- "Her fleeting shadow in female guise cloaked in mystery
With silver hair and sparkling eyes, she cries out in misery
With eyes that are full of tears
And a cry that rips your soul and heralds death is near."
- —A poem at the beginning of Banshee an Droichid
A banshee (Gaelic spelling beannsidhe), otherwise known as the Wailing Woman, is a Dark spirit native to Ireland and Scotland. Banshee cries are fatal to anyone that hears them, occurring when they herald the death of someone close to them. They are considered harbingers of death, especially due to the premonitions they experience where they may predict a person's impending death.
Banshees always appear in the form of a female, although there are distinctions between pure-breed and half-breed banshees, of which they may be a male who harbours one or two abilities. A half-breed banshee can only be born, not turned, although tragic tales (most of which are assumed to be fictional) have often been told of part-Banshees who beg for death rather than accept their powers, as the powers and abilities of a banshee are often likened to a curse.
- "Ah. The banshee. It wails its horrible song, and the bone-charring sounds tear your soul to pieces. Many have heard the beginning of its low sustained shriek, but few the end. Beware."
- —Professor Helmick during a Defence Against the Dark Arts class
Powers and abilities
- "Our voices, Ember — they're our weapons! They can mesmerise or bring pain beyond imagining!"
- —Catriona on the infamous banshee caoine
- Atmosphere alteration:
- Automatic writing:
- Sound Divination:
- Harbinger of Death:
- "I didn't get rid of the Bandon Banshee by smiling at her."
- —Gilderoy Lockhart regarding his supposed banishing of the Bandon Banshee
- Laughing Potion:
Banshees in the wizarding world
The word banshee originates from the phonetic spelling of the Old Irish bean sidhe (meaning "female of the Elves"), from bean (meaning "woman") and from the Old Irish sidhe (meaning "fairy" or "fairy mound"), referring to the mythologically important mounds that dot the Irish countryside. Altogether this translates to "woman of the fairy mound". The term banshee entered English in 1771.