While having the appearance of a human ghost, the banshee is a nocturnal creature that wails and weeps in places that have, or will soon, been the site of death or tragedy.
Originating in Ireland, the banshee as a creature of myth is depicted as a female ghoulish apparition, usually wearing white or grey and having long, unkempt hair. They are always crying or wailing when seen, and can be depicted as either a mourning spirit, often a family member that had already passed away, or a screaming ghost whose cries will kill the listener.
They always appear before a death, though stories vary whether they cause it or are simply an omen. In either case, the banshee wailing would always be the first warning of a death in the family, no matter if the family member in question was miles away or just in the next room.
Traits and Behavior
Banshees are humanoid creatures that have the appearance of a human woman. Depending on their origin, they can appear at varying ages, though the most common forms are that of a young woman or an old crone. They haunt or follow one family their entire lives, crying or screaming to warn of impending disasters.
The banshee is born of very specific circumstances. They will be born, in a word, to a family that is facing overwhelming tragedy, usually the death of a loved one, and will have the appearance of a family member. Not a specific one, but if their face is compared to the other family members there will be a noticeable resemblance. Banshees consider the human family their own, and try to protect them or at least warn them when they are about to face a great loss. While extremely rare, the banshee’s wailing can save someone if they heed the warning.
Banshees greatly resemble ghosts; they are translucent or invisible, and float rather than walk. They will be dressed in either a long dress or cloak that hides their lower body, and may not even have feet. They will not make eye contact even if directly confronted, and rarely seem to be aware of anyone trying to actually communicate with them, continuing to sing, cry or wail without pause. They only speak to others when they are not currently foretelling a death, and are difficult to find in those cases.
A banshee can feasibly live forever, if the family they are a part of remains a unit. They only disappear if the family dies, or their descendants are scattered to the point they are no longer a family unit. Banshees are known to last generations, but can fade and return without warning, and can go decades without an appearance, even if there have been deaths or tragedies in the family. What events trigger a banshee warning is not known, but broad data suggests they only wail when the death will be a shock or a particularly devastating blow, such as a beloved parent, or an unexpected accident.
Banshees that appear as young women are usually from a family that has lost a child, or a family member young enough that their death was a shock. A banshee with an older appearance comes from a family that has lost a cornerstone of the family; a matriarch, or a beloved aunt or uncle. Banshees that primarily weep are generally warning of tragedies that cannot be prevented and therefore are warning the family of the impending grief. Screaming banshees are more indicative of an event that could be prevented. Banshees can change their behavior and appearance apparently depending on circumstances, though as they rarely are visible when not actively mourning (and therefore the only times they can be spoken to clearly), it is unknown if any changes to the banshee are intentional or instinctive. They may appear to be holding or washing bloody clothing, which will belong to the soon to be deceased person.
Banshees, when they can be communicated with, speak minimally and do not seem completely aware of their surroundings. They cannot be fully seen, only appearing as a vague haze, and generally live in small, unused spaces of the family home or main house, if the family does not all live together. They see themselves as part of their families and will happily speak about them, as much as they are able, and remember every member of the family and events they were present for. If asked about a family member who has died, they will revert to their mourning appearance and begin crying or wailing, and will do so for several hours.
Banshees do not need to eat or sleep, though they primarily rest when not predicting events for the family. After the predicted death or event, they will continue to mourn with the family for some time, gradually becoming fainter and quieter until they have reverted to their hazy appearance, at which point they will return to their cubby to rest again.
Banshees do not cause bad events, despite their unfortunate association with them, and so removing one is not a solution. They cannot be exorcised or killed, and will follow their family should they move. They only dissipate when their family does.
The best thing to do in face of a banshees warning is to prepare for a dark event, and attempt to follow their warnings. Watch them to see if they are carrying anything, and if so try to identify who the item belongs to. Contact any and all family members to check in, and if possible cancel any dangerous upcoming plans, or visit a hospital if anything seems off, just to be certain. In many cases, there is nothing that can be done. Make sure one’s will and last wishes are known to the family, and try to resolve anything that can be resolved, in case that is your last conversation. The banshee only wants her family to survive the hurt, or to prevent it if she can. Your best defense is to heed her warnings.