The Brandywell Banshee

When John’s grandfather was very ill, his father sent John to his grandparent’s house in Deanery Street to keep them company. His father was working at nights and he didn’t want his parents to be alone. John had orders that he would come and fetch his father if his grandfather took a turn for the worse.

His grandmother allowed John to bring in friends as long as there would not be too much noise that might disturb his grandfather. John respected this and although it was a sad and difficult time for the family he was glad to be of help.

One night there was a terrible commotion from the back yard. He described it as a sound like a thousand dogs and cats wailing and screeching outside the back door. John and his friends were frightened at first but with a certain amount of bravado and buoyed up by the safety in numbers they gathered anything that looked like weapons and slowly opened the back door.

The noise intensified, so much so that they covered their ears and let go of the back door. There was instantaneous silence. When they crept outside and switched on a torch light there was nothing to be seen. Then the wailing started again and this time it seemed to be coming from the front of the house. The back door had slammed shut behind them and the only way to the front was to go by the back lane of the row of terrace houses. When they reached the front the noise had reached a crescendo. The rest of the boys scattered but John spied his father entering the house and ran quickly after him.

His father got to his father’s bedside just as the old man died.
His grandmother put her arms around him and whispered quietly to him, “You heard the Banshee, didn’t you?” John started to cry and threw his arms around his father, apologising for not going to fetch him. His father gave him a hug and told him that something else had warned him.

That something was the Banshee. True to the superstition, it had followed their family whose name began with Mc.



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