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Also known as: Beansidhe, Bean-Si, Benshee, Fairy Woman, Woman of the Hills, Bachuntas, Badbh-Chaointes, Cointeach, Wailers, The Keener, The One Who Keens, Mna-Sige, Mna-Sidhe, Cyhiraeth, Cyraeth, Cyoerrath, Cyhyraeth, The White Lady of Sorrows, The Weeper, The Skree, Caoineag, Caointeach, Fear-Sidh, Seinn-Bais, Death Music, Tolaeth, Ghost Sounds, Bocanachs, Bowa.
The wail of the Banshee (known as the Keening) is said to be heard either by the person whose death is imminent, or by someone closely associated to them. People with a strong Celtic bloodline are considered more likely to encounter a Banshee, and some old families may hold a peculiarly strong bond with one of these creatures. This is sometimes thought to indicate a distant Fay strain within their genes but others have suggested an earthier, more sinister reasons for the connection. The finger points at certain reputedly Banshee-ridden families with the accusation that one of their ancestors murdered a young lady, possibly a pregnant mistress or other similar unfortunate, and so it is believed that their descendants must carry a reminder of this shame for evermore. The shadow of this sin falls at the approach of their darkest hours and may be specifically regarded as being a Hateful Banshee. To those who have not heard the Banshee’s cries (and count themselves lucky for this), it is often imagined that this must be a loud, dreadful noise and sometimes it has been reported as such (usually in the cases of Hateful Banshees), but not always. Sometimes her Keening was described as being oddly melodic and strangely comforting, especially if heard by someone who was old and failing , had endured a long, discomforting illness or was of a family favoured by the Faeries.



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Also known as: Night Women, Washer Women, Caoineag, Ban Nighechain, Nigheag-Na-H’ath, Washing Women, Little Washers by the Ford, Washers by the Banks, Washers of the Shroud, Washers of the Night, Night Washers, Cannerd Noz, Konnerez Noz.
The Bean-Nighe are generally encountered either sitting beside, or sometimes paddling in, remote streams and the shallows of rivers. Here they attend to their laundry, yet they are not conventional mortal women tending bucolic washing chores. A single glance at their hideous visage and the grim cloth they wring betwixt their fingers is more than enough to determine their anomalous character. The clothing that the Bean-Nighe is seen to wash is either the blood-drenched clothing of the observer, or the burial shroud that will consequently wrap their lifeless body. These creatures are said to be the souls of women who died whilst giving birth, doomed to remain on this earth either until Judgement Day or, as it is more frequently thought, until the day that they would otherwise have died. As a grim consequence of their fate, they are also aware of all the other people that will soon be visited by death and are sometimes reported as crooning a mournful dirge to themselves that recounts the names of all the ill fated.



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The Welsh Gwrach-y-Rhibyn (also known as the Hag of the Dribble, Hag of the Mist and also sometimes as y Cyhiraeth ) may suddenly leap out of a water channel, but otherwise she will invisibly stalk her victims until they pass a crossroads or stream. Here she will become all too visible and audible, for in both instances her cries, like those of the Banshees and Cyraeths, are harrowing. If the person thus doomed to die (either the observer or someone they know) is a man the Gwrach-y-Rhibyn will holler “Fy ngwr! Fy ngwr!” (“My Husband! My Husband!”) but if a youth is to succumb, then she will cry “Fy mlentyn! Fy mlentyn bach!” (“My child! My little child!”) She is a hideous sight to behold, with her crooked back, hooked nose, long filthy hair and manic eyes. She is pinched and scrawny, yet her superficial mass likely betrays her true strength and vigour. The most frightfully inhuman of all her features, however, are her long thin arms, for not only do they end in dreadful talon-like hands, but black scaly wings also hang from these extremities. These bat-like appendages are thought capable of flight. Her negligible clothing is black and ragged.



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Also known as: Wraiths, Waffs, Swarths, Ghosts of the Living, Mawkins, Living Pictures, Doubles, Double-Men, Doppelgangers, Echoes, Reflections, Reflex-Men, Reflexions, Copies, Autoscopies, Finis, Death Visitants, Tokens, Tasks, Lledrith, Freits, Fetch, Waiths, Thrumpins.
The concept of the Co-Walker is known by various names across Britain, Ireland and indeed the world. Known sometimes as Ghosts of the Living, their origins have been oft debated. Appearing as an exact likeness or Double of someone still living, to see ones’ own Co-Walker is most frequently regarded to be an omen of the arrival of death within the near future. However there often seems to be enough time remaining to at least document or inform others of the encounter. Frequently the beholder of such an unexpected sight will sadly resign themselves to their fate, but in the Northeast of England (where the spectacle was known as a Waff) it was believed that talking harshly to the apparition may allay the approach of fatality on that occasion.
The term Fetch is sometimes used as one of the motley alternatives for Co-Walker, but it can also be used specifically to refer to a variant of the phenomenon. When the ghostly likeness of a living person is seen by someone else, usually a close friend or relative, this apparition is often referred to as a Fetch. Often the timing of the Fetch’s appearance coincided near to exact with the moment that their mortal semblance ceased to live.


Corpse Birds

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Many beliefs and superstitions surround birds and some denote them as notorious harbingers of death, though they may often be considered as melancholic messengers rather than sinister agents. Crows and Ravens, especially when seen in great numbers, were often thought to be an omen of disaster and war. This belief is perhaps associated with the tales of the Celtic War-Goddess, the Morrigan / Badb taking the appearance of these dark birds. Conversely it is believed that should the ravens ever leave the Tower of London then disaster will befall Britain. Certain old families may be visited by swans or strange white birds called Caladrius at the time of impending death. Owls are often considered to be especially ominous birds. To observe one flying through the day, or to hear one screech suddenly, may be taken to indicate that death is at hand. The Derwyn Corff (or Corph) or Corpse Bird is especially dreaded by the Welsh, who tend to regard it as a Supernatural rather than conventional species. This is due to its reputed habit of perching itself on the sill of a room where a sick person lies within, or where a death will soon otherwise occur, and tapping on the window with its beak. If the Corpse Bird specifically resembled an Owl, or called at night, here it was known as Adern y Corff. On some occasions, the Corpse Bird has been described as having neither feathers nor wings. In Herefordshire it is the Robin who performs the duties of the Derwyn Corff. In some areas of Britain it was also considered very unlucky to kill or capture Robins due to the tenet that whenever a human died or was murdered in the woods, these birds would attempt to bury the body.



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Also known as: Cogrino, Harginn.
This bizarre wraith was once well known to the Travelling People of Romany descent. Often silent and brooding, the Chagrin was believed able to speak in human tongues if it so wished, but merely to see the creature was unfortunate enough - never mind conversing with it. The origins of the hedgehog-like Chagrin are either unknown or considered best not to mention, though it is generally considered evil rather than merely being a harbinger of sorrow. Its appearance was often feared above that of any other Death Visitant, for it may not mark an isolated fatality but could instead predict a disaster set to befall the convoy in its entirety.


The Wandering Jew

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An occasional visitor to the Celtic lands, various given names have been attributed to the Wandering Jew including Cartaphilus, Ahasturus, Salanthiel-ben-Sadi, Joseph the Repentant, Isaac Lakedion and John Buttadeus. Greater still are the number of lands across the world that he has reputedly visited, though it is postulated that his true origins lie a long time past in the Holy Land. Whatever his true name or profession (he has alternatively been claimed to have been a cobbler, a rabbi or the gatekeeper of Jerusalem Governor Pontius Pilate ), his prolonged destiny is said to have been as a result of his lack of compassion and spiteful tongue. As Jesus Christ struggled to Calvary bearing the weight of the cross, it is said that a man jeered in his face telling him to make haste. To this Jesus replied , “I am going, but you will tarry until I come again”. This man was thus ordained by Jesus Christ himself, to become the Wandering Jew and from that moment nearly two thousand years ago he was doomed to trek the earth until Judgement Day.



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Britain and Ireland have reportedly oft been visited by the inhabitants of Unidentified Flying Objects, whom many believe to be the denizens of alien planets. Many different forms of Alien have apparently been encountered, though in most recent times it is the Alien Greys that have claimed most limelight, due to their habit of abducting and experimenting upon humans. Some researchers have noted comparisons between the behaviour of the Aliens and of certain Faerie races.



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According to the tradition of the Biblical Old Testament, prior to the creation of man God created the race of Angels. These beings were not created from earth or bone like man and woman, but instead from light and fire (and also, in Islamic doctrine, from the lustre of precious stones). Following the genesis of man, war broke out in Heaven that pitted Angel against Angel. Pride and / or jealousy are the emotions cited for sparking the rebellion led by the renegade Angel Lucifer / Eblis. Whatever their motivation, the subversive element were defeated in battle and driven out of Paradise by the Angels who had remained loyal to God. The faithful soldiers were led in conflict by the Archangel Michael. The name ‘Angel’ itself derives from the Greek ‘Angelos’ meaning ‘Messenger’ . Acting as intermediaries between God and mankind is an important duty of Angels, but not their only function. In Christian tradition there are nine orders (known as Hosts or Choirs) of Angel which are further arranged into three triads. These are: The First Circle comprised of Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones; The Second Circle comprised of Dominions, Virtues and Powers; The Third Circle comprised of Principalities, Archangels and Angels. Due to their role as intermediaries, Angels have been reportedly encountered within the Celtic Isles for centuries and many people believe that everyone is allocated their own personal Guardian Angel. Some people claim that the Faeries are in fact Fallen Angels , too rebellious for Heaven yet not wicked enough for Hell.



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The word Demon comes from the Greek ‘Daimon’ which in loose translation refers to the Inner Voice and certainly many types of Demon are internal - these may manifest as doubts, neuroses, addictions or seemingly as full-blown Possession. Demons may dwell both inside and out. It is claimed that the Demon Princes & Queens, the Fallen Angels consigned to Hell, bred with each other and with humans to form new Demons who again intermingled over the Centuries to produce vast and myriad progeny. Some are grim and horrendous in aspect, others appear charming in their deceit, whilst others still are invisible and taunting. Their presence may be found anywhere.


The Devil

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Since the advance of Christianity, all evil and disaster has led back to one door. That belonging to The Devil - Lucifer, Iblis, Satan the High Prince of the Rebel Angels. Known by a great multitude of different names, it seems that no mischief was considered too small or no calamity too large to blame upon him. In Britain and Ireland (which he has apparently visited in person very many times) his main activities it seems were to dance and lie with Witches, to try and tempt Saints to sin, and engaging in battles of wits with Sorcerers. It also appears that he devoted a lot of time to large-scale landscape architecture. Plenty of places such as the Devil’s Frying-pan near Cadgwith, Cornwall; the Devil’s Dyke near Hove, East Sussex; The Devil’s Punchbowl at Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria; the Devil’s Bag of Nuts near Alcester, Warwickshire; the Devil’s Arse at Peak Cavern, Derbyshire; the Devil’s Hole on Jersey; the Devil’s Causeway in Northern Ireland; and the Devil’s Bridge in West Glamorgan, Wales were just a few landmarks attributed to his construction skills. It seems that he was forever adding to the landscape by dropping a boulder here, or causing people to be transformed into stone there. Noted for his excellent music-making, the Devil most often manifested in a variety of human and sometimes animal forms and rarely if ever as a horned man-beast or monster.


All artwork and text © Andrew L. Paciorek