Why in Ireland, if you heard the singing of a Banshee creature, nothing will save you

(ORDO NEWS) — This is one of the amazing mythical entities. According to popular belief, when she appears, she warns people that death will come to this house / family / village. The monster declares itself by emitting a howl and crying at the same time.

The entity has different names in different parts of Ireland. Often used – bean sídhe; bean – a woman, and sídhe – Shi, which translates as “a woman from among the Shi” – who came from another world. In counties Limerick, Tipperary and Mayo, their name is “an bean chaointe”. It translates as “weeper”.

Banshee – who is it?

The banshee is a creature from the legends of the Irish, described as a lady appearing near the house of a man who is about to die. Her presence is indicated by characteristic sobs. This name in translation means “a woman from the Sids” – a different world, although in some lands of Ireland this spirit is called differently: boshent, bayb and bau.

Several versions are put forward about the essence of the banshee:

  1. Fairy. Such a description is found in the literature of Ireland in the 19th century.
  2. Ghost. The spirit of a mourner who, during her lifetime, performed her duties poorly.
  3. The patroness of the family.
  4. A washerwoman who is always washing the bloody clothes of the dead.
  5. Demon from the afterlife.

The descriptions of the banshee in the legends are different, the only common feature is screaming and crying, from which, supposedly, glass can even burst.

This spirit is found in the image:

  • a beautiful woman with long, golden curls, in a light cloak or dress;
  • an old woman with gray or purple hair, dressed in a gray cloak or shroud;
  • hare, weasel or crow.

Banshee is a legend

The history of the banshee tells: the tribes of the goddess Danu were called her ancestors. When she lost in the battle of the gods, these people settled in the hills, they began to be called sids. And some decided to find a dwelling at the top and began to nail to the houses of ancient families. There are several legends about daredevils who were able to stay alive after such a meeting:

  1. A man in the dark saw a banshee in the form of an old woman and decided to mock the beggar woman. In retaliation, she left a mark of her fingers on his hand.
  2. The Irishman caught the washerwoman at work and ordered him to wash his shirt, for which she almost strangled the impudent man with her collar.
  3. The poor farmer met the banshee late in the evening and took the comb from her. Then she came for the selected and ordered to return.

Banshee abilities

Banshee is a mystical creature with unusual abilities:

  1. Scream. Heard only by those to whom the banshee came to, this scream is so terrible that the person’s ears and nose begin to bleed. According to one of the legends, the banshee is a spirit that leads to suicide, the victim begins to beat his head against the wall to stop the agonizing scream, and breaks his head. Other legends mention that the moaning is supposedly reminiscent of the howl of a dog or a wolf and the cry of a child at the same time, and testify to the imminent death of family members.
  2. The ability to hide. Spirits have the gift of being invisible, thanks to black clothes or fog.
  3. Invulnerability. Only knives or bullets made of gold can destroy a banshee, with a spell it is really only possible to stop the spirit for a while.
  4. The ability to fly and hover above the ground.
  5. The ability to move things with the power of the mind.

How did the banshee die?

There are 2 legends about how the banshee looked before death:

  1. A young Banshee girl from a noble family who ventured into a secret magical passage and lost her mind. After that, she mutilated her face with a knife and asked the sky to curse her own soul. Higher powers complied with her request and turned her into an eternal dead, a spirit that announces death by crying.
  2. A little girl left in the woods by her parents to die. The baby turned into a spirit crying for her family. In retaliation, she destroyed the souls of not only her relatives, but also her fellow villagers. And then she began to wander around the world.

It’s not the looks that scare me, it’s the voice

A meeting with a banshee was often considered a sign of future misfortune. Often these spirits were associated with messengers from death itself, but banshees were extremely rare threats to humans. Some of the oldest Irish legends about the banshee reveal the plight of this creature.

According to them, once the banshee was an ordinary woman. Due to an accident (in other sources – suicide due to unrequited love), her body was never buried in accordance with all the rules. After death, the soul turned into a banshee that could not find peace.

Every night she wanders the woods as a lonely ghost and mourns her bitter fate. The voice of the banshee (more precisely, her cry) is terrible, and not every person can withstand it.

The Irish said that the wailing and howling of a banshee resembled either a dog’s howl or the cry of a child. The one who happened to hear him felt everything growing cold inside, and sometimes blood was flowing from the ears and nose of a person.

There is something in common between the howl of a banshee and the singing of sweet-voiced sirens, about which the ancient Greeks composed myths. Despite the difference in sound, these sounds foreshadowed trouble and death to those who heard them.

In addition to their ability to intimidate with mere crying, banshees had other talents. For example, some stories about them tell that fog was a faithful companion of the spirits. In it, they could hide from human eyes, which made them almost invisible. That is why the Irish did not risk going into the forest on foggy days.

If a meeting with a banshee turned into a confrontation, bullets or knives made of pure gold became the only hope, but not everyone could afford such a luxury.

Creepy “fairy” of the Irish forests

In a variety of Irish families, and even among their neighbors, the Scots, the banshee could take on a variety of incarnations. How many legends – so many variants of the banshee. The mythical witch, who is a harbinger of death or serious disasters, was represented in completely different ways, which makes it almost impossible to draw up even an average portrait.

In some stories, she is described as a beautiful young girl with loose braids, in others she appears before us as a decrepit old woman with a sparkling evil look. Sometimes banshees are even compared to fairies, but Irish legends make it clear that fairies love the company of their own kind. Banshee is the eternal loner.

The banshee’s favorite outfit is a shroud or white dress, in which she appears before a traveler who lingered until late in the forest or near the hills.

What did a meeting with a banshee threaten a person with? The Irish believed that this witch (or spirit) herself was not so terrible in nature. The most dangerous thing was to make a mistake and not recognize the immortal creature, mistaking him for a simple mortal woman.

So, for example, one of the legends tells how an Irishman met a banshee by the river. Deciding that this was an ordinary washerwoman, he demanded that she wash his shirt. What do you think, could she like such communication? As a result, the man with difficulty took his legs away from the cursed place, where the banshee almost strangled him with the sleeve of his own shirt.

“Massacre” with a thief

However, there are other legends about these spirits. If the banshee is in a good mood, then she can forgive even the most daring trick. Once a traveler who met a witch at dusk took away from her a valuable old comb that she carried with her.

An angry banshee soon found the insolent man’s house and… To be honest, I’ve already seen the scene of reprisal in the finale of the legend, but it all happened quite unexpectedly.

Banshee simply bombarded the thief with accusations and ordered the comb to be returned, explaining who he was dealing with. Of course, after such communication, the impudent owner of the house gave up and returned what was taken away. The thief himself was not hurt at all.

The origin of the image of the banshee

Banshees, according to Irish folklore experts, have no direct analogues in the beliefs of other peoples. However, in Breton folklore there is something similar to the banshee – the herald of death Anku, and similar characters are also found in Welsh mythology. This suggests that the image of the banshee goes back to ancient Celtic mythology. Patricia Lysaght, professor at the University of Dublin, who has devoted more than 20 years to studying the image of the banshee in folklore, notes that the bearers of traditions practically do not think about the origin of the banshee, but take it for granted. However, she managed to formulate the following ideas about the origin of the banshee:

Fairy It is widely believed that the banshee is something like a fairy (fairy), such an explanation is found in some literary works of the 19th and early 20th centuries. However, in real folk tales about the banshee, such an identification is very rare. In Irish folk tradition, fairies are social creatures, live in communities and lead a life similar to that of a human. Whereas the banshee announcing the death is a lonely creature and all her relationships with human beings are determined by her connection with death. her characteristic features. Some Irish believe that if the mourner did not perform her duties properly, then even after death she continues to mourn the dying.

The patroness of the family

One of the central aspects of the legends and legends about the banshee is the idea that the banshee is the patron spirit of the family that she notifies of death, that is, there is a hereditary connection between them, it can also be the progenitor of the family. According to legend, there are banshees not all Irish people. In oral and literary sources, families in which the banshee heralds death are designated as families with “O'” and “Mack”, that is, it is believed that the banshee accompanies true Irish families. However, the list of surnames of such families is much wider, as it also includes families descended from the Vikings and Anglo-Normans, that is, families who settled in Ireland before the 17th century.

Banshee Form

Ideas about their appearance are very different. Someone claims that Banshees are young beautiful black-haired girls, and someone says that they are clumsy gray-haired old women. But in any case, they play only the role of mournful mourners.

Banshees do not bring grief, they only predict it.

It is believed that each person has his own Banshee. And it is she who will cry about his death and grieve at his funeral.
Banshees never come to the house of a doomed campaign. The banshee always comes alone and only to her man. She is like a guardian angel, only in the opposite sense.

A distinctive feature of the Banshee is their very long (down to the ground) hair, gray shroud and wide thin cloaks with a hood. When the Banshee cries, she puts a hood over her head.

Characters Raised as Banshees: The Scottish Analogy of Bunny and Baavan Shi

There are several Banshee prototypes in the British Isles. Who are these characters and how they differ from the prototype, we will be told by Scottish mythology. It is from there that we know the image of Baavan Shi. Unlike the protector of the Banshee family, this faerie is malevolent, she feeds on the blood of men. You can protect yourself from them with the help of iron. With their beautiful appearance, faeries lure men into their lair and drink them dry. A distinctive feature of Baavan Shi is beautiful long golden hair and a green festive dress, under which deer hooves are hidden.

In turn, Bunny is the opposite of the evil Baavan Shi. This is a little washerwoman by the river, washing the bloody clothes of people who are destined for imminent death. Bunnies are women who died in childbirth, they will leave this world only when their real hour of death strikes.

There is a belief among the peoples of the Highlands of Scotland that if Bunny sneaks up unnoticed and stands between her and the water, she will answer any three questions. Nevertheless, in return, she will also demand the same, and she needs to answer with the utmost truth.

Characteristics of the image of the Banshee: myths and legends of the peoples of the world

The Banshee is one of the varieties of fairies, an element of Irish and Scottish folklore. In a literary translation, this is a “magic woman”, while the literal translation of her authentic name is bean sí or bean sídhe, which means “woman of the hills”. The appearance of the Banshee is not exactly defined: she comes to some in the form of a sad pale girl with eyes red from tears or a dead maiden from the family, and to others she appears in the form of a frightening old woman with protruding teeth and deathly pale skin in spots.

The only thing that unites all interpretations of this image is her long hair. Most often, her hair has a silvery, gray color, but there are several legends, around the 15th century, where she shows people crimson-bloody hair. Banshee is found in legends in different clothes, this is a gray cloak over a green dress, and a white dress glowing in the dark, and even a shroud.

Banshee – the guardian of the family and the harbinger of death

Irish mythology considers guardianship over ancient families to be the main functional purpose of the Banshee. She foresees the imminent death of one of the members of the family and foreshadows it to his relatives with a loud cry. Some American legends of the 18th century say that glass bursts from her heartbreaking scream. It is not clear in the image of Banshee who is capable of making such sounds at all, because her moans do not belong to any language, it is rather a synthesis of dog barking, inarticulate speech, cries of wild ducks, wolf howls and desperate moans of an abandoned child.

When in the legends one of the people sees the Banshee, this means the near death of him or his friend.

For example, there is a legend about how a farmer met a long-haired old woman in a white dress by the river, when he greeted her, he saw how pale she was. The man became terrified, and when he decided to get out, the old woman turned to him and stood up to her full height, towering 4 meters above him. The farmer had already managed to say goodbye to life, as the woman simply stepped into the water and disappeared. The next day, the farmer learned that his neighbor had died.

In modern world

Currently, banshees often began to appear on the pages of books, comics, films and computer games, but they are not presented there as caring spirits whose task is to warn a person, but as evil creatures whose goal is to kill.

An incredible monster is represented by a banshee in the 1970 film “Cry of the Banshee”, which was called by an evil witch to destroy a hated family of witch fighters.

In 2006, the mythical creature appeared in the movie Banshee. Music of Death”, and in 2011 the American horror film “Howl of the Banshee” was filmed.

She has also appeared in the pages of the Silver Banshee Marvel comics, in cartoons such as Ghostbusters, and in the TV series Supernatural. In all stories, she is a representative of evil.

Over the years, the image of the banshee has changed beyond recognition. A ghost, or an elf, a beautiful woman or a terrible old woman, she was and remains that mythical creature about which very little is known, and modern trends in cinema will soon lead to the fact that the image of a caring harbinger will be forever crossed out by the image of a killer monster.

Banshee maddening or tearing to shreds

Other stories of Irish mythology concerning the Banshee say that she is the ghost of a young girl who suffered a brutal death, and her spirit still warns family members that a violent death is inevitable. The ghost is said to look like an old woman with rotten teeth and long nails. She is dressed in rags and has blood-red eyes that are so filled with hatred that a direct look into them will cause immediate death! This Banshee’s mouth is always open, and her piercing scream torments the souls of the living.

According to some stories, there are evil Banshees who take pleasure in killing. They actively seek out their victims and begin to haunt them with their scream until the person commits suicide or goes insane. There are even Banshees who can tear people to shreds, and these terrible ghosts are exactly the character that is characteristic of modern horror films.

The Man Who Met the Banshee

“My uncle told me this story when I was just a child. He was walking home on a cold and windy night. Upon arriving home, my uncle told my grandmother that he was trying to console an old woman whom he met right outside our house. Describing her, he said: “The old woman was dressed in a black dress with a veil over her face, crying and crying near the house. Every time my uncle approached her, she retreated, but she kept pointing at our house all the time.

My grandmother was well versed in the old Irish legends. She immediately understood what this old woman was like, and hurried to put my uncle to bed, assuring him that she herself would look for the old woman. Needless to say, she didn’t dare to do such a thing. Just three days after this strange encounter, my grandmother’s brother died peacefully in his sleep. It turns out that on that day my uncle tried to invite Benshi herself for tea!


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