April 2, 2013
Blogging From A to Z April Challenge Day Two: B is for Banshee
Day two of the challenge and we have moved to B which stands for banshee.
Have you ever wondered why banshees all seem to be women? In Irish lore, banshees literally are just female spirits that are usually considered a bad omen. If you see a banshee it is supposed to mean you or someone close to you will soon die if the banshee is wailing, which is supposed to be a chilling sound. Banshees are often portrayed as hideous-looking old women dressed in rags.
Some tales of banshees actually claim they are beautiful fairies. While they can indicate impending death, banshees can also bring important messages from the Otherworld or the world of the dead in Celtic lore. This portrayal of banshees paints them to be more like intermediaries between the living and the dead, maybe even a medium to facilitate seance-like communications.
Banshees don't appear just in Irish lore. They are called bean-nighe in Scottish lore. They also appear in Welsh, Norse and even modern American mythology. Some folklorists think that owl calls in the night have been mistaken for a banshee wailing, accounting for some of the reported encounters.