Character Blog

The Bean Sidhe

The Bean Sidhe (or Banshee)

Banshee_by_gothika248Artwork by gothica248 at at Deviant Art.

I have spoken to a few people about faeries and without exception they all mentioned the Bean Sidhe or Banshee. Some of these people, even if they had not heard her themselves, knew of those who had heard her mourning wail or keen, for the Bean Sidhe is a woman. She has even been heard in a village where I used to live in County Clare. The Bean Sidhe warns of the impending death of the person she appears to, or a relative of that person. This ghostly figure has long hair and eyes red from weeping and is reported to be hideous or beautiful, old or young. There are many tales of the Bean Sidhe in Ireland and in early tales it is said that there are twenty-five headed by a queen, living in County Clare, perhaps belonging to one clan, as each clan as its own Banshees. If more than one Bean Sidhe gather together to give their wailing call, then it is someone holy or eminent who is going to die. The Bean Sidhe often washes the clothes of those foretold to die, in the river until the water runs red, but is said that she cannot cross it, and will wail from the other side. She guides the souls of the dead into the Otherworld and the door should be left open to allow the spirit to leave.

Accordingly, the Bean Sidhe is a solitary faery who gives warning of impending death especially to the older Irish families and often but not exclusively those whose names have the prefix Mac or Ó. Oops like the old spelling of my family name.


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