During the mid-1930s, British and international newspapers were full of incredible stories about Gef, a ‘talking mongoose’ or ‘man-weasel’ who, allegedly, had appeared in the home of the Irvings, a farming family who lived in an isolated, remote district of the Isle of Man.

The creature was said to have the ability to talk in several languages, to sing, to steal objects from nearby farms and to eavesdrop on local people, bearing local gossip from the neighbourhood back to his host family.

Despite contemporary documentation and evidence – written reports, magazine articles, a book, photographs, fur samples, paw prints, voluminous correspondence and signed witness statements – there was and is still no consensus as to what had happened at Doarlish Cashen, the Irvings’ farm.

Was it a hoax? Mental illness? A poltergeist?

Christopher Josiffe, author of the award-winning Gef! The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose, will discuss the strange case and his findings, based on seven years’ research, interviews with surviving witnesses, and visits to the Isle of Man farm site. For more information about Christopher and his book see: https://gefmongoose.co.uk/about/

Your curator and host for this event will be the writer Edward Parnell, author of Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country. Edward Parnell lives in Norfolk and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. He is the recipient of an Escalator Award from the National Centre for Writing and a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship. Ghostland (William Collins, 2019), a work of narrative non-fiction, is a moving exploration of what has haunted our writers and artists – as well as the author’s own haunted past; it was shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley 2020 prize, an award given to a literary autobiography of excellence. Edward’s first novel The Listeners (2014), won the Rethink New Novels Prize. For further info see: https://edwardparnell.com

[Image of a mongoose adapted from an original photo by Tony Hisgett, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license]