Sluagh or Banshee

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This storey did not happen to me but to my older brother. The way he told me with a quiet seriousness makes me believe it is real. He is not the type to make things up. This encounter took place in rural Ireland at a time before mobile phones, the internet or when many people in rural Ireland had cars. My brother when he was younger would do the basic lad stuff stay out late and cycle around with his mates. However, one late night foray with a mate left a lasting impression.
Himself and his friend were walking down a small country back road. They were walking because his friend’s bicycle wheel had a puncture. The only light source they had was from the lights of their bikes. This road was dark and narrow with a fenced field on one side and a high ditch on the other. As they were walking they were minding their own business and idly chatting when suddenly they began hearing an extra set of footsteps. They thought at first that it was just some cow or other agricultural animals in the field next to them as it sounded as the footfall was of four feet instead of two. They kept walking for awhile trying to ignore the sound of the footsteps until they realised the footsteps weren’t coming from the field beside them, but, from behind them. They whirled around immediately bike lamps and all. They were greeted by a sight my brother has never forgotten. A creature was in the middle of the small road behind them. It was bigger than a fox, badger or even a domestic dog the usual nocturnal creatures of the Irish countryside. Yet, it did not look like a dog it was hunched and skinny the thing that had a lasting impression with my brother was that it had red eyes. They all stood motionless for a split second then the creature stood on its two hind legs. In one massive stationary leap, it cleared the high ditch on the other side of the road.
This is not where the storey ends. The following day after running home my brother found out that one of our neighbours who had lived on that road had died that same night. A few months later during the summer, another neighbour had died in the same area. A neighbour close to that family had reported that while he was baling a field that summers night, he thought he had run over a big dog. But when he had stopped his tractor to take a look all he could see was a pair of red eyes disappearing into the bush the opposite side of his tractor as though it had leapt over it and into the bush.
My brother believes he had seen the banshee. It’s not at all like the wailing woman that is popularised today. He and his friend never spoke of what they saw that night. I have a feeling it may have been a Sluagh another Celtic creature less known than the banshee, but it is also associated with death. Either way, I am not walking anywhere in this rural countryside at night. I would very much not like to know what creature it was.

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