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The Banshee of Ireland

Updated on July 10, 2013
A Banshees cry.
A Banshees cry. | Source

Of all the Irish stories about ghosts, leprechauns, and fairies, non is as unique, infamous, and terrifying as the legend of the banshee( also known as the "Bohēēntha" or "Bankēēntha"). She is known to be the “Irish Angel of Death.” I would also say that she is the female version of death. According to the legend, the banshee is an ancestral spirit and gives a loud cry when someone in a family is about to die. Seeing how her mouth is permanently open, that would make sense. She is a spirit with a lengthy and mysterious past. Unfortunately for the banshee, when she was alive, she suffered a brutal death. She died so horribly, that her spirit remains earthbound. The banshee roams around the world watching over her family and loved ones warning them when a brutal death is about to happen. Particularly any family name starting with O or Mc, like O’Connor or Mckenzie for example.

The Banshee’s appearance is either as a young beautiful woman with a silver comb or as an older woman with red eyes due to crying. Legend has it that her eyes are filled with so much hatred and sorrow that people who encountered the Banshee have literally died from just looking at her eyes. It is said that there are two types of banshees. One friendly and one unfriendly. I think it’s obvious who’s friendly and who isn’t. Many of these appearances vary though in different stories. Some say she carries a golden comb and she dresses in green, red, or black with a grey cloak. The purpose of the comb relates back to traditional Irish story that if you ever spot a comb that’s lying on the ground, you’re forbidden from picking it up, as this acts as a sort of bate for the banshee to get you unexpectedly. If you touch the comb, there will be serious consequences. Being a guy, I don’t see how a comb on the floor would get my attention. Then again, it must be the most amazing comb in the world since it either comes in silver or gold.

As seen on the Syfy show, Destination Truth, the hotspot for the banshee is said to be at Duckett’s Grove Castle. Apparently, the banshee is a woman who had an affair with a man named William Duckett. She had gotten killed while riding her horse. After she died, the mother had put a curse on William Duckett called the widow’s curse and the banshee was born. People have seen and heard wailing on the property. Witnesses say that she screamed for two straight days in one of the towers of the castle.

Apparently, after this had happened, a woman mysteriously died when she was walking on a path near the castle. A man had seen and heard the banshee in the walled garden of the castle. A day later, his mother died. Another bizarre thing happened when a man was riding his horse near the castle. As he was riding, the horse came to a complete stop, looking at the gate of the castle. Obviously, the horse’s instinct sensed that something was very wrong. The man then placed his rosary on the horse. After he had done that, the horse felt safe and was able to move on.

The story of the banshee is definitely terrifying. The fact that she heralds someone’s death (hopefully not yours or mine) is what makes it scary. Is the banshee really some sort of evil figure though? I’ve heard stories like this before where some kind of unexplained ghost or creature appears, and it follows up with some kind of bad event. The Mothman and Demon Cat are an example of this. The Mothman appears before some kind of horrific event and the Demon Cat appears before a national tragedy or when a new president comes into office. Perhaps the Banshee is another apparition giving some kind of a warning sign. Now some people have literally died when allegedly coming across the banshee face to face, but my guess would be that it was their time.

I’ve read up on this before, and have come across a story of someone dying because of the banshee. She was 106 years old though, so my feeling is that it was time for the woman to move on to the afterlife. However though, a man by the name of Mr. Elliot O’Donnel wrote an article on banshees saying "The Banshee never manifests itself to the person whose death it is prognosticating. Other people may see or hear it, but the fated one never, so that when everyone present is aware of it but one, the fate of that one may be regarded as pretty well certain."

So if you’re deciding to take a trip to Duckett’s Grove Castle, beware of the banshee. If you’re in Ireland and you see a comb laying on the ground, avoid it at all costs. The banshee may be waiting for you.


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    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

      The Banshee is actually believed to be attached to some of the oldest Irish noble families...5 in particular, though I can't remember the last names at this point in time. She is said to be an ancient guardian of the families, and is supposed to warn the family when one of their own is dying or going to die. I have always seen her as more of a type of the fay than a ghost or phantom...though she does appear to be quite frightening to some who have seen her. The original spelling was bean-sidhe (as she was one of the Sidhe, or people from the hills). Great article! Blessings to you.

    • jolinabetts profile image

      Sunshine Diaz 5 years ago from Wichita, Kansas

      Very interesting Hub, i really enjoyed this one, my question is that, is there a way to defeat the Banshee? Thanks for sharing this hub, i also freaked out with the demon cat, we have demon dogs also in the Philippines.

    • profile image

      MakJoSi 5 years ago

      Wow, something new to me again, freaky image too, nice vibe!

    • maryhoneybee profile image

      maryhoneybee 5 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

      I think the first time I ever heard of the banshee was when I saw an episode of So Weird on the subject. Being a kid, it freaked me out. Now, several years later, I'm still freaked out. Off now to do a search on this Demon Cat. Why haven't I heard of this before?

    • profile image

      ciera 5 years ago

      What exactly is "the widow's curse"?

    • profile image

      SuperWhoLock 5 years ago

      Does anyone now the mythology behind the silver comb? Why does the Banshee carry one? And why is it bad luck to pick it up?

    • manofmystery24 profile image

      manofmystery24 5 years ago

      You're very welcome!

    • profile image

      arial 5 years ago

      i enjoyed the story it was so useful

      thank you