Transcript – Informant Speaking
Mother: “Banshees well um, I don’t know if you know what a Banshee is, but basically a Banshee was either – it’s not quite clear if it was a witch or a fairy, but they were supposed to basically announce the death of a family member. So if you heard the Banshee, em, it was the sign that somebody in the household was supposed to… pass away unexpectedly, em-”
Father: “-and they wailed. There was a wail-”
Mother: “They’re supposed to wail. It’s like a mourning, crying sound, em, so actually your grandmother, my mother, claimed to have heard the Banshee em, before your- my Aunt Annie, daddy’s sister, passed away. And like… It’s kinda funny ’cause Mommy was a, as you know, a school teacher, in fact became principle, a very down to earth sensible lady. But she was absolutely convinced she’d heard the Banshee the night before Auntie Annie died.”
This story came during a conversation with me and my parents. Both of them grew up in Northern Ireland. My mom is a little superstitious, but my father isn’t at all. For my mom, I know she heard the story of the banshee from her family, but especially in relation the story told about her mother. I think for my mom, the banshee’s interesting because she has had a familial experience with it.
The context for this conversation was me facetiming my folks to ask about Irish folklore. The connection was a bit iffy, and they also both speak in very thick accents (mom more so than my dad). But it was transcribed precisely as said.
The banshee has always been one of the most interesting (and frightening) types of ghosts to me. There’s something really terrifying about hearing a loud noise (especially a scream) during the night, and I think the banshee plays directly into that. Moreso, their omen is terrifying, and it’s the type of thing that can easily leave you lying in your bed wondering about that strange yell you heard outside your window. Was it just a random shout in the city, or something else…?