Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Keep Those Doors Closed

My son recently told me he used to stay awake at night, scared when the wind howled. I guess I never realized when I told him stories of my grandmother saying, "Don't open the door to the Banshee," it would scar him for life. Well, maybe not life, but certainly until he was about twelve.

The Banshee is a female spirit from Irish mythology, often described as a woman in white, with long silvery hair that she brushes as she screeches her lament. My grandmother believed if you heard the cry of the Banshee, the person who opened the door would die. Well, that's not exactly true. Yes, the Banshee was considered an omen of death, but hearing her cry meant someone was about to die. Doors opened or not.

Her cry didn't kill people. The belief is, she saw death and she would start weeping just before that death occurred.

The cry of the Banshee summoned the Dullahan, a headless phantom who drove the couch-a-bower, in which lay a coffin. The belief is, if a person opened a door when they heard a coach going by, they could be doused with a pitcherful of blood, thus marking them for death. Makes ya wanna keep your doors closed, doesn't it?

Have a wonderful and safe St. Patrick's Day! Lets hope for a not-so-windy day.



  1. I always thought the banshee wasn't male or female, oh the things I have learned!

  2. I've always liked the (idea of the) banshee. I think she gets a bad rap.

  3. I thought a banshee was a crazed old woman who screeched just to scare you! And I didn't know she originated in Irish lore. Leave to the Irish huh? I'm Irish and didn't even know this!!

  4. Yep, I'm closing doors right now. Good post.

  5. Listen Doll, I hope you are an Eskimo, cos I have a refrigerator for sale! The last Banshee I saw was a great grey flapping dish cloth perched in a scrub brush of Heather in the Highlands. Raid works wonders - go ahead and open your windows!