Sunday 27th, June 2021
In Irish as well as other Celtic folklore the Banshee is a supernatural being with a mournful 'caoine'/'keening', wailing, screaming or lamentation. Usually occurring at night it is believed the person hearing the bone chilling wailing is being foretold that the death of a close member of their family will occur. The name is connected to the mythologically important tumili or "mounds" that dot the Irish countryside.

The origins of the Banshee are said to be from the 8th century where a tradition of a woman singing a sorrowful song to lament the passing of someone. The women that sang these songs were known as 'keeners', it's said that because these women accepted payment in alcohol that they were sinners and destined to become a Banshee.

Despite a widely held belief, witnessing a Banshee will not cause you to die and a Banshee's sole purpose is only to warn of death and not actually cause it.

Banshee's have been reported over the years to take many forms, a beautiful woman wearing a shroud; a pale woman in a white dress with long red hair; a woman with a long silver dress and silver hair; a headless woman carrying a bowl of blood that is naked from the waist up; an old woman with frightening red eyes, a green dress and long white hair or even an old woman with a veil covering her face, dressed all in black with long grey hair.

There are other origin stories of the Banshee, one of them being that she is a young girl that suffered a brutal death and her spirit remains to warn family members that death is forthcoming.

Some people hold the belief that there are good and bad Banshees, on one side we have the belief that good Banshees appear as a beautiful enchanting woman that sings a sorrowful, haunting song that is filled with concern and love for their family. This song is said to be heard a few days before the death of a family member and is said to only be heard by the person it was intended for.

Then we have the flipside, which is that a bad Banshee had reason to hate their family and appears as to scare and frighten their family, the howls of this Banshee are bone chilling and this Banshee appears to celebrate the pending demise of a family member they hated.

Banshee is also known as, Irish Bean Sidhe and in Scots Gaelic, Ban Sith, ("woman of the fairies").
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