The Banshee is a creature from Irish mythology who is considered to be an omen of death. According to legend, the banshee was a female spirit who was a messenger from the underworld. Whenever someone—especially a child—was about to die the banshee would come to their house on the night before their death and wail.
There are some variations of the banshee tale. For instance, some stories claim that the banshee is attracted to specific families while other tales claim that she will appear to anyone who is about to die. Similarly, some stories say that the banshee will only appear to people who are about to die in a violent way (such as being murdered) while other, more common, stories say that she will come for anyone, even those who die completely natural deaths. The banshee is sometimes said to arrive in a black stage coach driven by a male spirit. Yet most stories say that she comes to the dying person alone.
The banshee can appear as either an ugly old hag or a beautiful young woman. Although she is a feared figure solely because she is associated with death, many legends claim that the banshee is not actually evil but merely an angel of death who is helping people cross the border from one world to the next.
Today, most historians believe that the legend of the banshee was probably started from the sound of wind wailing outside of people’s houses late at night. In the days when Ireland was a poor country (with few options for adequate medical care) it was not unusual for people to sicken and die in the cold weather…the precise kind of weather that comes with high winds that literally sound like a woman screaming.
Below are five facts about things that are associated with the legend of the banshee.