the 2019 Weird Weekend North conference in Rixton-with-Glazebrook. The talk told the story of Gef, based on the investigations undertaken by Christopher Josiffe in his book Gef! The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose. Strange Attractor Press (2017).
Several pints in the pub after the conference, resulted in the idea for the strangest adventure being born. A trip over the Irish Sea, to search for a mysterious talking mongoose from the 1930’s.
Gef has had several books written about him and now a film. What makes this extra, extra clever mongoose so special?
When we first heard the talk at Weird Weekend North, we were captivated. There are so many unanswered questions about the whole Gef mystery that will probably never be solved.
One of the things that makes Gef so special is his humanity. He has a wicked sense of humour, yet at the same time is very vulnerable. We are given an insight into the personality of Gef, by letters and interviews with Jim Irving, the owner of Doarlish Cashen. Gef lived at the remote farm with the Irving family.
Gef declared himself to be an “earthbound spirit” but also told Jim, “I was born near Delhi, India, on June 7, 1852. I have been shot at by Indians. I am a marsh mongoose.”
Tell us a bit about who else went on the expeditions?
From LAPIS, we had Dr Dan Holdsworth. There was Cryptozoologist and Zoological director for the Centre of Fortean Zoology (CFZ) Richard Freeman and researcher Jackie Tonks. In 2022, we were joined by founder of the West Yorkshire Pagan Moot, Steve Jones. In 2023, researcher and blogger Ben Emlyn-Jones came along.
What were your thoughts when you first visited Doarlish Cashen, once the home of Gef and the Irving family?
Doarlish Cashen, also known as Cashens’ Gap, is very different now to when Harry Price and Nandor Fodor visited in the 1930s. The house was demolished in the 1970s and very little evidence remains that there was once a farmstead there.
The area is 725 ft above sea level and Harry Price described it as one of the loneliest farmsteads in Britain.
All that really remains is the well and Mrs Irving’s gooseberry bushes, which still thrive in the rugged landscape. The site is very remote, and access is by foot along winding farm tracks.
Although there is not much to see of the farmhouse any longer, the views are truly spectacular. It is worth the trip, just to walk in the footsteps of the famous researchers.
Gef called himself the “Eighth Wonder Of The World”, did you expect to find any evidence of him?
Unfortunately, Gef did not make an appearance on either of our trips. We spoke with a lot of locals, many of which believed the case to be a hoax. Richard Freeman has put forward a theory that Gef may have been a thought form of Tulpa, created by the Irving family.
We know that there were mongooses introduced in the Isle of Man in 1912 to try and keep down the rabbit population. The remote house they were released from Eary Cushlin, was our base for both expeditions. Gef told Jim Irving that he did not like Eary Cushlin and described it as “The Land of Mist”.
The researcher and writer Jenny Randles saw a mongoose-type creature, while visiting the island in 2002.
We are planning to go back in 2024, so hopefully Gef may pay us a visit then!
Can you tell me a bit about LAPIS and when it was founded?
LAPIS was founded in 1986, it was originally a UFO group called BUFOS (Blackpool UFO Group) changing to Lancashire Aerial Phenomena Investigation Society, before becoming Lancashire Anomalous Phenomena Investigation Society in the early 2000s, to reflect the wider interests of the group.
How often do LAPIS meet and where?
The group meets monthly at The Guards Club, Whitegate Drive in Blackpool. Meetings are very informal, and the group discusses a wide range of subjects. The group has an evidence-based approach to investigations.
How can people find out more?
The LAPIS website is available here LAPIS Paranormal Group Blackpool. We have some pages dedicated to the Dalby Spook aka Gef adventures on our site, which we continue to update as we research more information. You can also check out our blog and social media for regular updates #simonpeggstoleourmongoose.
Tell us your thoughts on Gef The Talking Mongoose in the comments section below!
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