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Monday, September 12, 2016

Do You Believe In Banshees?

September is flying by, and Halloween is around the corner, so the theme of banshees seems like a timely topic.

According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a banshee is a female spirit in Irish and Scottish stories who cries loudly to warn people that someone is going to die soon, and another of their meanings is: a female spirit in Gaelic folklore whose appearance or wailing warns a family that one of them will soon die.

It’s easy to put it all down to too much whiskey or superstitious nonsense, but banshees actually exist. I’ve known Irish families that have had banshee activity over several generations. Furthermore, Irish folklore tells us that the “bean sidhe” was a fairy woman from the realm of the fairies, and that humans were very unhappy to see her combing her hair or wailing on their property. Such families saw her as a sign that one of their own would soon die.

Perhaps the most famous account of an ancient Banshee is that of Aibhill. She was attached to the tribe of Brian Boru, from the royal house of O’Brien. She haunted the rock Craglea near the palace at Kincora near Killaloe. The night before the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, she visited the old king and told him he would not survive the battle. With that, his fate was sealed.  

Irish history tells many stories of banshee sightings, experiences, visitations and subsequent family deaths.


I grew up reading the stories of Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, Daphne du Maurier, and other classic Gothic authors. I’m thrilled when I find a contemporary Gothic story, but sadly it’s an *underpopulated* genre. So, I was excited to be invited to write a contemporary Gothic mystery novella for the new series, A World of Gothic. I’ve blended a sprinkling of the paranormal with Irish mythology and the Gothic formula.

Here’s a blurb about my novella, Raven of Blackthorn Manor. It’s now available for a limited time exclusively on Amazon for $0.99.

When Morgana Pierce accepts an invitation to visit Blackthorn Manor, known as Ireland’s most haunted property, she hopes to convince the gloomy owner, Sir Dermott Blackthorn, to let her crew film the property for her paranormal television special.

But Morgana has a secret reason for being at Blackthorn Manor. Her only clue to the whereabouts of her father is a thirty-year old letter on the manor’s letterhead. Her quest leads her to this bleak property on an isolated windswept Irish peninsula.

Morgana’s ability to communicate with the dead soon lands her in danger as she learns about several suspicious deaths and disappearances in recent years. Threats against her life then force her to figure out how to navigate an ever darker reality.

Dermott Blackthorn’s ancestral line was cursed for nine generations, and he is the last. His death is imminent if things unfold as they have for the previous eight Blackthorns.

Morgana is attracted to Blackthorn’s mysterious and moody house guest, Ronan McIver. He is both protective and dismissive, sending mixed signals. Why is he staying at Blackthorn Manor?  

As danger intensifies, the setting becomes ripe for the perfect storm. The time arrives when she must rely on someone, but who can she trust?



Have you got a banshee story to share? Are you from a culture where a creature similar to the banshee announces an impending death?


GEMMA JULIANA has traveled the world and lived in many countries, so she enjoys placing characters in international settings and sprinkling magical spice into her stories. Whether she’s turning up the heat on a character or playing matchmaker, writing gives her great satisfaction, especially when her muse cooperates. She shares a cozy Texas cottage with her true love, teen son, and a very crafty dog, who rules them all. Her muse is nourished with the finest fuel for creativity – chocolate.

Visit Gemma’s website, join her mailing list, and chat with her on social media.


Melissa Keir said...

Your story sounds wonderful. Already I'm wondering who is doing the mysterious events at the house. I've not met any banshees but my husband's family is Scottish, so we may see or hear about one. I'll have to do my research. :)

Cara Marsi said...

I don't know anything about banshees but I love the paranormal. I, too, read Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney and loved all Gothics. I'm buying your story. Love the cover, and the story itself sounds terrific. Best of luck.

jean hart stewart said...

Sounds really great. Don't know much about banshees except they supposedly wail a lot. Is that right? Love paranormal...

Gemma Juliana said...

Melissa, I doubt your mischievous visitor is a banshee. Normally they just show up to announce an impending death. No, it sounds like you may have a few delinquent fairies visiting instead! Thanks for stopping by today.

Gemma Juliana said...

Cara, thanks so much for buying the book! I really hope you enjoy it. I've always wanted to write a Gothic, so when I was invited to this contemporary Gothic series I was overjoyed. I hope you enjoy the story! I wonder if the Italians have a banshee-like character?

Gemma Juliana said...

Thanks for stopping by today, Jean. Banshees only wail when a member of the family is going to die. :)

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