See also: Banshee (homonymy)
Its howls (called keening ) would announce a nearest death.
EtymologyBanshee is the term English derived from Gaelic Bean If (Ireland) or Bean Sith (Scotland) meaning “woman of Sidhe” (the Sidhe indicates a hillock, a hill, places generally famous to be the residence of the Fée S). Thus one finds also name Bean Sidhe . There exist other names according to the countries, then according to the areas where these creatures are found:
- England: Banshee
- Ireland: Bean If , Bean Chaointe , Badhbh
- Scotland: Bean Nighe (the washerwoman of the ford), Bean Sith , Caointeach (the whining one).
- Brittany: Kannerezed-noz (lavender fields of the night).
- Wales: Cyhyraeth , Gwrach there Rhibyn
AppearancesThe Banshee can cover several appearances. One meets it in the shape of a beautiful young girl to the face devoured by the tears or contrary to a hideous old woman with long and thin hair, vêtue of a green dress and a gray coat.
It appears also sometimes in the form of a crow, a Rouge-gorge or a Roitelet.
CryThe cry of Banshee is most horrible which can think. It holds at the same time of the howl of the wolf, of the calls of the abandoned child, the complaints of the woman who is confined, and the cries of wild goose. Those which heard it affirm that this cry would awake no matter whom sleeping of a deep sleep, and that there would remain audible in the middle of a violent storm.
When Banshee emits this cry, that which hears it knows that a member of its family died, or is on the point of dying. It happens sometimes that of Banshees meet to howl in unison, announcing the arrival of a great catastrophe or the death of an important person.
Sometimes, Banshee is held close to a river, where she deplores by washing the shroud the future deceased. It is in particular the case of the Breton lavender fields of night.
Bonds with certain old women familiesEach Irish big family had her clean banshee. This one followed the family if she moved in another country.
Often, the arrival of Banshee associated with a former family is accompanied by that by a stage coach black, led by a phantom without head. It is him which is then charged to collect the heart of the late one. In January 1804, two soldiers of Coldstream Regiment transfer to pass such an attachment to London. When they transfer a woman without head to move along the Birdcage Walk notches some, they had a fright such as they had to remain some time at the hospital.
In the beginning, to hear its howl meant the death of a family member; later, it is the person who heard the banshee which died in the near future. The clans Scot generally had Banshee for three.
- One can see in the character of the Banshee the divine ascent of the goddess Morrigan who can take the appearance of a crow and prophesy the death of the heroes.
- Some think that it is about a degeneration of another deity of the Celtic Mythologie, the Bansidh . Initially, it is a messenger of the Another World (the Sidh), it is used as intermediary between the gods of the Tuatha Dé Danann and the men. Christianization degraded its role to relegate it, in the folklore, on the level of the Fée S, the Sorcière S and the Fantôme S.
Banshee or white lady?White Lady and Banshee merge sometimes in a turbid character having same the characteristics. The White Lady, more modern myth seems clearly derived from that of the Banshee . One can suppose that, extremely its success, this one then went " repolliniser" transmitting countries since one finds also Ladies White in England, Ireland and in Wales, at the same time as of the Banshee .
In France, certain White Ladies are clearly Banshee . One knows in particular the example of the Lady of the palate of the Bourbons which appeared the day before dead of one of the members of this famille.
The term banshee seems to be encrusted more and more in France (in the form banshie ) as in Quebec.
- Charmed, Season 3, Episode 21, Look who' S barking , 2001. A rather good representation of the image of the banshee.
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