Bizarre Creatures: Gef

Gef was, well, no one is really sure what Gef was, if anything. The story and name are just bizarre enough to warrant mention. However, the only thing we are sure about it when it comes to Gef is that he was talked about, by the family that introduced him to the media and the media.

Gef was an entity, an animal, of some sort that a family who lived in the British Isles claimed lived in and around their house. The Irving family, who lived on a farmhouse called Cashen's Gap on the Isle of Man, claimed that Gef first appeared in autumn of 1931. Now, before you start thinking this is some ghost story, read on. Gef did not make the pages of That is Bizarre by being a run-of-the-mill ghost.

There were three members of the family, a 13-year-old girl and her parents. Oddly, some sources say the girl was the most connected with Gef and others say it was the father. Either way, the whole family seems to have experienced whatever or whoever Gef was, if only a shared hoax or delusion. Whatever happened in that farmhouse started as scratching sounds, like an animal nesting, according to the Irvings. It sounded like a creature was leaving in the walls of the back of their farmhouse.

Over time, the creature sounds started to include the barking of a dog and the gurgling of a human infant. As if that is not creepy enough, the Irvings say the creature progressed to speaking -- as in speaking human words to the Irvings. Among some of the notable things that Gef said to the Irvings are the following:

"Vanishing . . . " he would reportedly say sometimes before ceasing to speak.

He claimed he was a mongoose named Gef, though James Irving (the father) initially called him "Jack."

When claiming he was a mongoose, Gef also said he was roughly 79-years-old and from New Delhi.

When the family attempted to photograph him, though they say he hid most of the time, he said he was horrifying, in so many words. He said if they saw him, they would turn to stone or a pillar of salt.

He called himself a "clever mongoose," the "ghost of a weasel" and an "earthbound spirit." 

He said, "If you knew what I know, you'd know a hell of a lot." 

Gef once pretended he was poisoned.

The being supposedly spied on neighbors and reported to the Irvings, even though the Irvings did not tell him to.

According to a contemporary newspaper, he was told the Irvings that he would follow Voirrey (the daughter) wherever they took her, after they got scared and had her sleep in their room with them.

Voirrey said he swore a lot. However, accounts of him seem to indicate that he was easily angered, often simply conversational and somewhat egotistical, assuming he existed.

James kept a record of the Gef happenings, which stopped after he died and the family moved. He wrote of Gef throwing things without being in the room. He wrote of small glimpses the family had of the creature, which they said looked like a small rodent. Evidence of the creature's existence include the family testimony, reports of testimony from visitors to the Irving house, indirect testimony of "belief" in the creature from neighbors and media reports that survive to this day.

There are several theories regarding what Gef was, the most obvious being a poltergeist and a hoax. There is, of course, the possibility that it is all true, though that is obviously unlikely. What is interesting is that young Voirrey reportedly maintained that Gef was real publicly until her death in 2005.