|Bunworth Banshee, "Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland", by Thomas Crofton Croker, 1825.|
This little ghost story comes courtesy of "The Memoirs of Lady Fanshawe, wife of Sir Richard Fanshawe, Baronet, Ambassador from Charles II to the Courts of Portugal and Madrid."
From hence we went to the Lady Honor O’Brien’s, a lady that went for a maid, but few believed it: she was the youngest daughter of the Earl of Thomond. There we stayed three nights. The first of which I was surprised by being laid in a chamber, when, about one o’clock, I heard a voice that wakened me. I drew the curtain, and, in the casement of the window, I saw, by the light of the moon, a woman leaning into the window, through the casement, in white, with red hair and pale and ghastly complexion: she spoke loud, and in a tone I had never heard, thrice, "A horse ;" and then, with a sigh more like the wind than breath she vanished, and to me her body looked more like a thick cloud than substance.That's certainly one way to keep guests from outstaying their welcome.
I was so much frightened, that my hair stood on end, and my night clothes fell off. I pulled and pinched your father, who never woke during the disorder I was in; but at last was much surprised to see me in this fright, and more so when I related the story and showed him the window opened.
Neither of us slept any more that night, but he entertained me with telling me how much more these apparitions were usual in this country than in England; and we concluded the cause to be the great superstition of the Irish, and the want of that knowing faith, which should defend them from the power of the Devil, which he exercises among them very much.
About five o’clock the lady of the house came to see us, saying she had not been in bed all night, because a cousin O’Brien of her’s, whose ancestors had owned that house, had desired her to stay with him in his chamber, and that he died at two o’clock, and she said, "I wish you to have had no disturbance, for ’tis the custom of the place, that, when any of the family are dying, the shape of a woman appears in the window every night till they be dead.
"This woman was many ages ago got with child by the owner of this place, who murdered her in his garden, and flung her into the river under the window, but truly I thought not of it when I lodged you here, it being the best room in the house."
We made little reply to her speech, but disposed ourselves to be gone suddenly.