Quite often we hear of mythological creatures thought to be a part of the paranormal realm. While most of this is based on folklore, there are countless stories out there (particularly very old stories) of encounters with these creatures. One such famous story is that of Reverend Charles Bunworth dating back to 1770 and his encounters with a Banshee a week before his death.
A Banshee is an Irish mythological creature. Banshee or (bean si) means fairy woman and she is thought to be a messenger from the other side who will often sing and mourn for a person before their death. Their presence is thought by some to be a warning of impending death. A Banshee appears in female form. Some say that you do not see the Banshee, but only hear her wails which sound anything from screaming or shrieking to singing or crying. She indicates that there will be a death in the house and her cries are a form of mourning. Those who claim to have seen a Banshee say that she has red eyes because she has been crying so much. Some say she wears a long cloak and appears as a hagged old woman while to others she appears as a beautiful young woman.
One of the most famous stories involving an encounter with a Banshee is that of Reverend Charles Bunworth. Published in the book "Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland" by Thomas Crofton Croker and published in 1825. Residing in Buttevant Ireland, Bunworth was a very well-loved and respected Reverend all the way through to County Cork. It was due to his popularity that when he became ill in 1770, a lot of friends and family came to care for him and all witnessed some strange phenomena. It is worth noting that at this point, his illness was not yet bad enough to be thought fatal.
One night, the sound of what sounded like a sheep being sheered with clippers could be heard from the hallway. They dismissed it and didn't really think anything of it. At around 11 pm on the same night, one of the men helping to care for the Reverend came back to the house with medicine he had been sent out to get. The Reverend's daughter collected the medicine from the man and noticed he seemed quite agitated. When she asked him what was wrong, he began crying. He told her that he knew her father the Reverend was going to die even though it seemed like he wasn't that ill. She kept asking him why he felt this way and he eventually admitted as did others within the household had witnessed a Banshee.
The Reverend's daughter thought the man was drunk and he assured he that he wasn't and he had seen this creature himself. She had travelled with him for part of the journey to collect the medicine. She was singing and calling the Reverend's name which is why he had no doubt that this Banshee had come for the Reverend. Bunworth's daughter asked this man not to tell anyone else as she did not want panic to go through the house for something she did not believe to be true.
As the days progressed, it appeared that the Reverend's health declined rapidly and it seemed that maybe this man was correct in his claims that the Revered was going to die. As his health declined, more family came to help with the care of Reverend which meant his daughters could finally get a night's sleep. Their father had been moved downstairs to a parlour where his bed sat next to a window. An older lady was tending to the Reverend on this night and in the next room, there was a group of men who were good friends to the Reverend. The kitchen was full of people as well so there were quite a lot of people around to witness what happened next.
It was fairly quiet outside until a rose tree suddenly moved by a seemingly unknown force and made a loud noise against the window. They then heard what sounded like a low moaning and hands clapping. The sound of a woman in mourning. Two of the men went outside to investigate what was happening. They noted the rose tree had still been moved - pushed to one side by some unseen force, even though no one was standing next to it. They walked the perimeter outside of the house and could not find anyone outside. In fact, they couldn't hear these moaning sounds outside. When they returned inside to tell everyone there was no one outside and no noises, they were informed that inside the house, there was the sound of loud singing and wailing the entire time they were outside. The singing and the wailing and the clapping continued and became louder and louder. This went on for hours terrifying everyone inside until finally, the Reverend took his last breath and the illness had overcome him. The sounds then stopped.
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