Further reading

For those who wish to read more about specific aspects of the Gef case, or related topics, the list below constitutes a partial bibliography. It’s not a complete list of materials that were consulted as research for the book, but represents ‘selected highlights’ that may be of especial interest or importance.

Please continue to check this page, as it will continue to be updated… irregularly, but updated nonetheless.

Books

  • Alien Animals: A Worldwide Investigation

    • Colin Bord & Janet Bord (1980)
    • Book Club Associates
  • Between Two Worlds

    • Nandor Fodor (1964)
    • Parker Publishing Co.

    Psychoanalyst Nandor Fodor applies his professional knowledge so as to interpret individual cases – of poltergeist attack, spirit possession or haunting – through a Freudian, psychoanalytic lens.

  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

    • Junot Díaz (2007)
    • Riverhead Books

    Magic realist novel by Dominican American writer Junot Díaz, which features a leitmotif of magical mongooses, and a vulnerable young woman, Beli, for whom a mongoose is her protector. Sound familiar?

     “Mongooses appear throughout The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao as guardians of the family. […] While the mongoose guides Beli, its presence is necessary for sugar production. The mongoose is known for its sociability and cunning […]

    At the most superficial level, the mongoose can be equated with the zafa, the counter-spell to the family’s fukú […]  The creature acts as [Beli’s] protector […] just as the singing mongoose leads Beli to safety, a singing voice leads Clives to Oscar.

    This symbolic relationship is heightened by the transient nature of the mongoose, disappearing as suddenly as it appears […]  In having this character take on such a surreal nature with characteristics not found in most mongooses, such as the ability to talk and vanishing in the blink of an eye, Díaz establishes an uncertainty that mirrors the controversies over whether superstitions exist.”Wikipedia page.

  • Cashin of Patrick

    • Maryellen Robison Hinrichs (1975)
    • Privately published

    A historian and genealogist traces the history of the Doarlish Cashen farm (and that of her own Manx ancestors).

  • A Dictionary of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, and other Supernatural Creatures

    • Katherine Briggs (1976)
    • Allen Lane
  • Fairies: Real Encounters with the Little People

    • Colin Bord & Janet Bord (1997)
    • Michael O’Mara
  • Haunted People: Story of the Poltergeist Down the Centuries

    • Hereward Carrington & Nandor Fodor (1951)
    • E.P. Dutton

    The first half of this significant work consists of Hereford Carrington’s historical overview of poltergeist cases around the globe, from the 4th century AD to the 20th century.

    The second half was written by lawyer, psychoanalyst and psychical researcher Nandor Fodor.
    One compelling chapter, ‘The Talking Mongoose,’ describes his week-long stay on the Isle of Man with the Irving family in February 1937. Other chapters examine similar poltergeist cases such as the Bell Witch and the Zaragoza Duende, concluding with Fodor’s application of his own professional skills: ‘The Poltergeist Psychoanalysed.’

  • The Haunting of Cashen’s Gap

    • R.S. Lambert & Harry Price (1936)
    • Methuen

    The first full-length book on the Gef case by celebrated ghost-hunter Harry Price and his friend, Listener editor Richard Stanton Lambert. The two men briefly visited the Isle of Man in the summer of 1935, where they met the Irving family. Here they give an account of Gef’s first appearances, his habits, doings and sayings, extracts from Jim Irving’s letters and diaries, interview transcripts, and a detailed examination of each member of the family, based on their own accounts and those of neighbouring farmers.

    The authors offer their own veiled conclusion as to what was really going on up at Doarlish Cashen. Unable to print their unfettered opinions for fear of legal action, Lambert and Price coyly hint at a “psychological fraud,” and cast doubt upon Gef’s independent existence, for instance pointing out that Gef’s favourite foods were very similar to those that a teenage girl would favour.

    Essential reading for Gef-ologists. Long out-of-print and commanding high prices on the second-hand market (typically £c.200). Try your local library and ask for an inter-library loan!

  • The Haunting of Willington Mill: The Truth Behind England’s Most Enigmatic Ghost Story

    • Michael J. Hallowell & Darren Ritson (2011)
    • The History Press
  • I Rise: The Life Story of a Negro

    • Rollo Ahmed (1937)
    • John Long
  • A Manx Scrapbook: (Chapter 4: The Parish of Patrick)

    Folklore, myths and history of the Isle of Man.

  • Poltergeists

    • A.D. Cornell & Alan Gauld (1979)
    • Routledge & Kegan Paul
  • Spiritualism and British society between the wars

    • Jenny Hazelgrove (2000)
    • Manchester University Press
  • This House is Haunted: The Investigation of the Enfield Poltergeist

    • Guy Lyon Playfair (1981)
    • Sphere
  • The Vanishing People: A Study of Traditional Fairy Beliefs

    • Katherine Briggs (1978)
    • Batsford

Articles

  • ‘Familiar Spirits’

    • Richard Holland (October 2008)
    • Paranormal (issue 28, pp.26-28)
  • ‘Gef the Talking Mongoose’

    • Christopher Josiffe (December 2010)
    • Fortean Times (no. 269, pp.32-40))
  • ‘Ghoulies and Ghousties of England’

    • Robert Aickman
    • Illustrated London News (2 November 1959)
  • ‘Jok Zottle and the Invizikids’

    • Michael J. Hallowell (2009)
    • Fortean Times (no. 250, pp.30-35)
  • ‘The Talking Mongoose’

    • Hereward Carrington & Nandor Fodor (1951)
    • Haunted People: Story of the Poltergeist Down the Centuries (pp.173-212)

    In which Nandor Fodor describes his week-long stay with the Irvings in February 1937, his extensive examination of the evidence, interviews with numerous witnesses, and his attempts to communicate with Gef.

    A crucial text for Gef-ology.

  • ‘The Truth About the Talking Mongoose’

    • Nandor Fodor (February 1937)
    • Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (Vol. 31, pp.86-88)
  • ‘Vestigia Insulae Manniae Antiquiora’

    • Henry Robert Oswald (1860)
    • Manx Society for the Publication of National Documents (Vol. 5)

Films

  • Vanished! A Video Séance

    • Brian Catling & Tony Grisoni (dir.) (1999)


    Over a period of 69 minutes, the talking heads of Jim, Margaret and Voirrey Irving (played by Julian Curry, Rosemary McHale and Victoria Seifert respectively) each give their own account of how Gef (who is never shown) first appeared to them, and the role that he played in each of their lives.

    Gripping, at times wildly humorous, unsettling,  and wholly engrossing, this film’s claustrophobic atmosphere perfectly illustrates the Irving family’s peculiar family dynamic and their shared interior world as much as it portrays the austere conditions and semi-darkness in which they lived at Doarlish Cashen.

    Watch it here.

Websites

  • Gef: The Eighth Wonder of the World

    • Cliff Willett
    • (accessed 04/05/2017)

    Cliff Willett’s essential Gef webpage, with accounts of Price’s and Fodor’s investigations, how the case was reported in the contemporary press, photos, Gef’s greatest quotes, and more. The original and still the best.