It is still unknown who he really was - a guest from another, parallel world, a kind of poltergeist, or just an invention of a family of farmers to attract attention. One thing is for sure - a talking mongoose named Jeff has become one of the most amazing and famous mythical creatures. A mysterious animal with a human personality even served as a pretext for proceedings in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and hearings in the British Parliament.
Jeff's appearance began in 1931 on the Isle of Man at the Dorlish Cashen farm. In September, the Irving farm family (James Irving with his wife and their daughter Vara), who lived near the village of Dalby, encountered a strange rat-like creature in the attic of their house.
photo of Jeff's mongoose by Vara Irving
It quickly ran there, knocked and threw various objects aside. Then the intruder began babbling something like a baby. Needless to say, the British were shocked to the extreme by such a find. Over time, the animal, which turned out to be an Indian mongoose, stopped hiding and began to talk with the owners of the house in a thin human voice. The Irving believed that the astonishing roommate had learned English in a matter of weeks by eavesdropping on the family's conversations. Mongoose called himself Jeff and said that he was born in 1852 in Delhi, but was forced to flee by ship to Great Britain, hiding from the Indian authorities.
Jeff stated that he did not like the dwelling at all, and ordered people to expand and improve it. Otherwise, the mongoose threatened to destroy all poultry, and also hinted that a similar fate could threaten the owners. Frightened for their lives, the Irving declared war on the daring beast, trying to shoot, poison and trap him. Jeff, however, turned out to be very smart and did not suffer at all. Once he demonstrated to the tenants that he can easily light a match. The Irving were horrified, because they realized that, if they wanted, the mongoose could burn the whole house, but the animal did not.
The family quickly realized that Jeff only required attention to himself and would not harm people, since the Irving were the only friends, breadwinners and listeners of the mysterious creature. The warring parties quickly reconciled, and the mongoose built himself a semblance of a nest in the room of the daughter of the spouses Vara. The first reaction of the press At the beginning of 1932, a correspondent for the Manchester Daily Dispatch arrived at the scene, and the whole country learned about the mysterious guest of the Irving family. “Have I heard the talking animal? I do not know. But I know for sure that I heard a voice today, which, in my opinion, could in no way be human. I also know that people who claim that this is a talking animal are sensible, honest and responsible, clearly not inclined to hold lengthy and meaningless pranks, "the reporter wrote. Local newspapers were skeptical about this news. The journalist J. Radcliffe, who visited the farm, returned to the editorial office with the firm conviction that Jeff's "voice" actually belonged to Vara herself. Frustrated by such a press reaction, Irving personally invited Harry Price to come and investigate the phenomenon in a letter. Price at the time was busy investigating the Rudy Schneider phenomenon and dispatched his mate Dennis to the scene. In July 1935, he arrived in person, accompanied by Richard Lambert, editor-in-chief of The Listener, the BBC magazine.
Talking Mongoose Footprints
Immediately after Irving received a letter from Price and Lambert about the upcoming visit, Jeff fell silent, and during their visit was "absent", which greatly disappointed the researchers. Lambert and Price wrote:
Jeff found out about our visit in a month. Both the Irvings and we asked him to appear, but he persisted in his absence - to his own detriment. After all, if we told the world that we saw or heard this animal, it would go down in history as the most wonderful mongoose in history! Besides, he could have made the Irving a fortune. He missed a golden opportunity. Of course, the owners very much regretted that we had to leave the island without receiving the testimonies for which they came from afar. They said they had done everything in their power, and sincerely could not understand why Jeff had been hiding for almost five weeks.
Irvingi with a journalist
In his report, Price noted that the Irvinges, responding in detail to questions from guests, exactly repeated the facts set out in the original letter, supplementing them with details.
In his report, the researcher devoted considerable space to the description of James Irving's diary (more than two hundred typewritten pages), which, in terms of the number of incredible things described there, he compares with the fairy tales of "A Thousand and One Nights." The diary, like the reports themselves, is kept in the Harry Price archives at the Senate Library at the University of London.
The Irving left the farm in 1937. Farmer Leslie Graham, who settled here after them, claimed that in 1946 he shot a strange animal that looked a little like a squirrel, a ferret and a weasel. However, according to the description of the farmer, this animal was black and white in color and larger in size. Vara Irving, who by this time lived in the south-west of England, expressed confidence that it could not have been Jeff. Moreover, she claimed that the Talking Mongoose, some time before the owners left, began to communicate with them less and less, and then disappeared altogether, perhaps by going in search of a new home.
In 1970, an article about the "talking mongoose" appeared in the magazine Fate. Its author, Walter McGraw, who knew Nandor Fodor well, who communicated with Vara Irving, himself took the last interview. She confirmed everything Fodor wrote, as well as the fact that Jeff left the farm some time before the family left. According to Vara Irving, Jeff cost the family dearly: they had to part with the farm, which had a reputation for "bad", almost for nothing.
Jeff has done me a lot of harm. Everyone avoided us. The kids used to tease me with Spooky. < Because of him > we had to leave the Isle of Man, and I really hope that none of the people I work with now know about this story. Because of Jeff, I didn't even get married. How could I tell my husband's family about what happened to us?