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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Banshee


Banshee: (paranormal) A Scottish or Irish spirit; its scream or wail indicates an impending death.Donald Michael Kraig

Banshee: (myth) (from Celtic bean, woman, and sidhe, fairie) A fairy who is attached to certain old family lines, she wails before a death in the family. If seen, she may be clapping her hands. It is believed that the keening (caoine) performed by people at some Irish funerals may be an imitation of the wail of the banshee. Another traditional visual that would accompany the banshee is the “coach-a-bower” (coiste-bodhar). Drawn by headless horses, this is a large black coach with a coffin on it. If you open your door when it comes up, a basin of blood will be thrown in your face. This may be related to the times of the great plagues when carts would carry the dead away and it would make sense to keep your doors closed.

Also See: banshe


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