Day two of the Fortean Times UnConvention brought tales of “Sex and The Poltergeist” from Alan Murdie – by day a lawyer specialising in Intellectual Property legislation and Civil Liberties and by night a former chairman of the Ghost Club who now chairs the Spontaneous Cases Committee of the Society for Psychical Research – an interesting man, one of whose friends has the 4th largest collection of eye baths in private hands (which makes me wonder how many eye baths are in public collections). And he also knows of someone who is making a list of the registration numbers of bassoons.
Alan expounded on the true story of Gef The Talking Mongoose in the Isle of Man – also known as the Dalby Spook – an allegedly talking mongoose in the 1930s who also had the added advantage of psychic abilities… and he was also pretty good at catching rabbits too. The general consensus seems to have been that Gef was a Freudian projection from the mind of his owners’ 18 year old daughter… or possibly an imaginary talking penis as he was long, pink and had hair at one end. A story with a hint of Forbidden Planet about it: monsters from the Id with balls.
You don’t get this sort of stuff at most conventions and the Fortean Times UnConvention was suitably rounded-off by freelance art journalist Gail-Nina Anderson, who lectures on Pre-Raphaelite art. She gave a lively lecture on ‘The Vampire Rabbit’ of Newcastle – a bizarre carving on an early 20th century office block – about which no-one knows anything or, as she put it, “a myth waiting to happen”.
It has all the ingredients for a good myth – or, rather, it could have – it just needs someone to make up plausible – or even interestingly implausible – background stories.
Now… creating a myth… that would be something.