Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors.
A wailing fairy cast as an Irish death omen, the banshee’s earliest literary appearance can be traced to the prose-driven Cathreim Thoirdhealbhaigh (Triumphs of Torlough) published in 1380. It was said the most powerful Gaelic families, namely the O’Briens, Ó Conchobhairs, and MacCnaimhíns, received these ghostly visitors whose keening foreshadowed a relative’s impending demise. The banshee migrated to America toward the end of the 1700s, the spirits heard as easterly as North Carolina and as westerly as South Dakota. An impressive trajectory for a legend supposedly inspired by a barn owl’s screech.
Codenamed Banshee, Sean Cassidy is master of the sonic scream. His abilities include flight, concussive blasts, and superhuman hearing, to the bewilderment of earplug salesmen the world over. The mutant with the killer throat, he’s been an X-Man, Interpol agent, co-headmaster, and Horseman of Death. Banshee debuted in X-Men 28 as a pawn of Factor Three, an explosive headband guaranteeing Sean’s cooperation until his rescue at the hands of Professor X. The two reunite years later in Nashville, of all places. Whether or not it was at a Dolly Parton concert remains one of the Marvel Universe’s best kept secrets.
Forty years since their inception, goth rockers Siouxsie and the Banshees have amassed an impressive roster of fans such as Morrissey, The Cure’s Robert Smith (finally, something they can agree on), U2, and Thurston Moore. Fronted by the former Susan Janet Ballion, the group rose to prominence around the same time as Bauhaus and Joy Division. Sonic innovators in their own right, “Hong Kong Garden” extolls the xylophone’s eerie virtue while “Peek-a-Boo” is probably the accordion’s most sublime moment, though don’t tell that to Ukrainian bayan virtuoso Aleksandr Hrustevich.
This edition of Fairy-Tale Files is brought to you by Fairy Tale Review Poetry Editor Jon Riccio.