A Banshee Wail of Death

Banshee: Wail of Death by Loren WeaverSo, you’ve probably heard of a banshee before. They wail at someone just before they die. But I bet there’s more that you didn’t know.

Fairy Woman

The word banshee comes from the Irish bean sidhe, which is a fairy. When she finds someone about to die, she wails for them. Or, in Irish, she keens. Someone that sees a banshee usually dies violently, and they’re usually from an important family. And they see either a really ugly hag or a beautiful woman in bloody clothes, depending on the legend and the person. Of course, if you got several banshees together, the person that was about to die was probably great or holy.

Origin of the Legend

The myth of the banshee has hovered over Ireland since at least the 8th century. Several theories as to its origins were proposed, one being a creepy barn owl that screeches when disturbed. Another is the death songs of the woman at a funeral and the subsequent drunken state of the men telling tales.

Cousins of the Bean Sidhe

Fairly legends are never straight forward. Some records have the banshee related to the leprechaun. Others have the bean sidhe related to theĀ Lianhan Sidhe who would win the love of mortal men and use it to destroy them. Whatever her heritage, the banshee is of fae origin and so belongs to that world.

Your Personal Wailer

If you want more info, there’s always the wikipedia page or this site about banshees. I think a banshee would be a fun addition to a fairy story, and already have a ton of ideas floating around.

What would be your idea for a banshee story?

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