Banshees… what do they really look like? Don’t trust TV and movies to tell you the truth. In this case, folklore is closer to fact.
Banshees were the subject of a video at SyFy’s Destination: Truth website, related to their 2011 St. Patrick’s Day show from Ireland.
In that live show broadcast from a castle, they investigated Duckett’s Grove in County Carlow, Ireland.
Travel tips: Duckett’s Grove is off the R418 near Rainestown. The site is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and admission is free.
If you’re going there, also explore Castledermot cemetery and monastery ruins, off the N9.
They’re about 6km from Duckett’s Grove Castle, and well worth a visit.
If you’re especially courageous (or foolhardy), continue to Castledermot and investigate the ring fort at Mullaghrelan wood near Kilkea, not far from Athy.
This YouTube video of Duckett's Castle is at https://youtu.be/Nbl9jNW6HdY
The mini-vlog from the Destination: Truth episode about Banshees was brief and while it wasn’t entirely inaccurate, it could be misleading unless you conduct further paranormal research.
In that short discussion, the Banshee was described as usually being female, usually having blond hair, and usually wearing a shroud.
Only one out of those three is generally (but not always) correct: Most Banshees seem to be female.
Banshees have been reported (and studied) for many years. The best academic study was published by Patricia Lysaght as the 1986 book, The Banshee: The Irish Death Messenger
Here are a few key points from my encounter with a Banshee, first-person accounts, and Lysaght’s study:
- A Banshee (bean sidhe) is seen more often than she’s heard.
- Banshees are usually reported wearing gowns — white, black, or green — but some appear to wear a shroud. (Compare her with ‘Green Lady’ ghosts.)
- If the Banshee is actually wearing a shroud (distinguished from a gown because a shroud will partially covers the head of the Banshee), the hair color won’t be visible.
- The hair color of the Banshee is usually related to the hair color of the person (or ghost) she seems to represent. Most Banshees seem to represent a specific ancestor related to the family (or household) she protects.
- Almost every family with Irish ancestry has a family (or household) Banshee.
For more information about real Banshees and when they appear, see my 1999 article, Banshee – Ghost, faerie or something else?
To learn far more about Duckett’s Grove Castle and its ghosts, see Duckett’s Grove Castle, Ireland – Ghost Hunting Tips.
According to the popular lore, Duckett’s Grove Castle is “cursed” with a Banshee. In this case, the woman was one of the owner’s mistresses. Discover the other, older curse on the Duckett family in The Duckett Family Curse.
Photo credit: damin, USA