Category Archives: United States

Banshee in Arkansas

I had a Banshee encounter 6 years ago.

Grammy Pat and Papa Joe were the Godparents of my grandchildren. They were friends that were as close as blood. We had moved into Grammy Pat and Papa Joe’s house because we had lost our house to a flood and they were moving to Oklahoma.

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I like to sit on the porch early in the morning, especially in the fall and drink my coffee with my dog, Tala. This particular morning it was almost Dawn and the light was soft and pink.

We began to hear someone walking through the woods. Then it sounded like a woman wailing and moaning like she was in terrible pain. The sound was coming closer through the woods.

Tala started whining and pacing. Then she headed over to the door, frantically scratching at it to get in. I walked over and let her in.

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I stayed because I thought it was a vixen moving through the woods and I might get to see it. When I finally saw it, it white and humanish.

I freaked out because the word Banshee went through my mind. I ran in the house. My husband and son thought I had lost my mind. My husband said the noise was just a vixen.

I knew better.

I had seen it. Grammy Pat was killed in a head on car accident three days later.

And yes, both of our families have Irish and Scottish blood.

I swear that this a true story.

Carolyn

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The Banshee Visits

A truly compelling account of a visit from Banshee to an Irish family in the United States. I find the reaction of Eileen’s Grandfather to be particularly poignant. The old folk know. No bells and whistles, they just know. – Kitty.

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Imagine being all of five and living a world away from Ireland when you have an encounter with the Banshee.

Imagine being told by your Grandfather that it was pointless to tell anyone, since in the United States no one respected the old ways or recognized them anymore.

I remember it clearly.

My Aunt was suffering from breast cancer, a young thirty-nine, with my Mom, who was a nurse, caring for her. My Grandfather, their father, was living with us at the time. For some reason he and I were at our house when Mom and Dad were at my Aunt’s. I suspect it’s because nobody expected my aunt to die so suddenly.

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The other kids were out in the street playing ball in the hot summer sun, but Grandpa and I were together in the shadowy house. I don’t know what I was doing. Drawing, I think, on the chipped and scarred coffee table that had been roundly abused by the seven kids in the house.

It was really quiet. I do remember that, and my Grandpa was sitting in my dad’s comfortable chair doing a crossword puzzle in the daily paper. We’d been listening to the shrill voices of siblings and neighborhood kids all morning, but it seemed that they’d moved farther down the street, because I remember a hushed kind of silence.

Suddenly I heard a sound I still can’t describe; a keening, yes, but the most beautiful, hair-lifting cry I think I’ll ever hear.

Outside, up, as if it hovered high over the front porch. fold newspaper

I looked up.

My Grandpa froze where he sat.

Slowly he set down his newspaper and rose, pausing, as if by dragging his feet he could prevent the inevitable.

Then he walked to the front window and pulled the curtains aside.

The keening came again, like a high wind or one of the old ladies who showed up at the family funerals, except indescribably more beautiful and haunting.

I sat where I was, suddenly unsure what to do. My Grandpa knew. He looked out, looked up, as if something hovered in the bright white sky.

“She’s gone,” he said, and there were tears in his voice.

Quietly he let the curtains fall back into place, and for a while just stood there, his head down.

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“What was that, Grandpa?” I asked.

He shook his head, never looking for me.

“It was the Banshee.”

He walked back to his chair and sat down.

He picked the paper up that he’d carefully folded to exhibit the crossword puzzle, but he didn’t look at it. He just held it.

I looked out toward where the voice had come from. I knew what banshees were. I’d just seen ‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People’ not long before, and the Banshee in the movie was a terrifying swirl of flowing black robes and hair. Her voice, though, had been terrifying.

This hadn’t terrified me. Even so, I didn’t have to courage to get up and walk to the window to look out. I just went back to coloring.

Just then my Mom called. My Aunt had just died. My Mother didn’t seem surprised that my Grandpa already knew.

I never asked my Mother about what I heard. I didn’t tell anybody until only about ten years ago when I finally discovered the Irish part of our family who had been able to stay in Ireland.

“Of course,” my cousin said when I told her. “The Banshee follows our clan.”

I’ve never heard her again.

 Eileen – United States.

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Dream of an Irish Death

Last year, I had a dream and I remember it so well it might as well have been just last night. In fact I will never forget it.

So, I was walking through a creepy cemetery on a path of small, crunchy stones. The path was winding and there were headstones everywhere on either side of me. And they were in no order, just seemingly random.

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It was quite dark when I reached the end of the path, and there stood a shiny new headstone with a fresh pile of earth piled high and covered in flowers.

I looked at the headstone and it read:

‘Patricia Kelly.

Born April 1958 – Died Dec 2018.

Cavan, Ireland.

Gone too soon.’

I suddenly realized a woman was standing next to me. She wore all black, a long flowing heavy gown and a black veil over her face.

I looked at her face and found it was her, my aunt, Pat Kelly. Her face was sallow but she was smiling. I woke with a start and got up to get some water and found my Mother sitting at the kitchen bar crying. She just got word that her sister (my aunt) Patricia Kelly had died in a car accident near her home in Cavan.

I don’t know if this is strictly related to the Good People but once I got past the shock of it, I felt the dream had been a message. Aunt Pat was always a great believer in the Good People.

Jessica – Washington D.C.

An Attempted Abduction?

It was late in the afternoon in a small town in the Cascadian Mountain range in 2010.

I suddenly had a strong whim to go to a park I’ve only passed by once. In that small, safe town, following my whims often lead me to some beautiful places and was a fun way to occupy my time.

This whim was very strong though, I felt like someone was waiting for me. Honestly, I thought it was my professor– and my encounter would help my studies. It was freezing out and a mile and a half walk away.

But– why not! I put on my boots and coat and head out. It was a new moon that night– but I forgot to bring a flashlight. In that rural town– it would be blinding-dark on a night of a new-moon. I cursed this mistake 20 minutes into my walk.

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I get there while the sun was still pretty well up in the sky and I’m drawn to this tree. I don’t understand it, but I go with it. So I wait by the tree– and out from in the top of this tree appears this black cat.

It jumps down and sits in front of me very regally. It meows as if it’s conversing with me and then runs off down a deer path in the park . It comes back up. Sits regally. Meows very demanding-like and…

… runs down the path. This repeats 4 times until I decide “ok I’m following this cat!” and I follow this cat down this path which was unusually nice but obviously not-officially maintained by the town.

The cat and I both hopped stones over the river and up quite a ways— I’m getting quite nervous at this point! It’s going to be very dark soon! Finally- we arrive in this door way that was built into the mountain.

Like a tiny 3-foot stone entry way into the mountain with a lovely wooden door hinged upon it. There was a small sliver of one of the door’s boards missing from the bottom and the cat jumped thru it- jumped out, jumped in, jumped out. It meowed- it wanted me to go inside.

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The sun was setting— the rocks over the river– and now into this dark doorway without a flash light?

Cat, I’m sorry I’ll come back tomorrow” I told the cat- honestly quite scared.

The whole thing is over-worldly and my guts and bones are telling me to not open that door.

I turned my back and the cat meowed and meowed and meowed at me. “I’ll be back first thing in the morning!!” I promised the cat. I used the last few inches of the light in the sky to see my way back to the maintained path that had lights in the park.

I was overwhelmed— I went home and couldn’t relax. I woke up before sunrise unable to rest and as soon as dawn broke I made my way back to the park– down the deer path, over the river– and there I kid you freaking not:

The entire doorway was succumbed to dead thorns.

The door that was previous properly hinged was on the floor by the sheer strength of these dead thorns. The ENTIRE door way was chalked full of these dead thorns, and it grew out out of the door-way and even surpassed the door. Also the door wasn’t all cute and lovely anymore and it looked like it had laid there for a several years.

I cannot explain this logically for the life of me. The strength of a plant to knock a door off it’s hinges wouldn’t have even been able to die in a mere night.

I previously thought I missed out on an Alice in Wonderland kinda experience but now I’m curious if I was almost adult-napped by fairies.

Skuttle Star – U.S.A

Illustration
 

Illustration by Skuttle Star.

 

The Night Visitor

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Bridget McManus was my Mother and it must be said, was as sensible as the day is long. She told me this Tale not long before she passed in 1962.

In around 1920, my parents, Donal and Bridget McManus, were both in their early twenties and not long married.

Donal had an uncle, his Mother’s brother, there in Chicago who promised him work and a place to stay until they got theirselves settled and, I suppose, it seemed a grand offer.

Donal and Bridget bid a warm farewell to both their families and emigrated from Kilkenny, Ireland to Chicago, America in search of prosperity and adventure. And so it was, adventure they found, only not in the shape they had dreamed of.

This Tale finds them only weeks after arriving in Chicago. Donal and Bridget were asleep in the attic room of Uncle’s house, enjoying the deep sleep reserved for those with a clear conscience.

Bridget woke first. She heard 3 knocks at the Attic window. An impossibility sure, and yet she swore it were true. So, Bridget heard 3 knocks and sat up to see her there. Sat at the end of their bed, smiling silently was Donal’s own Mother, Orla.

There was nothing unnatural to her appearance, she looked altogether familiar: her Sunday shawl wrapped around her shoulders, her hair curled and her hands resting softly in her lap.

Bridget shook Donal to wake and they both sat up and looked upon the vision of Orla: sitting with the grace of her renown, and smiling, just smiling.

Donal spoke and this is what he said: “Mother dear, why have you come? What have you to tell me dearest?” But his Orla did not answer. She tilted her head a little and smiled warmly then disappeared from before their eyes. Donal and Bridget both swear they felt a weight lift from the bed as she disappeared.

There was no more sleep to be had that night and no drop of whiskey or pot of tea could settle their helpless agitation. Donal and Bridget dressed and waited, pacing the floor or gazing out the attic window.

When dawn arrived, Donal told his uncle of the apparition. As Donal spoke, the breath in Uncle’s chest tightened and he fell pale. “Tis the Good People” he said, “they have followed our kin across the western sea. Didn’t the very same thing happen to my cousin, there in Boston… I am afraid dear Donal, dire news is upon the wind”.

Donal hurried to the Church Rectory for to ask a kindness. Very few people had a telephone of their own in the day so, as was the way of things, he turned to the Church for help. Donal used the church telephone to call the telephone in the Church at Kilkenny, and heard the news he had dreaded.

Donal’s Mother had passed on only hours before. It was sudden and, they said, painless. She had been strong as an ox until the minute she died.

Donal was terribly shaken. He returned to Uncle’s house wearing the face  of a Motherless son. “She came for to say goodbye” is all he said.

Emigration may have promised Donal and Bridget a heavy purse but aren’t some things more important anyway?

That very day, they left Chicago for New York and the first voyage home

Joe McManus

The Treehouse

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When I was about 10, my dad decided to build me a treehouse over the 4th July holidays.

Our backyard was fantastic, it was more like a meadow, with rolling grass, flowers growing wild along the fences, iron gates and unruly trees of amazing colours. A great garden for a kid to explore.

Dad was a carpenter and knew how to build, he was no hack, he knew wood, he knew trees and had the best tools, but no matter what he did, he could not keep this treehouse together.

He chose an old oak tree which stood right in the middle of the yard and began by setting the supporting beams in the ground with cement. He had no problems with that but when he moved on to the braces and platform, that’s when the trouble started.

The next morning he went outside to find the braces and platform on the ground and the screws (stainless steel) he had inserted in the tree pulled out and the threads flattened and un-useable.

He thought it was stupid kids messing around and vowed to finish the tree that very day. He worked all day and into the evening and, apart from the rails, got the basic treehouse built.

Next morning, same thing, only this time all the treehouse, except the supporting beams, was in a heap on the ground. Dad was seething. We couldn’t talk to him all day he was so angry. He rebuilt the whole thing again and this time, at nightfall, stayed up in the treehouse with a torch and waited to see if the kids returned.

Next morning, I came downstairs to find Dad sitting in at the kitchen table, face pale and hands clasped around a glass of Mum’s brandy. Mum sat next to him with her hand on his shoulder and shook her head at me as if to say ‘don’t ask’.

So I walked over and looked out the window at the backyard and there, all over the ground, were scattered the various pieces of the treehouse. The only thing standing were the supporting beams.

Not a word was said, but later that day Dad took the chainsaw to the beams and cut them off at ground level and stored the wood neatly under the house. All plans for a treehouse were abandoned.

Fast forward 6 years, at my sister’s wedding, Dad got rolling drunk and I asked him what happened that night in the treehouse. He told me that he had been visited, not by neighbourhood kids, but by 3 creatures.

They came at him not from the ground below but scurried across from the branches of other trees. They were covered in green fur and their eyes were big as plates. He said he shone his torch at them and they growled and banged their fists into the wood of the treehouse.

Dad was terrified and tried to grab the ladder to get down when they started tearing the treehouse apart, only not with their hands, but seemingly with their eyes. He said they stared at the joins and the screws and seconds later they just separated and fell to the ground.

Dad jumped to the grass below and stood watching the demolition in astonishment but not fear. He said, once he was on the ground, he felt no fear of them.

When they had finished, the 3 creatures lay their hands on the wounded parts of the tree and mumbled like some sort of ritual. Then they were gone. Dad didn’t see where they went, they were just gone from sight and his treehouse building days were behind him.

Dad grabbed me by the lapel of my tux and said “That old oak was a Fairy Tree, we got off light. Never touch a Fairy Tree”.

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And the tree? well, Dad built a (metal) fence around the tree so no-one can climb it or even touch it.

Sean – Pennsylvania