Saturday, April 2, 2016

#ATOZCHALLENGE True or False? The Irish Legend of The Banshee: Letter B

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This might be considered as an old wives’ tale but then I am an old wife. Hahahahah. A long time ago when I visited my grandma's house, it always gave me a feeling of being watched. Of a presence. I used to tell my mom regarding this and she always told me that these old houses of Kolkata gave such feelings even to the most ardent scientific minds. 


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But there was one rule we had to follow. No combing of hair in the long corridors after 6:00pm. The reason given was it was the harbinger of  death.  Especially if witnessed by a black owl. Now for those who are smirking, please remember in those days grandma’s tales were very convincing and most of the rules were followed without questioning this matriarch of the family, simply because you loved her with all your heart. :D

Similar sorties I heard in my in-laws place where they would give the first cooked rice as offerings to the Crow. And boy they had to keep happy always! For even if they did not come to open the doorway to heaven(or hell), the fear instilled in my MIL’s heart was enough to drive us crazy. So if a spoon of cooked rice was the ‘harbringer of peace, then who wanted to question this tradition? :P

Birds have assumed a variety of role in all the cultures. From Greek to Egyptian to Indus, birds have either ushered in good luck or doom. 

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And one of the strangest is the Irish lore of Banshee. When someone in the Irish village dies a woman of the village laments his death. (We have the same in our Indian custom and they are called Rudali ) anyways these Irish women would be called “keeners”. Legend also says that there were five Gaelic families where when death would come they would know since this “fairy keener” would come and wail in front of them. These fairies were ghostlike and wore white and had silver long hair which they would keep on brushing their silver mane with a silver comb. This also gave rise to a tale that when you see a comb lying on the ground you should never pick it up. Or you might invite a banshee.  We can  call this a myth of course.
And how is this related to birds? Everytime banshees were seen to have been flying away in the form of a white bird.

Before you decide, here is one real recording of the scream of a Banshee..

Wikipedia.com
But then why did Jim Cobett, India's most famous wildlife hunter, and conservationist report three such screaming which almost stopped his heartbeat and cuddled his blood in fear? We have written proof in his diary where he calls it a banshee's scream. These screams can never be duplicated by a real person. It says in the legend, when a Banshee screams, your heartbeat goes faster and if you hear this scream for three nights continuously, then....Read the story here and then tell me.

Fact or Fiction? What would you call this? 


Tweet: Would you call the legend of the #Banshee a myth? If yes then why did Jim Cobett hear the screams? #atozchallege @rubinaramesh199

Read my post for C here

20 comments:

  1. That was a thrilling read and a bit scary too! Loved it!

    Shubhangi @ The Little Princess

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  2. Yet, another mysterious tale that kept me engaged. I love such legends that gives us a feeling of being present and experiencing it:)

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  3. Fascinating! I have experienced somebody watching / standing near me in our old home in Mumbai. And you will not believe it, we installed idols of Lord Ganesha and Hanuman on the outside and inside of the main door and these eerie feeling of somebody being there stopped... a true case of Maano ya na maano :D
    Not to pick your own comb in your house or any other comb lying somewhere?

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    1. One that doesn't belong to you 😛

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  4. One of those campfire stories that we used to tell each other on school trips! :D :P
    - Chicky @ www.mysteriouskaddu.com

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  5. This is scary! Now I will never pick up a fallen comb! I anyways get scared of dark places :D

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  6. My goodness!! It's scary I guess.. Sometimes I don't believe in them, but sometimes it really takes my heart away!

    Good one :)

    Cheers
    Geets

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  7. Fact or fiction is all based on your belief. I'm not sure it actually matters whether it's fact or fiction but it's definitely a very good and very spooky story. IInterestingly the sound inspired a contemporary song as well, No Words from The Script. https://thescriptbible.wordpress.com/albums-and-songs/3-3/no-words/

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  8. I really liked this piece Rubina, scary and nice....

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  9. That's interesting! You know what, my family still doesn't allow me to comb my hair past 6, and cut my nails too! Phew! :)
    Happy AtoZ! :)

    You can read Army Wife Tales at
    Tale Of Two Tomatoes

    Also, visit to take a look at 26 lip-smacking Chicken Recipes at Something's Cooking

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  10. Had gooseflesh while reading this post Rubina! :)

    http://totallyinternalreflections.blogspot.sg/

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  11. Beautifully written and fascinating! I've heard of giving rice to crows before, but not the 'myth' about not picking up someone else's comb. Quite a creepy feel! Well done and good luck with the AtoZ challenge :)

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  12. Goosebumbs, Rubina you are evil. Banshee this word I first read in an Enid Blyton's Famous Five mystery. Never went & researched like you have done.

    Coincendatally My MIL 2days ago mentioned, if you hear an Owl around the house, a death in the house is certain.
    God ! I dont know if I will sleep tonight.

    My entry for Letter B
    #AtoZ Challenge 2016: Letter B for Bappa Sita Ram temple
    http://nav-justanyrandomtopic.blogspot.in/2016/04/atoz-challenge-2016-letter-b-for-bappa.html

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  13. This was fascinating Rubina! I know about keeping peace with the crows, all others were new to me. The story behind the Banshees is so wickedly interesting! We have this practice that I don't really follow....not looking at the mirror in the nights and combing in the late evening.
    @KalaRavi16 from
    Relax-N-Rave

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  14. Wow, one of those campfire tales. Makes you a little squeamish but keeps you hooked! I never know whether to believe in these folklore or not, but am always interested to hear more! Good luck with the rest of A-Z! See you around!

    Cheers,
    Deepa
    Deepa’s Kaleidoscope

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  15. Heard these tales in India. Someone has witnessed someone dying visiting her whenever she would visit the ancestral home. I don't think its fiction for there are many unexplained phenomena that scriptures or science cannot.
    I am fascinated by such tales, Rubina.

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