The banshee is believed to be a supernatural being in Irish and other Gaelic folklore. Such an entity is frequently called the “woman of the fairies” whose wailing screaming or lamentation in the night is thought to presage either the death of a family member or the person who heard the spirit. Sometimes it is thought the banshee takes the form of an old woman who walks under the windows of the house of the person who is soon to die. In Ireland it is believed that banshees warn just families of pure Irish descent. The Welsh counterpart, the gwrach y Rhibyn (“witch Rhibyn”) visits only families of pure Welsh stock. A.G.H.

Sources: 62, 24;