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The story of the ''banshee'' began as a fairy woman [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keening keening] at the death of important personages.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-Az_5-0">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-Az-5 [6]]</sup> In later stories, the appearance of the banshee could foretell death. Banshees were said to appear for particular Irish families, though which families made it onto this list varied depending on who was telling the story. Stories of banshees were also prevalent in the West Highlands of Scotland.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-Az_5-1">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-Az-5 [6]]</sup>
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The story of the ''banshee'' began as a fairy woman [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keening keening] at the death of important personages.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-Az_5-0">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-Az-5 [6]]</sup> In later stories, the appearance of the ban the West Highlands of Scotland.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-Az_5-1">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-Az-5 [6]]</sup>
   
The banshee can appear in a variety of guises. Most often she appears as an ugly, frightening hag, but she can also appear 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, [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Morr%C3%ADgan the Morrígan].
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The banshee can appear in a variety of guises. Most often she appears as an ugly, frightening hag, but she can also appear as a stualed to be the Irish battle goddess, [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Morr%C3%ADgan the Morrígan].
   
Although not always seen, her mourning call is heard, usually at night when someone is about to die and usually around woods. In 1437, [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_James_I_of_Scotland King James I of Scotland] was approached by an Irish seer who was later identified as a banshee who foretold his murder at the instigation of the Earl of Atholl. There are records of several prophets believed to be incarnate banshees attending the great houses of Ireland and the courts of local Irish kings.
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Although not always seen, her mourning call is heard, usually at night when someone is about to die and usually around woodees attending the great houses of Ireland and the courts of local Irish kings.
   
In some parts of Leinster, she is referred to as the ''bean chaointe'' (keening woman) whose wail can be so piercing that it shatters glass. In [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_Kerry Kerry] in the southwest of Ireland, her keen is experienced as a "low, pleasant singing"; in [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_Tyrone Tyrone] in the north, as "the sound of two boards being struck together"; and on [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rathlin_Island Rathlin Island] as "a thin, screeching sound somewhere between the wail of a woman and the moan of an [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owl owl]".
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In some parts of Leinster, she is referred to as the ''bean chaointe'' (keening woman) whose wail can be  in the southwest of Ireland, her keen is experienced as a "low, pleasant singing"; in [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_Tyrone Tyrone] in the north, as "the sound of two boards being struck together"; and on [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rathlin_Island Rathlin Island] as "a thin, screeching sound somh as that of a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hooded_crow hooded crow], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoat stoat], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare hare] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weasel weasel] - animals associated in Ireland with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witchcraft witchcraft].
 
The banshee may also appear in a variety of other forms, such as that of a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hooded_crow hooded crow], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoat stoat], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hare hare] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weasel weasel] - animals associated in Ireland with [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witchcraft witchcraft].
 
 
==[[http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Banshee&action=edit&section=2 edit]] History and mythology==
 
==[[http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Banshee&action=edit&section=2 edit]] History and mythology==
 
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In legend, a banshee wails nearby if someone is about to die. There are particular families who are believed to have banshees attached to them, and whose cries herald the death of a member of that family. The most common surname attached to the banshee was [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_(surname) Mac].<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-book_6-0">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-book-6 [7]]</sup> They were also associated with the [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Airlie_(surname)&action=edit&redlink=1 Airlie] clan.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-Az_5-2">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-Az-5 [6]]</sup> Accounts of banshees go back as far as 1380 with the publication of the ''Cathreim Thoirdhealbhaigh'' (''Triumps of Torlough'') by Seean mac Craith.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-lore_7-0">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-lore-7 [8]]</sup> Mentions of banshees can also be found in [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normans Norman] literature of that time.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-lore_7-1">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-lore-7 [8]]</sup> The Ban Si was also known to wail at the crowning of the true king. Such a cry was reported to be heard at the crowning of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Boru Brian Boru].
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In legend, a bahem, and whose cries herald the death of a member of that family. The most common surname attached to the banshee was [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_(surname) Mac].<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-book_6-0">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-book-6 [7]]</sup> They were also associated with the [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Airlie_(surname)&action=edit&redlink=1 Airlie] clan.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-Az_5-2">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-Az-5 [6]]</sup> Accounts of banshees go bacl at the crowning of the true king. Such a cry was reported to be heard at the crowning of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Boru Brian Boru].
   
Traditionally, when a person died a woman would sing a lament (in [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_language Irish]: ''caoineadh'', [ˈkɰiːnʲə] or [ˈkiːnʲuː], ''"caoin"'' meaning "to weep, to wail") at the funeral. These women are sometimes referred to as "[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keening keeners]" and the best keeners would be in much demand. Legend has it that for five great Gaelic families — the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%27Grady_(surname) O'Gradys], the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%27Neill_dynasty O'Neills], the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%93_Briain Ó Briains], the [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=%C3%93_Conchobhair&action=edit&redlink=1 Ó Conchobhairs], and the [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Caomh%C3%A1nach_(surname)&action=edit&redlink=1 Caomhánachs] — the lament would be sung by a fairy woman; having foresight, she would sing the lament when a family member died, even if the person had died far away and news of their death had not yet come, so that the wailing of the banshee was the first warning the household had of the death.
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Traditionanews of their death had not yet come, so that the wailing of the banshee was the first warning the household had of the death.
   
 
The [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%93_Briain Ó Briains]' banshee was thought to have the name of [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eevul&action=edit&redlink=1 Eevul], and was ruler of 25 other banshees who would always be at her attendance.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-lore_7-2">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-lore-7 [8]]</sup> It is thought that from this myth comes the idea that the wailing of numerous banshees signifies the death of a great person.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-lore_7-3">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-lore-7 [8]]</sup>
 
The [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%93_Briain Ó Briains]' banshee was thought to have the name of [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eevul&action=edit&redlink=1 Eevul], and was ruler of 25 other banshees who would always be at her attendance.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-lore_7-2">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-lore-7 [8]]</sup> It is thought that from this myth comes the idea that the wailing of numerous banshees signifies the death of a great person.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-lore_7-3">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-lore-7 [8]]</sup>
   
In later versions, the banshee might appear before the death and warn the family by wailing.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-8">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-8 [9]]</sup> When several banshees appeared at once, it indicated the death of someone great or holy.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-Yeats_9-0">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-Yeats-9 [10]]</sup> The tales sometimes recounted that the woman, though called a fairy, was a ghost, often of a specific murdered woman, or a mother who died in childbirth.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-10">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-10 [11]]</sup>
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In later versions, the banshee might appear before the death and warn the family by wailing.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-8">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-8 [9]]</sup> When several banshees asuspecting humans, will spirit such gullible humans away. Other stories portray banshees as dressed in green, red, grey cloak.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-book_6-1">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-book-6 [7]]</sup>
 
Banshees are frequently described as dressed in white or grey, often having long, pale hair which they brush with a silver comb, a detail scholar Patricia Lysaght attributes to confusion with local [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mermaid mermaid] [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mythology myths]. This comb detail is also related to the centuries-old traditional romantic Irish story that, if you ever see a comb lying on the ground in Ireland, you must never pick it up, or the banshees (or mermaids — stories vary), having placed it there to lure unsuspecting humans, will spirit such gullible humans away. Other stories portray banshees as dressed in green, red, or black with a grey cloak.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-book_6-1">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-book-6 [7]]</sup>
 
 
==[[http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Banshee&action=edit&section=3 edit]] American folklore==
 
==[[http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Banshee&action=edit&section=3 edit]] American folklore==
Stories of banshees can also be found in America in the late 18th century.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-book_6-2">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-book-6 [7]]</sup> The most prevalent of the American stories comes from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar_River Tar River] in [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgecombe_County Edgecombe County], [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina North Carolina]. However, in this variation of the story, the banshee is simply a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghoul ghoul], as opposed to a sign of misfortune.<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-book_6-3">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-book-6 [7]]</sup>
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Stories of banshees
 
In the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badlands_National_Park badlands] of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Dakota South Dakota], a banshee is said to wail upon a hill near Watch Dog Butte. Like other American tales of banshees, this legend does not connect her to any particular death (aside, perhaps, from her own).<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-11">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-11 [12]]</sup>
 
 
==[[http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Banshee&action=edit&section=4 edit]] Celtic cultures==
 
==[[http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Banshee&action=edit&section=4 edit]] Celtic cultures==
In Scottish Mythology a similar creature is known as a the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bean_nighe Bean nighe] or ''ban nigheachain'' (little washerwoman) or ''nigheag na h-àth'' (little washer at the ford).
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In Scottish Mythology a similittle washer at the ford).
   
In Welsh folklore, a similar creature is known as the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hag_of_the_mist Hag of the mist].<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-12">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-12 [13]]</sup>
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In Welore, a similnown as th[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hag_of_the_mist the mist].<sup class="reference" id="cite_ref-12">[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee#cite_note-12 [13]]</sup>
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