Happy St. Patrick’s day everyone or as it is said in Gaelic “Lá fhéile pádraig sona dhaoibh”. Now in the spirit of things haunted and spooky and in celebration of all things Irish on this day lets look at one of Ireland’s most famous and probably most famous legends the Banshee. The Banshee or Bean Sidhe as its said in Gaelic is probably the most notable Irish spirit that is associated with death, and the legends of the Banshee goes back for centuries and it can be documented back as early as the 8th century. She is more often than not confused as being a ghost but in fact she is a fairy or one of the sidhe (shee) which is Gaelic for fairy, and her cries or wails do not cause death instead it warns and signals when a death is or is about to occur.
The Banshee have been described as a young woman with long red hair and very pale skin with red eyes caused by her cries to descriptions of her being an old woman with gray stringy hair also with fire red eyes. She is also said to appear as a woman who died in childbirth and she is also said to be seen to be wearing the clothes of the person who is about to die. She is also said to be seen as a washer woman cleaning blood soaked clothes on the shores of rivers. It is said that when a Banshee becomes aware of a humans presence she often will disappear into a mist which is than accompanied by the sound of flapping wings. Another notable feature of the Banshee is she is often seen seen with a silver comb which she uses to groom her hair and if you happened to find one on the ground you best leave it where it lies for if you were to take it….well lets just say the consequences would be tragic.
The most notable feature of the Banshee is her cry or caoine which translates into keening and this is a common practice in Celtic cultures were laments and songs would be sung during and after funerals. There are several variations of what the Banshee sounds like some say its like a soft song while others say its more like a wail or scream and some even say it shrieks like an owl. Traditionally her keening was heard before the death of one of Ireland’s major families or clans. And it is believed that these families had their own Banshee and that when these families migrated the Banshee followed them and continued to fore warn of death. The Banshee has been seen and heard by many people in Ireland and Scotland alike it is said that in 1437 King James I was approached by an Irish seer who fore told of his upcoming death and it was believed the seer was a banshee. The Banshee have even been reported in countries like the United States in places like North Carolina and in South Dakota as Irish people have migrated to other countries. So my friends may the “Luck of the Irish” be with you today and beware any screams in the night feel free to share this article and dont forget to click like and subscribe, and remember to stay spooky and let them know why they fear the dark.