The Banshee, A Ghost Hunter’s Investigation by Elliot O’Donnell


The Banshee

The banshee is a mysterious female spirit in Irish folklore, who heralds the death of a family member, usually by shrieking or keening. The screeching sound is described as somewhere between the wail of a woman and the moan of an owl, a low singing or piercing loud and able to break glass.

The banshee appears as an old hag or beautiful lady, but may also appear in a variety of other forms, such as that of a crow, stoat, hare and weasel – animals associated in Ireland with witchcraft. The name Banshee seems to be a contraction of the Irish Bean Sidhe, which is interpreted by some writers on the subject as A Woman of the Faire Race, whilst by various other writers it is said to signify The Lady of Death, The Woman of Sorrow, The Spirit of the Air, or The Woman of the Barrow.

Elliott O’Donnell did a thorough investigation on the banshee – partly as a professional ghost hunter (with a personal encounter) – and wrote this fascinating special of paranormal literature.


About the author

Elliott O’Donnell was a professional ghost hunter and prolific author, who produced an impressive series of books on ghosts and the paranormal. He claimed to have seen a ghost, described as an elemental figure covered with spots, when he was a five year old boy. Another claim of his was a strangulation attempt by a mysterious phantom, which attacked him in Dublin.

His first book, written in his spare time, was a psychic thriller titled For Satan’s Sake (1904). He composed several popular novels, including an occult fantasy, The Sorcery Club (1912), but specialized in true tales of ghosts and hauntings. At the time these were immensely popular. O’Donnell published in numerous magazines, including Hutchinson Story Magazine, The Novel Magazine, The Idler, Weekly Tale-Teller, Hutchinson’s Mystery-Story Magazine, Pearson’s Magazine, Lilliput and Weird Tales. As he became known as an authority on the supernatural, he was called upon more often as a ghost hunter. He also assisted in radio broadcasts on the paranormal in Britain and the United States.

Read more about Elliott O’Donnell in the Post Scriptum of The Banshee.