Gef was seldom seen but often heard. While he refused to talk to Harry Price or Nandor Fodor or speak into a dictaphone , he did favour some of the Irving's other visitors with a few choice remarks. A reporter from the Manchester Daily Dispatch who heard Gef speak wrote that the experience left him "in a state of considerable perplexity":
"Had I heard a weasel speak? I do not know, but I do know that I have heard today a voice that I should never have imagined could issue from a human throat."
"The people here at the farm who claim it is the voice of a strange animal seem sane, honest and responsible folk not likely to indulge in difficult long drawn-out practical jokes... The weasel even gave me a tip for a winner in the Grand National Horse race!"Family friend (and Voirrey's godfather) Charles Northwood also heard Gef speak. Gef took an instant dislike to him, at first refusing to talk at all, and then yelling derisively, "Charlie my old sport... Clear to the devil if you don't believe!" Later, Gef addressed him again:
"From behind the boards in the sitting room, possibly some 25-30 feet away, I heard a very loud voice penetrating, and with some malice in it. 'You don't believe! You are a doubter!' This was very startling, and for the first time put a bit of a shiver through me. I said, 'I do believe'. I had to shout this."Jim prompted Gef to demonstrate his smattering of foreign languages by asking, "What did the Rabbi say?"
"Veyho hefto ley macho chomocho" (Love thy neighbour as thyself) the learned mongoose replied.
Northwood was sufficiently impressed by what he heard to conclude that Gef was indeed "some extraordinary animal which has developed the power of speech". On the other hand, Isle of Man Examiner reporter J. Radcliffe reached a very different conclusion after hearing Gef.
Radcliffe had visited Cashen's Gap with a group of friends, hoping to hear the mongoose speak. Gef remained stubbornly silent until the group was on the point of leaving. Then:
"Suddenly there was a shrill squeak from the corner of the room where Voirrey, the daughter, was sitting. Mr Irving, in great excitement, gripped my arm and pointing to the opposite side of the room, whispered: 'He's there! Did you hear him?'"
"On our way down, I noticed Voirrey had a tendency to hang behind, and once again we heard a piping squeak with Mr Irving again wildly gesticulating and pointing to the hedge and whispering: 'He's there, I tell you. He's there!'"
"This was really too much, for my hearing is very good, and the squeak without doubt was human and came from immediately behind us. We laughed over the whole incident for days, because it was so badly done that it was extremely funny."While Voirrey may have been cheating on that particular occasion, it is worth bearing in mind psychic researcher Nandor Fodor's comments on 'fraudulent' poltergeists:
"Often, supposed Poltergeists are caught in the act of perpetrating a fraud. Then, scientists are apt to say 'I told you so' and ridicule the whole phenomenon."
"But it must be remembered that when you deal with Poltergeists you deal with unbalanced personalities. Once notoriety has been secured for the person around whom the disturbances occur, he is tempted to fake the manifestations after they have stopped in order to hold the centre of the stage."During his stay at Cashen's Gap, Fodor interviewed two local teenagers who claimed to have heard Gef speak. 19-yr-old Harry Hall described Gef's voice as being "a very high, screechy sort". He told Fodor:
"Mr Irving told us that Gef can tell the head or tail of a penny placed in the porch window. I took a penny from my pocket, tossed it, and placed it on the window ledge. As soon as I came back into the kitchen, Gef shouted 'Tails!' He was right. I tossed again. He was right again."And according to 15-yr-old Will Cubbon:
"Gef asked me: 'Can you drive a steamroller?' I said, 'Yes'. He did not believe: 'You young rascal - you would put it over the hedge!'"Fodor also interviewed a nameless "government official" who heard Gef's "very high pitched" voice whilst standing in the kitchen with Jim and Voirrey:
"The first words were hard to understand, but once I got used to it I could follow every word. I would say that the voice is a full octave higher than the human voice"
"There is no doubt in my mind that I heard Gef. He did not use very nice language. 'Put the bloody gramophone on!' is a fair example of his choice bits."Next: The Evidence for Gef: Pt 2 - Gef's Pawprints
Copyright © 2017 Clifford Malcolm Willett