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The banshee in Irish mythology is derived from the Erse (obsolete name for Irish language) bean-sidhe (Mod. Ir. "bean sí"), meaning "spirit woman," as well as the goddess Cyhiraeth.

Traditionally each Irish family descended from the Milesians has their own banshee, and the banshee makes an appearance before a death in the family. The banshee is particularly well known for a mournful cry or wail by which this death is heralded. She is invariably dressed in white, with long fair hair which she brushes with a silver comb.

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