"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for Banshee

This month I am participating in the A to Z Challenge. I will be writing about memories from my life and all my different homes.


Growing up in Ireland, I was surrounded by myths and stories. One of the stories that scared me the most was the banshee. The word banshee comes from the Irish words bean sídhe, meaning fairy woman. If you hear her scream, the legend says that someone close to you will die. She is often depicted washing clothes at a river. There are similar figures in other cultures, like la llorona.

Of all the weird and creepy myths and legends I heard growing up, this was the one that always stuck with me. I was always nervous about being outside after dark. Somehow I had gotten it into my head that she only screamed at night.

Now I am using her as the inspiration for one of my writing projects. It's exciting to take something I feared as a child and transform it into something new.

Have you ever found inspiration in something you fear?

16 comments:

  1. There are several good Irish tunes with titles about the banshee. What you say about washing clothes makes me thing about the film O brother where art thou, and the scene with the sirens.

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    1. Absolutely. I hadn't thought about that scene, but that is exactly like this legend.

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  2. The wailing banshee! With all the noises at night where I live, one can understand your fear.

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    1. It was usually when it was quiet outside when I was most afraid. I guess because I wouldn't be able to explain a scream away if there were no other noises.

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  3. I think it's the best way to write. I didn't learn to swim until later in life so of course, I had one of my characters nearly drown.

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    1. Wow! I imagine that was a scary scene to write.

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  4. Ah banshees. Sometimes I think my kids are pretending to be one when they get screaming.

    I once had a freaky incident with a bunch of baby spiders that become inspiration for writing. I love the scene, but still could have done without the whole experience.

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  5. What a great way to USE your fear!

    (Stopping by from the A to Z Challenge)

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    1. Thank you. I hope the story works out.

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  6. Those folk tales are wonderful, and as you said, all cultures have them, except I don't think that America has any equivalent to a La llorona. The witches are interesting too. Russia has Baba Yaga, with a peg leg, very scary.

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    1. Baba Yaga. Yes. She is a scary lady.

      Thanks for visiting.

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  7. There's a creature from Scandinavian folklore called a draug. It's the spirit of a sailor lost at sea, with a face made of sea wrack. It will appear to another boat or ship on foggy nights. To see the draug means you won't make it home alive.

    The sea at night during a storm scares me. To think of this lost soul out there trying to take more sailors down with it is both tragic and terrifying! (A to Z!)

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    1. Wow. Thanks for the info. Sounds like an interesting creature.

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  8. Replies
    1. Yes they are, Trisha. Thanks for stopping by.

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