"You sound like a goddamn Banshee!"
Has anyone ever said this to you? No? Me either.
This phrase often follows the wailing cry of an agitated woman, so where does it come from? What exactly does it mean?
Settle down with a cup of tea and allow me to explain....
|Image Courtesy: Wiki|
Almost all mythology surrounding the Banshee indicates that it is a female spirit and an omen of death.
|Image: Phantoms & Monsters|
Having said that, the Banshee can appear in a variety of guises. she sometimes appears as an ugly, frightening hag, but also as a stunningly beautiful woman of any age that suits her. In some tales, the figure who first appears to be a "banshee" is later revealed to be the Irish battle goddess, The Morrigan.
A Banshee announces her presence by keening, that is, a wailing cry so incredibly high in pitch that it shatters glass (is anyone else looking at Mariah Carey in a different light?!)
The deathly cry of the Banshee may be heard, even though she herself may remain unseen.
According to folk beliefs, certain families have a Banshee attached to them (lucky!) and the Banshee's cry will herald death of a member of that family. The most common surname attached to the banshee is apparently Mac, and also the Airlie clan (phew!)
Perhaps unsurprisingly the Banshee or a mythical creature of considerable likeness can be seen in a few other mythologies around the world. There is La Llorona from Mexico (the miserable and scary spirit of a wailing woman) as well as several Banshee like myths in post colonial North America, not mentioning the Scottish and Welsh interpretations of the myth....
I also had a quick look on Amazon and searched for "Banshee" in the title, and there was a surprising number of books, romance, mythology, horror on the topic. So if you're interested there is plenty of fodder for your muse out there.
Well, that's about it for tonight and just remember, the next time someone tells you to "be quiet, you sound like a Banshee!" You can gently quip "You'd better hope not," with a level of authority on the matter.
Enjoy your weekend.