If you are unfortunate enough to hear the cry of this female spirit, your demise has been etched in fate. Yes, I’m referring to the Banshee and the legends that surround the paranormal entity.
The Banshee is a female spirit from Irish folklore who makes herself known by her cries, wails, or shrieks. These distressing sounds are known to signal the death of a loved one or the death of the individual who heard her. If multiple banshees are spotted at once, it may indicate the death of someone of great or holy importance.
Accounts of the banshee date all the way back to 1380, a source being the publication of Cathreim Thoirdhealbhaigh by Sean mac Craith. References to the banshee could also be found in Norman writings in that time.
Her name is said to be associated with the mythologically important burial mounds that are apart of the Irish countryside, for they are also known as tumuli, said to sit above graves or burial sites.
As far as physical descriptions of the banshee, there are many. Some say she has long hair and wears a cloak around a green dress and her eyes are red from constant crying and shrieking. Or, she may wear a white dress and have red locks, according to Ann Fanshawe (famous memoirist and author) in her memoirs as she claimed to have witnessed the sight of the banshee for herself. Her size is another varying factor of her appearance, for some report her as having an unnaturally tall height, while the majority of others say she is quite short, standing anywhere from one to four feet. Her shortness also goes along with her appearance being that of an old, fragile woman, emphasizing the myth of being a fairy-like creature. Sometimes, the banshee may also be spotted as a young virgin who sings sweetly but has been given the mission to warn of impending doom to her kindred. Or, as stated before, she may be seen as a old woman, shrouded under a tree in the dead of night or flying past the brightly-lit moon.
In areas of Leinster (Ireland), she is known as the bean chaointe, meaning the keening woman, whose wail is so piercing it can shatter glass. In Scottish folklore, a similar creature is called the bean nighe, meaning little washerwoman and is spotted washing bloodstained clothing or armor of those who are about to die. A being known as the cyhyraeth is apart of Welsh folklore and it embodies the same moaning or crying as the Irish banshee as it also warns of a person’s death.
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