Monday, October 25, 2010

Celtic Lore: Banshees

Irish folklore is an integral part of the Irish culture. It adds a richness and sense of magic and mystery to the history of Ireland. In Irish Folklore, the Banshee is known as an ancestral spirit of the Fairy World. Their history extends way back into the dim and mysterious past. They enjoy the same mythical status in Ireland as fairies and leprechauns. Banshees continue to appear in modern fiction that deals with mythology, folklore or the supernatural.

Banshees are among the oldest of the Fairy Folk of Ireland. Said to be appointed to forewarn members of Irish families of impending death; to hear a Banshee in the act of keening is to have witnessed the announcement of the death of a loved one.

Famous tales of Banshee sightings are plentiful. Descriptions of the Banshee vary but she usually appears in one of three guises: young woman, stately matron or raddled old hag. The banshee may also appear in a variety of other forms, such as that of a hooded crow, stoat, hare and weasel. According to legend, each Banshee mourns for members of one family.

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