So why was the boat called The Banshee? I think this story might have a lot to do with it.
The Banshee of Kingston Mills
A banshee, or Bean Sidhe, is a fairy from Irish folklore whose scream was an omen of death. Her thin scream is referred to as “caoine,” which translates to “keening.” It is said that a banshee’s cry predicts the death of a member of one of Ireland’s five major families: the O’Grady’s, the O’Neills, the O’Briens, the O’Connors or the Kavanaghs.
Over time as families blended, it was said that most Irish families had their own banshee. It is also said that the banshees followed their families as they emigrated from Ireland to other places across the globe, though some stayed behind to grieve at the original family estate.
It is believed they were based on an old Irish tradition where women would sing a lament to signify one’s passing. This too was referred to as keening. As many keeners accepted alcohol as payment, which the church frowned upon, many have speculated it was these keeners who were punished in the eyes of God and were forced to become banshees. Another factor that likely contributed to the superstitious legend is the cry of the barn owl. In ancient battles, owls would screech and take flight if they noticed an army approaching, which would forewarn the defending army.
In June 1930, on a hot summer day, visitors to Kingston Mills Lock were alarmed when they heard banshees groaning and sobbing in the marsh. A tale spread by the community has grown and spread until some residents fear for the marshes around the Kingston locks. The matter remained hearsay until a local newspaper published a story. Since then calls have poured in reporting sights of the spectre.
These people are convinced they saw something and people claiming sight have fainted immediately. The sounds happen when the sun is high and the marsh is full of water. Many people heard the sounds over the years but no one could find anything that caused them.
An older Carleton Place resident told me they made several fires when they stayed overnight to protect them from the banshees in the woods.There have been several reported banshee sightings, but it is said that if a banshee becomes aware of a human’s presence watching her, she will disappear into a cloud of mist. When she does, it is accompanied by a fluttering sound like a bird flapping its wings.
So are there Banshees? This story is from the Frontenac Arch Biosphere
The legend of the Banshee started when the Rideau Canal was being built and Irish people settled near the lock. They brought with them supernatural beliefs and the ‘Bean-Sidhe’ who mourns over the death of a good or holy person was one of those beliefs.
It is possible the marsh clay dried up around the cattail roots and the air burst out of them causing groaning noises.