The banshee is a type of fairy known both in Ireland and Scotland. In Scotland she is sometimes called the Little Washer at the Ford, or the Little Washer of Sorrow.
She can be heard wailing by the riverside as she washes the clothes of the man destined for death. If a mortal can seize and hold her, she must tell the name of the doomed man, and also grant three wishes. She is no beauty, for she has only one nostril, a large, starting out front tooth and web feet. The Irish banshee only wails for the members of the death of someone very great or holy. The banshee has long, streaming hair and a grey cloak over a green dress. Her eyes are fiery red from continually weeping. In the Highlands of Scotland the word Banshi means only a fairy Woman and is chiefly used for the fairies who marry mortals.
THE IRISH & SCOTTISH BANSHEES
There are various descriptions of the banshee. The Irish banshee is called
bean sidhe. Depending upon how you define the ancient tongue, bean sidhe can
mean “fairy woman” or “woman of the hills.” The Irish banshee is often
described as beautiful with streaming auburn hair. She wears a green woolen
dress with gray cloak clasped about her shoulders. The only hint that this
beautiful banshee is a messenger of doom is that her eyes are blood red from
crying for her dead.
The Scottish banshee, or bean nighe, is more menacing. She dresses in grave
clothes. Her face covered by a veil. It is impossible to guess the banshee’s
age, but she typically appears as a crone.
The mid-Ohio Valley, which includes west-central West Virginia and Scottish
blood. Stories of banshee spirits surely went underground as Irish and Scottish
immigrants moved into the Ohio Valley, but her legend was not entirely