Bean Nighe Banshee

Bean Nighe, the Banshee

This an experience related to me by my niece that she had down by a creek on her father's land just about a month ago.

I was in the mood for being alone and just doing the contemplative thing so I went down to the cliffs down behind the house away from everybody. I have a favorite quiet spot that I go to that over looks the large creek running through our property. Spring was getting into full swing and the day was wonderfully warm and sunny, with buzzing bees busily gathering the first pollen of the season and birds singing, so I went to my quiet spot to enjoy the day for a while.

I hadn't been there for very long when suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something white and turned to get a better look at it. There, down by the creek, was a woman washing something in the water. She had long, flowing white hair, and was wearing a white dress that didn't appear to have any decoration of any kind. I noticed that she appeared to be washing rags that were stained with blood. Every time she would dip them into the creek, and then wring them out, the water ran red.

At first, I was rather annoyed that there was a stranger on our property and almost called out to ask what she was doing here trespassing. Then a freezing chill hit me. It surrounded me and it felt like the coldness of death. There was not a sound. No birds sang, not a leaf rustled. I continued to watch the woman in spite of the fact that fear was creeping up my spine like a sack full of spiders. She seemed to be young, but I could not really tell for certain because I could not see her face. And, she seemed to be very sad. Then, to my amazement, she vanished before my eyes! Fading like a mist.

I sat there dumbfounded for a moment, and the realization hit me that I had seen some kind of a ghost! I was still feeling that freezing cold, and even though it was around 80 degrees, I was shivering. I decided that I'd had enough contemplation at my quiet spot for today and ran back to the house, my mind racing crazily with what I had seen. Who was this ghost? Why was she down by the creek washing bloody rags?

I decided to email my aunt and ask her if she could give me any clues. She had lots of experience with the paranormal and had done lots of research into this kind of stuff. Besides, she would be the only one who would believe me. I told her my story and she told me that what I had seen was most likely a Bean Nighe (pronounced ben-neeya), also known as the washer woman. She explained that this type of specter, or ghost, was seen when there was to be a death in the family. Sometimes they will moan or scream, or some are seen just sitting brushing their hair. She told me to be glad I didn't see the ghost's face. It was bad enough that I had even seen one of these type of ghosts anyway. I hope I never see another.

Contributed by Simone Mefford and Copyright © 2007 True Ghost Tales all rights reserved. No part of this story may be used without permission.

Stories of Banshees are very common in Scottish and Irish folk lore. In Ireland they are know as Bean Sidh, while in Scottland they are called Bean Nighe. The Banshee is a female spirit who is thought to forewarn of a death. She is most often described having long hair which she brushes or combs. The Banshee is frequently seen washing bloody clothing which is supposed to belong to the person who's death is near, hence the alternate name "Washer Woman".

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