The English Banshee (Irish "Bean Sidhe") is a fairy woman who wails when death is approaching. They do not cause death, only mourn it. Banshees usually have long hair that is either white, silver, red, or black, pale cheeks, and eyes that are red from crying, though they can also appear as a headless woman who is naked from the waist up. Their dresses can be white or green, with a grey cloak or white veil. They are almost always female, and can be young or old. Banshees commonly comb their hair with a comb of gold or silver.

Banshee is also spelled Ban Shee, Beansidhe, or Bean Sidhe. They also have various regional and family-specific names.

Pantheon: Celtic (Ireland)


  • Illes, Judika. Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods, and Goddesses. Harper Collins: New York, 2009.
  • Matthews, John & Caitlin. The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures. Barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc.: New York, 2005.
  • Rose, Carol. Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia. W. W. Norton & Company: New York, 1996.

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