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.   


randi lee said...

Great post--I never knew banshees were considered to be beautiful by some!

Steven said...

Randi, there's quite a bit about banshees I don't think is commonly known. They don't just go around screaming at people.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I wonder if the cry of a mountain lion has been attributed to a banshee?

Teresa Coltrin said...

So, I never want to hear a banshee cry? Done.

excellent post.

Steven said...

Alex, I've read that animal noises are thought to have contributed to the legends of banshees, including owls since many are nocturnal.

Teresa, good idea!

Lexie C. said...

I've always been interested in Banshees- cool post :)

Steven said...

Lexie, banshees fascinate me as well. Glad you enjoyed!

Damyanti said...

Thanks for all that cool info-- if they were known across cultures, maybe they were real?

Damyanti @Daily(w)rite
Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2013

Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Steven said...

Damyanti, thank you for co-hosting the event! There are many paranormal phenomena that have been cross-cultural and many theories to explain why, but yes it does lead one to question if there is some truth to them.