Evidence Pt 2: Gef's Pawprints

Plaster casts of Gef's prints

Gef was far more dextrous than the average mongoose. He frequently threw stones and pins at visitors and was once even seen to strike a match. He claimed to have hands "as large as a big doll's hands", each with three fingers and a thumb. Jim Irving described Gef's forefeet as looking like tiny "human hands with very long fingers".

The photograph above shows three pawprints made by Gef in plasticene together with an impression of his teeth marks. The plasticene had been supplied by Harry Price and left overnight in Gef's sanctum in Voirrey's room. "It is too damned hard!" complained Gef at first, but once the plasticene had been softened up for him he agreed to the experiment. "It was as hard as hell, but I did it," he announced the next day. "Go and look!"

Harry Price asked Reginald Pocock of the Natural History Museum to evaluate the prints. Pocock could not match them to any known animal, though he conceded that one of them might have been "conceivably made by a dog".

"There is no mammal in which there is such disparity in the size of the fore and the hind foot," Pocock wrote to Price. "I do not believe these photographs represent foot tracks at all. Most certainly none of them was made by a Mongoose."

Next: The Evidence for Gef: Pt 3 - Gef's Hair

Copyright © 2017 Clifford Malcolm Willett