The Myth of the Banshee

banshee 1Imagine this: you are walking by the ruins of an abandoned castle in Ireland or Scotland in the middle of the night.  The moon is high above you, and there is no one else around except for you. And then you hear a scream. You have just had an unfortunate encounter with a banshee.

The banshee — Irish: Bean Sidhe; Scots Gaelic: Ban Sith — originally meant a woman of the fairies.  She was a woman who had supernatural abilities, according to myth. She would release a loud, wailing scream that was believed to predict the death of a family member of the person who has heard it.  But where did the banshee come from?

banshee 3.jpgThere are several stories that point to the origins of a banshee.  One story is that she was a murdered young woman, another that she was a mother who died in childbirth.  The way she is described varies from an old woman in black with long, grey hair and a veil to the image of a headless woman, naked from the waist up, carrying a bowl filled with blood.  Though her image tends to shift from region to region, she remains a harbinger of death to those that witness her and hear her wailing scream.

Whether she is a young woman or a headless, naked figure, one thing stays consistent in the stories.  Of course, I am referring to her howls of premonition. One thing is for certain: if you hear her cries do not panic.  Just be prepared for the worst.

 

For more reading on the banshee (sources):

https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/wailing-out-lament-filled-legends-and-origins-irish-banshees-007244

https://www.britannica.com/topic/banshee

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