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Lancashire Anomalous Phenomena Investigation Society

The Dalby Spook

aka Gef the Talking Mongoose

Nandor Fodor 


“If Gef is an animal, he is a splendid animal and I love him” 

Born in Hungary in 1895, Nandor Fodor was an interesting character.  After being awarded a doctorate in Law he moved from his native Hungary to New York and then to London to work as a journalist.  He also worked in the field of psychoanalysis and was an associate of Freud. His interest in Gef  stemmed from his work in parapsychology. He had a particular interest in poltergeist cases and was Research Officer for the International Institute for Psychical Research.  

In February of 1937, Fodor spent a week at Doarlish Cashen with the Irvings.  This took some persuasion from both Fodor and Ifrom rving’s friend Charles Morrison, as Irving had originally declined the request on account of the “difficulty of inducing Gef to demonstrate his existence to others” Eventually though, he agreed, and Fodor duly arrived at Ronaldsway airport on the 1st of the month.  

He was particularly interested in looking at the interior of the house and the wooden panelling which lined it’s interior and which Gef lived behind and was able to investigate some of Gef’s other claims.  One of these related to a large property called Ballamoar about 20 miles away.  Gef had told the Irvings he had been there and shared details of it’s luxurious grounds and interior. None of the Irvings had  visited the place.  Fodor hired a car and along with Voirrey, James and Charles Morrison, they went to see Balamoar for themselves.  Gef had made thirty observations about the place – “a fireplace in the hall” “young trees with wire cages around them” and suchlike.  According to Fodor of these,  twenty  were totally correct, seven partially so and only three were wrong.  The most interesting was that Gef said he had seen lion themed decorations on a fireplace.  Mrs Ward the owner said this was wrong, there was no such fireplace. However, when Fodor asked to look for himself, he found that the lion motifs were indeed there. Mrs Ward had to admit that she had never looked at it properly before.   

Another place of interest which Fodor visited and photographed was Eary Cushlin, a farmhouse not too far from Doarlish Cashen where in 1912 a farmer had released Mongooses to control rabbits. The place had a spooky reputation. At the time of Fodor’s visit if was a gloomy ruin. It was a place that Gef seemed afraid off. He claimed that it was haunted and asked James, “would you like to go through at night-time?”.  

Eary Cushlin is now owned by Manx National Heritage. It has been totally refurbished and is a very nice holiday let. However, on a dark night and with the right people present it is possible that strange events may still occur.    

During his stay Fodor was able to interview other witnesses who had encounters with Gef but failed to see of hear him during his stay.  He went away disappointed but convinced of the fact that “There is no doubt that there is a great mystery…” 

In an interview with the Isle of Man Examiner in April 1937 Fodor insisted that he found no evidence of hoaxing in the case.  

Like everyone who takes the time to learn about Gef, Fodor was entranced by him. By his wit and his knowledge and his unique personality.  As he told the Examiner “If Gef is an animal, he is a splendid animal and I love him” 

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