If you have an hour and a quarter to spare, like a slow burn scare and would rather do without the context, then scroll down and hit the play button. Otherwise, screenwriter Tony Grisoni blurbs his collaboration with Brian Catling like this:
'1932. Cashen Gap, Isle of Man. An ugly little house overlooking the Irish Sea. The Irving family – father, mother, Voirrez – the remaining daughter, 13 years old. A presence moves into the walls of the house. Learns to speak by listening and imitating. Calls himself Gef. Gef was a mongoose with yellow human hands and feet. He stayed with the Irving’s for some six years by which time he had embedded himself deep within the family structure, each member defining themselves through him. Gef’s relationships were complex and often sexually charged. Mr Irving claimed to be his teacher, and as Gef himself is reported to have said, “Ma feeds me and I look out for Voirrez."'
It was a quite the national sensation. At the time of Catling and Grisoni's collaboration in 1999 Voirrez Irving was still alive, although she and her late mother had moved from the house in 1945 following the death of James Irving. In the course of their research, Catling and Grisoni managed to track Voirrez down (then 78 years old), who passed away herself in 2005.
Catling had this to say about the installation '...a work for three talking heads; mother, father and daughter, each telling their version of the 6 year haunting. We worked long and hard on the script and getting the actors to inhabit the ghosts of the Irving family...'
Reportedly 'Scarier than Blair Witch,' by Jonathan Romney in The Guardian, Vanished! A Video Séance is funded by the Arts Council of England and, by Grisoni's own admission, rescued him from a very low point in his life.
Almost 18 years after the project Fortean Times contributor Christopher Josiffe has written Gef! The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose. It is published by Strange Attractor Press, and won the Katherine Briggs Folklore Award for the year. Brian Catling provides the book's introduction.
Medium: Video Installation; found here
Writers and Directors: Brian Catling & Tony Grisoni
Actors: Julian Curry, Rosemary McHale, Victoria Seifert
Site: South London Gallery & multiple venues