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Cry of the Banshee – 1887

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JAMESTOWN WEEKLY ALERT, APRIL 21, 1887, P1
THE CRY OF THE BANSHEE

There is now living in Bristol ad Mrs Linahan, an old Irish woman, who has not seen her own country for forty years. She is old, poor, bed ridden and suffering, but patient and cheerful beyond belief.
Her strongest feeling is love for Ireland, and she likes talking to me because I am Irish. Many a time, sitting in her little close room, above the noisy street, she has told me about banshees and phookas and fairies, especially the first. She declares solemnly she once heard the cry, or caoin of a banshee.
“It was when I was a little young child,” she told me,
“And knew nothing at all of banshees or of death. One day mother sent me to see after my grandmother, the length of three miles from our house. All the road was deep in snow, and I went on my lone – and didn’t know the grandmother was dead, and my aunt gone to the village for help. So I got to the house, and I see her lying so still and quiet I thought she was sleepin’. When I called her and she wouldn’t stir or speak, I thought I’d put snow on her face to wake her. I just stepped outside to get a handful, and came in, leaving the door open, and then I heard a far away cry, so faint and yet so fearsome that I shook like a leaf in the wind. It got nearer and nearer, and then I heard a sound like clapping or wringing of hands, as they do in kneeling at a funeral. Twice it came and then I slid down to the ground and crept under the bed where my grandmother lay, and there I heard it for the third time crying, “Ochone, Ochone,” at the very door. Then it suddenly stopped; I couldn’t tell where it went, and I dared not lift up my head till the woman came in the house.
One of them took me up and said: “It was the banshee the child heard, for the woman that lies there was one of the real old Irish families – she was an O’Grady

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