I have a farmers market stand (I raise herbs, offer plants, arrangements, herb crafts, herbal soap.. just a little assortment of folk type garden crafts). It was a busy Saturday, and I like it when the old timers come through because they are usually in a good mood and share garden and farm stories.
A woman came up looking at the flower arrangements. She sort of pushed others aside, and was very insistent.
“What is this flower? What is this? My father passed away and these were at his funeral. What is this flower? Oh, I need to know this flower!”
As my own father passed away just 2 weeks earlier, this immediately got my full attention. And my mother passed away 2 months prior, and I had taken a vase of the same flowers to place near her casket during the funeral, because dad always picked her roses from the yard.
I figured she would want to buy the arrangement. As she looked up at me, I looked into her eyes to speak..
Each eye was different colours. The left eye was brown, hazel, and grey. The right was brown and grey. She was small, older, dressed in layers even on the warm day.
So, when she started carrying on asking about the flowers, I decided to take a few minutes to focus on just her. When I saw her multi coloured eyes I KNEW I needed to give her full attention. (Even though other customers were around my table).
The connection between the flowers she was excited about being at her fathers funeral, and my parents funerals, really stirred my emotions and sympathy for her obvious interest in the flowers.
I knew not to push a sale and didn’t want to. It was way more meaningful than that. It wasn’t about her wanting to buy them. Just pointing them out and really drawing my attention to them being very special flowers!
She in fact did not buy the flowers; but kept asking what they were, exclaimed how she loved them. She touched them, then walked off in to the crowd.
The arrangement was small, in a small vase, nothing spectacular, not your usual big funeral arrangement at all.
The flowers? They were a small miniature rose…known as “The Fairy ”
After she left, I felt sort of shook up, mostly because of her insistence on pointing out these little-known roses that had such a deep meaning to me, and at her multi-coloured eyes. I also felt a sympathy for her at having also recently dealt with a funeral of a loved one.
It wasn’t until later after I kept thinking about her, her father’s funeral reference, her excitement at the flower but not wanting to buy them, that I decided there was something extra special about her visit. But I am still not exactly sure what.
Other than “The Fairy” rose is very, very special to me now even more so than it was before. Perhaps in the afterlife they do recognize what we do here and she was a messenger of sorts… (From my parents, hence the funeral reference?) to slow down. Life is short. Enjoy the roses.
Or maybe she was just a friendly lady excited she found a flower that brought up memories!
My family have always been Catholic but me and my grandmother have always been attracted or pulled towards nature. She’s really good with plants and even talks to them if that’s a little crazy but it’s worked for her.
I’ve always been good with animals, domestic and wild. They seem to know I have a good intent which allows me to help them when I feel need help.
I first got into reading fairy lore since I joined the missing 411 subreddit and become fascinated by how people could disappear in such weird and reoccurring circumstances. A common explanation offered that these incidents seem to be connected with the Fae.
I kept on exploring and reading about them. I listened to stories on YouTube from Scary Fairy Godmother. Somehow, I got to the point where I wanted to build them a fairy house. I still didn’t know if they were real or not, but was very curious.
So, I started on the project. I used cardboard that was in the recycling bin, painted it, and decorated with leaves, fallen petals and twigs. I was pleased with the result and decided to make a second one, this one being bigger and including a small bed and a bench.
That’s when I started finding feathers.
At first it was in my backyard in a path I usually take and I just considered myself lucky and incorporated it to my second fairy house.
It was black, big and sleek.
Then I found another one in my grandma’s house.
This was weird since I found it inside the house.
It was also black but a bit smaller.
I picked it up and once again I put it inside my more elaborate fairy house.
I was so into creating the second fairy house, I didn’t even get hungry. I just wanted to finish it, make it prettier, adding more comforts to it etc.
I’ve also felt I’ve been being tested recently.
A few days ago, a hen and her chicks were in the middle of the road. I was with my mom in the car and she kept honking at them but they wouldn’t move. I got out of car and lead them to safety.
That night, my cat brought in a small bright green iguana to the house. My cat was trying to kill it. I managed to get him out of the house with treats.
Then my dog wanted to also kill it. I placed my dog in my room so it wouldn’t kill the poor iguana. I found two cardboard boxes and gently with a broom nudged the guy to go inside one of the cardboxes. Then I placed the second one on top and proceeded to go downstairs and into my backyard to safely release it.
Then my cat was smelling the box again. After all this work I wasn’t going to release the little guy just so my cat would try to kill it again. I picked up my cat, put him in my room then went down again and finally was able to set the guy free. Little guy didn’t want to leave his box so I gently touched his tail so he could get running and find somewhere safe.
I felt happy and fell asleep early which is rare with my insomnia. I dreamed I was walking again through my backyard. I found white feathers. Then I kept going and found beautiful brow, orange-ish feathers, bright blue feathers, big peacock feathers.
I went downstairs and was tending to my dogs when I stumbled upon a fluffy white feather. I noticed it, but left in the ground and kept walking.
Then I found another, fluffy white feather right in my path. I picked it up and have placed it in my second fairy house.
I’m in awe.
There have been too many signs at the same time for them to be just coincidences.
I’d like to point out I usually don’t find many feathers, or hens with chicks standing in the road, or my cat bringing bright green lizards. I usually don’t dream about feathers or much at all really. I feel something is trying to communicate me suddenly.
I keep on finding a lot of feathers. One day I kept finding feathers in triplets. For us Catholics 3 is a holy number since we believe in the Holy Trinity, that God is made up of three distinct beings of the same divine nature. So, to me the three is significant.
I thanked them and some have been added to the houses while others I just hold it and throw them when there’s a breeze to watch them fly away.
My dreams have been vivid and weird.
I had a dream which I don’t really recall, but the remarkable thing is I woke up at 5am, on my own. (Just for context I’m a college student. My sleep schedule is very much out of whack. I’m more likely to fall asleep at 5am then to wake up at that time.)
I woke in an almost trance-state.
Switched off the air conditioner and just heard the sounds of nature as everything was waking up.
I live in a rural area so I heard, the crickets, birds and all the roosters.
Then I heard humming in my left ear.
Human, or human-sounding, humming a melody I didn’t know.
I’ve tried to remember it, but honestly it just blurs out.
I didn’t feel scared, it was very calming almost like a lullaby.
Do you think some people are more in-tune with the Good People than others?
Are these people skilled at keeping their minds and senses alert to the Faerie around them? Or do the Good People simply like or trust them more than other people?
Bob from the U.S. has seen and sensed the Good People many times throughout his life. So in-tune is he with Faerie, that he has kept a journal of each sighting. Here, Bob shares a few more of his personal experiences with us.
It is my belief that the Good People are entities of the spirit world who sometimes manifest into, and interact with, our physical world.
Many of my own encounters were with the Tommyknockers underground, but there have been other encounters taking at least the appearance of many different physical forms.
In the very haunted small mountain town in which I was living in Colorado, I once saw a dark shape scurry under a friend’s automobile when we entered his garage. He saw nothing.
At another time, in the same location, from the corner of my eye, I saw a dark something, about the size of a cat, peering at from around the side of the garbage can (or dust bin, as it is called elsewhere).
When I looked directly at it, it ducked back out of sight. I walked over and looked around it. Nothing there, nor any tracks on the fresh snow.
It could have been a ghost cat, or perhaps one of the Good People.
A few years later, I lived in the Mayfair neighborhood of Denver while recovering from cancer and its surgeries and treatments. There was a nice park a few blocks away from where I lived, and I walked my dog to the park at least twice a day.
One feature of the park was a strip dedicated to native plants along one edge of the park. One afternoon, I suddenly spied a small dark shape dodge behind a utility box along that stretch. A check around that spot found nothing.
A couple months later, my dog and I were taking a walk during the morning “tween” time, or morning twilight.
A small brown figure, about three inches tall, launched itself from the ground in a flurry of wings.
The rational part of my mind identified it as a large insect, perhaps a praying mantis.
But then it occurred to me that it was late January, there was a cold north wind blowing, the temperature was well below freezing, and the light of the rising sun had not yet reached the park.
There was no way this was an insect, nor a bird, nor a leaf or a piece of trash blowing on the wind.
It was in sight for about three feet, then disappeared, even though it should have been in plain view.
There were other encounters in the park.
Just past some sandbar willows in the native plants section, something small and brown, walking upright, started crossing the path ahead of us. It also appeared to be about three inches tall, and vanished while it still should have been in sight.
Less than a week later, in the grass park of the park, my left foot struck something soft and yielding, nearly tripping me.
There was nothing to be seen, not even a tuff of turf, and it could not be felt again.
A few days later, again in the native plants section, there were a couple glimpses of something about twice as tall as the earlier brown beings, but of a sparkly, twinkly silver appearance.
There was also a possible appearance in my apartment one evening.
I was reading, and saw something white flutter down from the top of a bookshelf to the floor, but nothing could be found.
Also in that apartment were encounters with what I dubbed “fuzzballs”.
Also seen elsewhere, these were indistinct black shapes about the size of golfballs which would scurry for about a foot or do, then vanish, even on an open floor.
Eventually, Colorado was left behind, and I moved back to my boyhood state of Ohio. Our dawn walks continued, often in a park along the river, where many animals could be found, but other things as well, including sighting a small white being that was twirling around on the ice of the frozen river one winter morning.
A very interesting encounter occurred almost exactly one year after the encounter with the being that I mistook for a mantis.
On a dawn walk, this time in a residential neighborhood which has lots of trees and flowers, I briefly spied a small brown fairy flying along.
In that instant, I knew that my daughter, who was living in Switzerland at the time, had given birth to her first child. My son-in-law telephoned a few hours later with the news.
More recently, last Autumn, I was crossing a bridge over a major highway.
The highway was well lit, as was the street I was following, but the bridge itself was not lighted.
It was well before dawn, and the temperature was cold. A light suddenly appeared in the air over the bridge, at about fifty feet above me I reckoned.
It was moving across the wind, meandering a bit. It was of an off-white color about the size of a large butterfly. It was in sight for about thirty feet, then vanished.
Peter, and his elder sister, recall an incredible, and terrifying, tale of hearing inexplicable voices down a narrow mine pit while driving through County Waterford in 1969.
Particularly compelling is that these voices, though not recognizable as a language, sent a clear message. Thanks to Peter for sharing. Cheers, Kitty.
It was 1969. My dad brought us to Ireland. The plan was to visit Dublin, and then go to a pig farm, I don’t know where. The farm belonged to the mother of a priest my dad knew.
My dad was 100% Irish blood— O’Neils and Rooneys from County Louth. They emigrated during the famine and wound up in California, probably looking for gold.
I was 13. My sister was about 23. Her then husband was along— a big guy, maybe 6’1”. One day the two of them decided to rent a car and drive to Cork and I went with them.
County Waterford. Image: ireland.com
We decided to take a coastal route (through Waterford), and along that route, at some point, we saw a huge bull. We stopped the car and got out a look.
That’s when we saw a sign saying “Danger. Open Mines.”
We found a deep rock pit, almost perfectly square and perfectly vertical, like an elevator shaft through stone, but with a sloped opening so you didn’t dare get close. It was terrifying, and completely unprotected.
We stood there, amazed and a little thrilled by the danger of it. We couldn’t get close but we could see it was deep. And then we heard high pitched sounds from inside the mine shaft.
For a few seconds we stood there trying to figure out what could be making those sounds. There were a lot of them. And here’s the thing— that shaft was a one-way road for anything bigger than an ant or a bird.
If you went down, you weren’t coming back, so we were mystified about what could be down there. It wasn’t the sound of any birds we knew.
And suddenly, we realized, unspoken, that we were listening to voices in conversation. And without a word between us we RAN to the car, terrified, even the six-footer, a guy as big as a football player.
We had to drive a pretty good distance before we could stop and laugh and ask ourselves what had just happened, and what or whom we had just heard.
I thought about this story a lot on a recent trip back to Ireland. I told my son about it and he became intrigued and he worked with me to find the spot. I researched abandoned mines and found the site pretty quickly. I won’t advertise the location. Then my son found the exact spot on Google Earth, and we could actually see the mine.
I wrote an e-mail home about it, and my sister, now in her 70s, responded with the same urgency we’d felt back then.
“With a few variants (which I hope to send to Peter and Rafferty), I can confirm this story.
As I think I wrote earlier, I remember being drawn, first, towards a high pitched, but not unpleasant or shrill, chorus of sounds. Especially for Peter and me, I recall that interest and desire to check it out.
I remember that the sounds were emanating from below, and that we were in taller grasses, looking for the source, and that it was extremely curious, and even musical, in a very strange way, considering where we were– essentially, to me, a small area of shoreline field.
Then, as we got closer, these somewhat musical sounds either changed (as I experienced it,) or revealed themselves to be what those who use captions know as the generic “indistinct chatter.”
In this case, high-pitched, and interactive, and certainly not animal, vegetable, or mineral, much less human. Not directed to us, but possibly related to our presence, with the gist becoming more excitable.
“I remember the second it became “unamusing” and meeting Peter’s eyes, the recognition that this occurrence had the same effect on him — we were fairly near to each other– and the unspoken, unanimous, instinctual response: Not right! Flee! Now! with a strong, shared, also unspoken, undercurrent of Not for Us! (whatever this is…)
I guess the thing that feels strongest in my memory is how instant the shift was, from odd and curious, to, as we got closer and the sounds changed, “Hell, No! WRONG! FAST! OUT!””
I have no explanation for what happened to us, or for what we heard and felt that day.
I’ve read stories of “fairy” experiences in Ireland, and ours doesn’t seem to jibe with what I’ve read. But it was a powerful experience that bore no resemblance to “leprechauns” we knew of from cereal boxes. We had no reason to think of fairies or leprechauns as something that might be frightening.
We conclude our special feature from John Hall and his Faerie adventures on the Isle of Man with a series of photos.
John took all these photos himself and has kindly shared them with us here on Faerie of Ireland. Some of these images have been published in Janet Bord’s book ‘The Traveller’s Guide to Fairy Sites’ by Gothic Publications, and are also mentioned in two other of her publications. Hope you enjoy, let me know what you think….
The muddy path looking back down the area of the experience
The actual picture of the Stick Figure in the tree canopy, (top centre) as I was having this weird sensation.
Enlargement close up of Figure.
Further colour filter close ups.
Different colour filter close up.
Another colour filter close up.
Last enlargement with alternative colour filter.
Upper Glen Auldyn looking toward the Slate Quarries where small figures where seen dancing.
John continues his Faerie spotting on the Isle of Man. He shares some of the old tales and his own incredible encounter with… something in the mist.
This part will feature the Fenoderee story and other tales.
Just prior to entering the upper part of the Glen via a metal gate across the rough track, we explored a field and area right a large field and trackway path going up the side of Skye hill.
Here where, this derelict and dilapidated mill building lies were figures reported last century cloaked in Blue/Grey with a Gnome like appearance. Also, some youths where chased by a woman wielding what looked like a frying pan!
A more recent sighting was two English tourists reported seeing a small woman with a white bonnet on her head or white object which she took off and used it to wave off or warn off the tourists. They fled!
Andrew Green (the Ghosthunter) in one of his books wondered if the apparition could have a Norse origin with the type of headdress?
Whatever has been seen over the years seems to change its appearance to adopt popular images eg… Cloaked Gnome, Witchlike Woman, next could be a Grey Alien?
The Old building was wooden, open and falling down. I had a camera, a pre-digital Canon 35mil with a good lens and a full roll of colour film loaded. That’s 36 frames!
The Woman or figures had been seen in the field, tackmill and the pathway, coming down from Skye Hill described in Part 1.
I noticed that a house that was the last on the lane backed onto this field and without exception all the rear windows were boarded over! Makes me wonder if it was to stop the spectacle being seen or stop something looking in!
Also, up on top of the hill something described as a “Fairy City” had been seen. Strange lights on the Mountain looking like an illuminated palace were what would be termed as Spooklights now or even a UFO.
Local people tempted in by the singing, dancing, food, fine ladies and handsome men should always exercise caution by refusing all food and drink in case they were taken /abducted. Fairy Time runs different to terrestrial time.
The “Stray sod ” or being Pixy-led is also in evidence here, when you can become lost forever going in circles until the spell is broken by turning your clothes inside out, carrying religious items, uttering prayers, and some iron or steel.
The Fairy promise of beautiful people and glittering castles, amazing food can all be the product of a” Glamour” fooling the human senses and creating a false but enticing bait for people to become entrapped. If all the gifts are refused the person when they awake will find the food was mouldy leaves, and the Palace just a clump of grass.
Back on track through the metal gate on walking upward the river to our left the hill to our right. North Barrule Mt and road to our Left now, through a wooded glen of Oak trees and Pine trees to what I originally went looking for: The Blue leafed Rowan Oak tree of the Fenoderee story (of which this Glen is known in folklore stories).
Walking up, my friend observed a mist hanging over the area, I could hear the stream over the rocks tumbling down the valley making a kind of drumming noise and a certain musical sound I couldn’t place.
I found a typical mushroom ring by the stream as we continued walking up, the walk was taking up to half an hour or more, when we came to a dip in the path by a stonewall. Directly below was a huge pool of water from a recent rainstorm.
No way through it, to carry on we’ll have to skirt around going into the little wooded area.
Now, here’s where it gets strange… I mean you go out on walks and nothing ever happens!
Sure I ‘d spent a few days prior reading up on the folklore in the Manx Museum taking notes and then selecting a suitable location that seemed interesting for a walk on a non raceday.
Just before I get to the final part, the Fenoderee story must be told now to give the proper perspective of the area. The story of how a mortal woman and a Fairy Prince meet and have a love affair in Glen Auldyn.
The woman, named Kitty Keruish, was wooed by an Otherworldly handsome man who she fell in love with. They used to meet at the Blue Rowan Tree in Glen Auldyn to be together in secret as Fairy and Mortals could not be or exist together according to tradition and this Fairy was of Royal blood and called himself “Udereek”.
He was supposed to attend a Manx Harvest home festival with all the other fairfolk at Glen Rushen across the other side of the Isle of Man. However, he did not as was meeting his lover at the Blue Rowan Tree. This was frowned upon by those of high ranking and to make an example he lost his status and was transformed into a half man- half goat. A Satyr or Pan like creature by the Fairy Council and left to roam forever in this form.
His lover had fled the Isle of Man to escape any form of retribution from the fairfolk or her own people. Now the Fenodree roamed the island alone and although in this form continued to be of help and assist humans in his hairy form: the wild man of the woods.
Several other stories have him assisting farmers and fisherman also in several other parts of the Island. There is one noteable crop-circle type deed with him stamping down the crop in fields like the Mowing Devil in the 1700’S. (Note…see the Fortean times for more info on the Mowing Devil!)
This very sad story puts the Fenoderee of Glen Auldyn right here in the Valley where he waits for his lost love timeless to him seeing watching and hiding in the wild places! Expect the Unexpected.
Taking a few pictures of the site before trying to get around the pool I noticed another mushroom ring much larger set on the embankment by the pool.
Getting down we noticed the immediate area under the trees was unusually darkened.
We could not see the hillside, just behind. The place had an eeriness to it, we felt as we were being watched by something.
No birdsong. The air was still, then a significant wind arose and we also heard something moving around in the dark area as twigs cracked. We both felt uneasy.
We were still a good way off being outside this wooded area and walked up to long deserted single story overgrown house, wondering if we had disturbed something. It didn’t feel right.
Thinking maybe we should turn around and go back now. I felt a bit strange as if I was being told to go back. A sense of panic set in. I felt a bit sick and dizzy. Head spinning. Feeling faint.
I stopped, took some more pictures, then quite suddenly a cold clammy wet feeling of something on my back which turned into icy cold spine chiller of ghoststories. What I did was try not to panic. I said to my friend “let’s go back now”, trying not to alarm her too much.
I took some photos of the area looking back at the area by the pool we just passed through. Then “we have got to go back and as quickly as possible”. I was getting some sort of transmitted message it seemed.
So back we went. It seemed to take a longer time as the path stretched out like was extending further, like the feeling when you run in a dream and the floor is like a reverse travellator.
Finally, we get back to steel white gate and get through, lock it down back on the B16 road by the end house. We carry on and stop outside the Church of St Fingan on the other side of the bridge river crossing. Here stop for breath, still feeling cold and shaken at what just happened.
My friend said “did you notice we were in a mist all the time there?”
“No” I said.
I told her why we needed to get out quick. It seemed it didn’t affect her the same.
On route back, we stopped to compare notes and write it all down. Some horses came over to us to say hello and we gave them some fresh long grass. This calmed me down.
“What was going to be on those photo’s?” I wondered.
There are two more stories that go together here.
Cloud of Darkness. – Seen by a woman going up Glen Auldyn one evening. Everything became black. She stood waiting for an hour but the cloud did not go away. She turned about to go back the way she had came to see the way down was still visible!
This happened above the bridge that was washed away (1931 flood?) some years earlier. This phenomena was also seen about 9.30pm half an hour before the woman’s experience.
A cottage stood back from the road where a great cloud of darkness was seen. This could be the same cottage and area we experienced it, although the time was around midday. Only later did I realise that some missing or extended time was also apparent in the experience. What should have been a 5-10 minute walk took half an hour.
One more story.
The Wild Hunt – An old deserted Mansion which was built over a fairy path was a frequent haunt of the Wild Hunt. Seen as lights on the Mountain side, and testified by older residents of the locality.
Usually on moonlit nights, and described with innumerable horses of every description with the cry of dogs breaking cover. They mirrored a human Hunting with the dress clothing etc of the time and year seen in.
Conclusion – What did I come across? I don’t know as it was hidden in cloaking of darkness. The Fenoderee? Or something else you don’t want to meet: a Buggane?
The phenomena that turned me around and prevented my trip up to Snaefell also saved me and my friend from a severe weather storm that moved in over the mountain so maybe it was a friendly warning after all.
My most recent trip to Glen Auldyn was by myself. It was a good day and I experienced no strange encounters.
The area changed a few years back because people had taken over the derelict house right by where I had taken the particular photo (photo 8). They had renovated the house, and moved in as a family residence. The photo is currently published in this books by Janet Bord, ‘The Travellers Guide to Fairy Sites’ and mentioned in two other of her publications.
The whole atmosphere had gone. The refurbishment had spoilt the darkened embankment area. It was all torn up, and the hillside now easily visible!
I wondered if the family knew about the stories of the Glen, and if they would experience the similar things, eg Ghosts, Poltergeist, Wild Hunt, strange lights and the Fair Folk being on a Fairy Path.
If I hadn’t had the strange feeling in that location I would have not taken the photo looking back. The roll of film I used was intact but, although I had taken a least three other shots there, it was as if the film had been rolled back as they were not on the negatives.
More missing time pixy-led confusion and things out of sync!
Had I encounted Pan in the wooded glade? The Fenoderee, with his cloaking device of darkness?
In terms of missing time: the 5-10 min walk from the gate and back took half an hour on the day I took the photo.
John – Liverpool
Next time: We publish the series of photos John took on his fateful walk. Did he capture evidence of the Good People? Take a look at the photos and decide for yourself…
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.
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.
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.
Being a witch and Wiccan. I did, and still do, have visits from the Fae.
Yes, some can be small. But appear as ball of lights or orbs. No, they not like Tinkerbell.
But they are majestic and beautiful spiritual beings. However they can take animal forms. And mix animal attributes with human.
Those who visit me seem to be from all over the world. And I heard them speak in middle eastern languages as well as European. And yes, some do have an Irish or Scottish accent.
I believe some are djinn and some are Sidhe. One that represents them is a tall woman with long black hair. Her skin can be dark. Or light grayish or blue in color. She helps me in my path of Wicca and witchcraft.
Sorry, might of strayed from the subject. Blessed be.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”