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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.

February 22, 2021 — 8:23 pm
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