All my life every since I was traumatised as a young child by Disney’s "Darby O’Gill & The Little People" I’ve lived in constant fear of perhaps one day seeing or hearing one myself, and in fact I believe I did in 2008 when I was sixteen.
I had been out in rural county Down (in a place I won’t mention) for a birthday party of a friend we will refer to as "D." D lived outside the townland in relative isolation with his family as did my aunt whose house was about a 25 minute walk away, this is where I agreed to stay that night with my other friend "C." It was on our way home that night on the dark country roads that my fears became real, too real....
C and me were best friends so the idea of walking alone down a country road in pitch black seemed more like an adventure rather than a danger. We would often go on long walks in the country, and I’m not denying that the night wasn’t eerie (with the added winter fog) but at the time it seemed fine and harmless in general.
After walking for about ten minutes I noticed in the darkness a figure standing by a wall on the opposite side of the road. Thinking it was a local I kept talking to C who hadn’t noticed, but I kept my eyes firmly on the figure who had a bowed head and what appeared to be a shawl. As we were about to cross past it I caught a glimpse in the moonlight of the figure and saw that it was a girl, a youngish girl as she looked straight up at me and I could of sworn she let out a little gasp. I must’ve taken my eyes off her for half a second because she was gone when I looked back, without making a sound. I began to get chills.
For the next five minutes or so I tried to convince C that I wasn’t lying and that I had in fact seen someone, but he assumed I was just tying to spook him. That all changed however when to our surprise through the mist we heard a long and thin wail that cut right through both of us. It sounded like a woman in great distress and as if it was coming from somewhere in the mist in front of us. We both froze and stood in terrified silence as the sound continued for what seemed like about ten minutes (I’m not sure how long it actually played out for). Eventually it stopped and we spoke to one another about what to do. I had told C all about the banshee down the years and I was convinced that we had just heard one (and that I had seen one). He believed me now and eventually we braved the road further, and as we did the wailing started again!
We seemed to be moving closer to it. Both of us were too afraid to stop walking as that would mean being left alone even for a few seconds. Eventually we came to a junction in the backroads which led further north or west, the latter was our route home. The wailing had stopped again and we stopped at the junction to take a sigh of relief, however before we could remonstrate C froze with fear. His eyes got very wide as he stared down the northern pass, I looked around and saw that we weren’t alone, there she was....again. This time I could see her better, she must’ve been less than fifteen feet from us. She did in fact have a shawl, but also long flowing hair (which she slowly combed), her skin was white like that of a corpse, her eyes wide and staring, her mouth was slightly open as if she was about to speak and her expression was pained. Needless to say I was terrified. She continued to sit on the hedge, in silence, combing away with the thick fog surrounding the hedge.
I took C by the hand and led him down the other road without a word being spoken. Our pace was quick but we began to run when the wailing started again, it seemed to be getting closer and without looking back I ran until we were home.
We shut all the blinds and curtains and talked long deep into the early hours of the morning. A few days later I heard someone in the townland had passed away that night. I hope no-one has an experience like mine.