Posted in Posts and podcasts

The Banshee – 1888

Irish Examiner 15th December, 1888 p5

The Burren and beyond Photo: EO'D
The Burren and beyond
Photo: EO’D

(abridged)
Once I saw a banshee. It was many years ago. During the summer months the twilight is very long and late one afternoon, when the sun had gone down, I happened to walk over to the farm of M.B. Well, as we stood and talked, my friend suddenly said;
“Mike, do you want to see a banshee?”
Of course I did and looked where he pointed. Sure enough, there in the lane, creeping along near the hedge, was a wee bit of a thing, no more than three feet high. It looked like a young girl, only its hair, which was long and yellow, fell down its back clear to the ground, and as it crept along it whimpered and moaned just like a child in pain. My friend looked very grave, saying;
“That’s a family banshee, and I’m afraid some of my relations are going to be sick.”
Pretty soon after a neighbour came riding up and told my friend to make haste as his mother had been taken very ill.
The next day I learned that the poor woman had died before her son reached her.
The banshees are queer things, and they never let anyone come near them. Another man I knew came across one sitting in a corn field, near the fence. When he suddenly appeared it ran out of sight among the corn, but it dropped its comb from its yellow hair and the man picked it up and put it in his pocket. That night the banshee came near the house and whined so piteously that the man dropped the comb out of the window. The banshee then left, and when a search was made the next morning it was found that the comb had disappeared too.