What is a Banshee?

What is a Banshee?Examining the spooky myth of mysterious, wailing women...

Known for wailing, the eerie sound of a banshee is believed to be a female spirit, perhaps, crying in grief or foretelling of an impending death of someone.

A banshee, in some folklore, when heard, is said to be a bad omen, a sign of impending doom -- definitely not something or someone you want to bump into anytime soon.

Legends of the banshee seem to have originated in Ireland, rooted in the custom of “keening,” where it was common for women called “keeners” to cry and sing at funerals for the dead – an Irish custom. A “bean shee” was known as a “woman of the faeries,” the very best of the keeners who would sing for the dead. The bean shee eventually evolved into the folk tale of the “banshee” we know, today.

In lore, the “banshee” is often said to be seen before a tragic death or, at least, heard wailing in advance of a soul about to die. In this sense, beliefs in banshees may be associated with legends of the grim reaper or even ghosts and spirits that are seen before one’s passing. Banshees are sometimes viewed as being a messenger of death from the underworld, a ghoul, or even an old hag.

The spirit-like depictions of the banshee equate them with ghosts. And the legend that banshees are the ghosts of past keeners adds an interesting spin to their tale.

Are banshees real or just lore? It is possible that both non-paranormal and actual paranormal happenings are misidentified and labeled as acts of a banshee. The power of a ghost story passed downt through generations and supported by a unexplained experience just may keep legends, like these, alive and well.