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Comes a curious little story from the Isle of Man. It’s about a family on a remote farm haunted by a ghost/poltergeist/magical animal. As is often the case with stories like these, it’s hard to see how the affected family had any reason to lie about it or got any advantage from it. But, of course, it’s even harder to see how it could be true.

On one occasion he said he was merely ‘an extra, extra clever little Mongoose’, but on another he said ‘I’ll split the atom! I am the fifth dimension! I am the eighth wonder of the world!’ But the first time he was asked this question, Gef replied ‘I am a ghost in the form of a weasel. I will haunt you.’

It departs from the usual poltergeist narrative in a number of ways. What it reminds me of most is the Bell Witch. No, not the movies, though I did enjoy this adaptation based on the story.

The Bell Witch was a poltergeist tale from early Nineteenth Century Tennessee. So, naturally, I grew up with a copy of the Red Book, the nickname of the classic description of the phenomenon, written in the late 19th C by a descendent.

It was, you will not be surprised to learn, a little book bound in red cloth. And because of when it was written, the prose was almost completely impenetrable to me. But I do remember the pictures. And the description of the little girl who playfully bent over and put her heels behind her head and the witch made her stick!

I love stories like these. I don’t believe a word of them, but that almost makes them more curious than if they were somehow true.


Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: February 22, 2021, 11:04 pm

I love this kind of story. It’s the first time I have heard of this weasel/mongoose/eighth wonder of the world, and I find I fascinating. I’m also going to buy a copy of ‘The Red Book’ as apparently winter has a ways to run yet and I will need reading material, even though our free trial of the Arctic Weather Home Delivery Service apparently HAS finally expired thank God.

My personal “Yeah , they sure tried hard to explain that one away is “The Search For Bridie Murphy”

I’ve probably read that book 3 or 4 times


Comment from durnedyankee
Time: February 23, 2021, 1:13 am

Here’s one for ya – as a kid we’d drive through Bucksport Maine on our way to East Machias where my mother grew up.

There was this legend of this stain on a marble monument which can be (or could be then, not sure now) seen from Old Route 1 as you go through Bucksport. The cemetery was right there on the landward side of the road and this monument was front and center in it. Some one of us would inevitably mumble “There’s the boot!”

So here’s that old legend for you.


We always heard it that the witch was burned, the son snatched the scorched leg off the pyre, and flung it at Colonel Buck, and since he dressed like the captain in the Ghost and Mrs. Muir (jacket and white turtle neck) the sooty leg stained his white turtleneck shirt, which same stained pattern was later to be seen on his monument over his grave. AND, that they kept replacing the monument, and it kept coming back!

Doesn’t say that here in officialdom, but it makes for a better tale, don’t you think?

Creeepppppyyyyyy! (Kinda like walking through a Maine woods without a road, alone, on a cloudy day, and that was BEFORE I started reading Steven King novels)

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: February 23, 2021, 1:25 am

Oh, and Bucksport has a wonderful old Post War of 1812, Pre Civil War granite fort guarding the channel/river/harbor.
Hot shot furnaces and so forth.

Quite sizeable – and named “Fort Knox”. If you’re ever up that way, check it out.


Built because these here English Fellas what burned Washington back there when we tried to conquer Canada occupied a good sized portion of Maine, and that weren’t gonna happen agin, no suh!

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: February 23, 2021, 1:51 am

Last one, I PROMISE!

Google maps –

The information age sometimes is really pretty cool.

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: February 23, 2021, 2:34 am

Temp comment so I can use the edit function to write a longer one

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: February 23, 2021, 2:44 am

Dammit. Second try. I wish the comment box worked on my phone!

I used to watch Ghost Hunters, the original one with Jason and Grant. Unlike most of the other people doing similar shows, they were not charlatans. I’m not saying they were right about ghosts, but I am saying they genuinely believed. The first couple of seasons were better, when they spent most of their time actually disproving hauntings. And when they ran into charlatans, they really disliked them, especially Jason.

I remember one episode where an older woman claimed, “Now, I am a medium. The spirits in this house are ANGRY. They put their hands around my throat and CHOKED me!” Grant, who was much more diplomatic, nodded sympathetically and said something like, “I can see how that would be very upsetting. We’ll investigate it for you.” Meanwhile, in the background, Jason had a contemptuous and skeptical expression – he was clearly thinking, “Yeah right, lady.”

Another one that stuck in my memory was when they went to investigate a haunted hotel, where the proprietor had told them people saw faces in the mirror, the chandeliers would shake, there was a lady in blue who appeared out on the bluff, etc. Jason and Grant investigated, including climbing up in the ceiling above the chandeliers, and discovered that the place was a funhouse – the rocking chandeliers were rigged to a timer, the mirror in the bathroom had a creepy face installed behind it that was visible when it was lit up, etc. So at the end, when they’re doing “the reveal” for the property owner, Grant explained how they’d found all this stuff and asked the guy why he didn’t tell them about it. He had some lame excuse that he forgot or something, and as he’s stammering away, Jason is glaring more and more fiercely and very obviously getting angrier and angrier, until the guy was practically shaking in his shoes and refusing to look at Jason. It was pretty hilarious.

Unfortunately, the show made it big, spawned a bunch of competitors, and wasn’t as good, especially once Jason and Grant moved on. Oh well.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 23, 2021, 7:46 pm

I remember Bridey Murphy! Though I think the account I read was rubbishing her story.

Don’t apologize, durned. I’m a sucker for maps.

Comment from blake
Time: February 25, 2021, 2:14 am

That’s a very special mongoose.

(Which will mean nothing to you, unless you’ve read “Lair of the White Worm” or listened to the “372 Pages” podcast on same.)

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