Today we are going to learn about how BARN OWLS may be the natural phenomena behind legends of flying white ghosts and banshees. This is an extremely cool lesson brought to you by my friend and BIRD WATCHER EXTRAORDINAIRE @lindaswan.sf! According to Linda, Barn Owls are found all over the world. Their call sounds like a hideous scream, and they roost in church bell towers, which means they may be hunting at night in GRAVEYARDS aka PRIME GHOST SPOTTING TERRITORY. Adult birds are almost all white – so they’ll appear luminous at night, like SOME FAMOUS WHITE LADY GHOSTS THAT I’VE WRITTEN ABOUT!! An enormous, glowing white creature that screeches like a witch spotted in cemeteries? Checks out!

I’ve heard that Barn Owls may be responsible for the legend of the Banshee in Ireland. If you don’t know, banshee are fairy or spirit women who keen (wail) in the night to warn of impending death. Each clan has their own banshee, they wail for their own people. Banshee are often described as ghostly women. If you google “barn owl screech,” you can hear why these sounds could be mistaken for a scream or a wail.

A photo of a barn owl in flight, wings extended