Wednesday, November 2, 2016
The Hills Have Eyes — The Legend of Sawney Bean
According to the legend, Sawney Bean was born in East Lothian, Scotland in the 13th century. Unable to make an honest living Bean moved to a cave in the wilderness with his wife. Lacking a trade, it was Sawney's plan to support his new wife on the proceeds of robbery. It proved a simple enough matter to ambush travellers on the lonely narrow roads that connected the villages of the area.
Then it dawned on him that in order to help make sure that he could never be identified for his crimes, he should murder his victims. To avoid those unnecessary visits to the shops for provisions whilst at the same time disposing of any evidence, he came on the bright idea of butchering the bodies to provide a high protein diet of human meat for himself and his wife.
Eventually Bean had a number of children with his wife, who in turn produced a number of grandchildren through incest. Soon the Bean clan reached 48 people, most of whom where born of incestuous brother and sister relationships. In order to feed all the hungry mouths the clan turned to cannibalism, murdering and consuming any who were unfortunate to be ambushed in the nearby countryside.
One day the Bean’s attacked a man and wife on horseback who were returning from a local country fair. Skilled in combat the man was able to fend off the Bean’s with his sword and pistols, although his wife was kidnapped, killed, and eaten. The traumatized man reported the events to the magistrate, who in turn reported the murder to the king.
The king organized a hunting party of 400 heavily armed soldiers and a number of hounds. When they entered the large cave they were able to corner and capture the Bean family. Scattered among the cave were various human body parts, pickled human meat, personal belongings of victims, and human bones.
The Bean clan was taken to Edinburgh, where they were locked up in Tollbooth Prison. A short time later they were executed, with the men hung, drawn, and quartered and the women burned at the stake.