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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Gef - The Mysterious Ghost Mongoose... Seriously

I'm not sure how many of you read the site.  It's pretty essential to me as it covers a wide variety of pop culture news.  One of my favorite series is Wiki Wormhole.  Writer Mike Vago literally jumps from entry to entry on Wikipedia and reports on it.  The only real rule seems to be that the next topic is always triggered by something read in the current topic he's exploring.  Thus you can have such disparate subjects as a ghost mongoose one week and dead currencies the next.

Wait... did I just write the words "ghost mongoose"?

Yes.  Yes, I did.

You see, this week's entry was so fun, I figured I had to share it with those of you who don't know about Gef.

In 1931, a family living in a small farmhouse on the Isle of Man, reported that they had a ghost living with them.  It wasn't an ordinary ghost though.  It was a ghost in the form of a "mongoose" from New Delhi, India.  What's even better than that?  

It talked.

That's right, the mongoose (or monghost if you really want to get weird with it) spoke to the family regularly.  It referred to itself as "a ghost in the form of a mongoose" and an "earthbound spirit" among other things.  It was also helpful.  It would wake up family members who overslept, warn them when visitors or strange animals approached and was even responsible for turning off the stove when someone forgot.  In return, the family left it food in a saucer suspended from the ceiling.

The ghost became popular in the tabloids and various investigators came out over the years to report on it and try to see it for themselves.  Ultimately, no photos were ever taken and though some visitors reported hearing the ghost talk, this was later reported to be ventriloquism on the part of Voirrey, the couple's daughter. 

Ultimately, prints and hair from the ghost mongoose were proven to be that of the family's dogs.  Still, according to Wikipedia, Voirrey (who died in 2005) always insisted that Gef was quite real and was not a product of her imagination.  

One thing I find very interesting about this is Gef's assertion that he is an "earthbound spirit" and a "ghost in the shape of a mongoose".  In the Shinto religion in Japan, there is the belief in "kami" that I've discussed when posting about the festival in Asakusa.  Kami is basically an object's spirit and Shinto teachings tell us they are found everywhere.  The idea of a mongoose's kami finding its way to England from New Delhi and helping a family seems like it would make a hell of a great story.

Perhaps someone should write it.  Hmmmm...

Anyway, check out the links above to the AVClub article and the Wikipedia entry.  Very soon, I'll pick up the Exploring Japan series again but when I do, be warned.  There's at least one entry coming up that deals with parasites... lots of them...

2 comments: said...

A talking ghost mongoose? I am in. Great job.

Tom said...

A talking ghost Mongoose? Reminds me of another talking animal I read about in a book recently. A signature recurring motif, maybe?