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Sawney Bean

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Sawney Bean. The story appears in The Newgate Calendar, a crime catalogue of the notorious Newgate Prison in London. While historians tend to believe that Sawney Bean never existed or that his story has been greatly exaggerated, his story has passed into local folklore and is part of the Edinburgh tourism industry. Legend[edit] According to The Newgate Calendar, Alexander Bean was born in East Lothian during the 1500s.[1] His father was a ditch digger and hedge trimmer, and Bean tried to take up the family trade but quickly realised that he had little taste for honest labour.

He left home with a vicious woman who apparently shared his inclinations. The couple ended up at a coastal cave in Bennane Head between Girvan and Ballantrae where they lived undiscovered for some twenty-five years. The cave was 200 yards deep and during high tide the entrance was blocked by water. The couple eventually produced eight sons, six daughters, eighteen grandsons and fourteen granddaughters.

Sources and veracity[edit] Overview of Alexander 'Sawney' Bean. The infamous cannibal Sawney Bean. Sawney Bean was a legendary cannibal, who along with his clan is supposed to have murdered and eaten hundreds of people before he was caught and executed. It is an apocryphal tale and most likely created as a piece of entertaining fiction used to scare travellers. Different sources place him at various points in history, perhaps during the reign of James I, perhaps later during the reign of James VI but there is no hard evidence that he ever existed at all.

His crimes do not appear in any official sources and we can conclude he is definitely a fictional character. The story claims he was born Alexander Bean the son of a labourer in East Lothian and he shacked up with a witch. The two spawned a huge family of inbred psychos, who they brought up as murderers and cannibals. They supposedly lived in a cave and robbed and murdered travellers in the South Ayrshire area. Sawney Bean first appeared in chapbooks, popular collections of lurid tales sold to the masses as cheap entertainment. The Legend of Sawney Bean. The story of Sawney Bean is one of the most gruesome Scottish legends, the plot of which would not look out of place in any modern horror/slasher movie. Evidence suggests the tale dates to the early 18th century. Alexander Sawney Bean was - legend tells - the head of an incestuous cannibalistic family, who oversaw a 25-year reign of murder and robbery from a hidden sea cave on the Ayrshire/Galloway coast in the 15th century. The cave most readily associated with Sawney and his nefarious clan is close to Ballantrae on Bennane head in Ayrshire, although other sea caves along the Ayrshire and Galloway coast have also been associated with the story.

There are numerous written sources detailing the account of Sawney and his family, and it has been suggested that the legend has its roots in real events, although this is unlikely as will be outlined later in this article. The Legend Sawney Bean was born in the late 14th century, in a small East Lothian village not ten miles from Edinburgh. Sawney Bean and his Family. Sawney Bean: most prolific serial killer of all time.

The Newgate Calendar: Sawney Bean. An incredible Monster who, with his Wife, lived by Murder and Cannibalism in a Cave. Executed at Leith with his whole Family in the Reign of James I THE following account, though as well attested as any historical fact can be, is almost incredible; for the monstrous and unparalleled barbarities that it relates; there being nothing that we ever heard of, with the same degree of certainty, that may be compared with it, or that shews how far a brutal temper, untamed by education, may carry a man in such glaring and horrible colours. Sawney Bean was born in the county of East Lothian, about eight or nine miles eastward of the city of Edinburgh, some time in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, whilst King James I. governed only in Scotland. His parents worked at hedging and ditching for their livelihood, and brought up their son to the same occupation. How was it possible they should be detected, when not one that saw them ever saw anybody else afterwards? Sawney Bean - A Scottish Horror Story | Vacation Scotland.

A great thing about a Vacation Scotland tour is that it takes you to corners of the country that perhaps you would never venture to otherwise. As well as scenery and history, what I love as much as anything are the local tales and folklore – and no tale is more bizarre, indeed more gruesome than the one encountered upon taking a trip to Ayrshire and the southwest. As well as all the usual stops like Robert Burns’ Country at Alloway, Culzean Castle (ancient seat of the Kennedy family) and the beautiful forests of Galloway, the Ayrshire trail also throws up some surprises; and one is the story of the ruthless, cruel and frightening figure of Sawney Bean; and it’s not a tale for the faint hearted. Along the Ayrshire coast near the town of Girvan the cliffs are fairly spectacular and full of caves – some of which were still inhabited up until the 1970s (albeit by strange bearded hermits), sometimes by whole families: and not all were cute and cuddly.

The Horrible Tale of Sawney Bean. Sources: from a collection of historical tales and folklore connected with the south of Scotland. Originally printed in a "broadsheet" sold on English and Scottish street corners, (like modern tabloids) round the year c.1660. Foreward: The following account, though as well attested as any historical fact can be, is almost incredible, for the monstrous and unparalleled barbarities that it relates; there being nothing we ever heard of, with the same degree of certainty, that may be compared with it, or that shows how far a brutal temper, untamed by education, and knowledge of the world, may carry a man in such glaring and horrible colours.

The Story Sawney Bean was born in the county of East Lothian, about eight miles eastward of the city of Edinburgh, in the reign of James I of Scotland. Sawney's father was a hedger and ditcher and brought up his son to the same laborious employment. Sawney's Family Then, even worse and even more unimaginable incidents began to occur. Sawney's Cave. Legacies - Myths and Legends - Scotland - South-West Scotland - Sawney Bean: Scotland's Hannibal Lecter - Article Page 1. Knowledge Base - Sawney Bean.

FW Horror: Selections from the Vault. The Tale of the Sawney Beanes posted to soc.culture.celtic [from "The People Eaters," in The Worlds Strangest Crimes, by C.E. Maine] From time to time in the course of human history natural depravity plumbs new depths—and not only during wars. The Sawney Beane case in the early seventeenth century concerned a family that lived in a cave and chose murder, cannibalism, and incest as its way of life. For twenty-five years this family, rejecting all accepted standards of human behaviour and morality, carried on a vicious guerrilla war against humanity. The case is simple enough, though scarcely credible, and has been well authenticated. As soon as he was old enough to look after himself he decided to leave home and live on his wits.

Home turned out to be a cave in a cliff by the sea, with a strip of yellow sand as a forecourt when the tide was out. This he and his wife proceeded to do. Naturally, these abductions created intense alarm in the area. The killings and cannibalism became habit. Sawney Bean: Scotland's Cannibal | Local Legends. Posted in Weird Beliefs > Local Legends | 0 Comments Stories of a cave-dwelling, psychopathic tribe of cannibals continues to draw visitors to this remote corner of Galloway to see the cave in which Alexander "Sawney" Bean and his incestuous, murderous family are said to have lived. Said to have been born sometime in the early 1500s and the son of a ditch digger, the young Bean soon discovered that honest toil and labour was not for him and he left home to take up a life less ordinary.

Falling in with a woman with similar tastes and proclivities, he took up residence in a cave near Ballantrae where they would spend the next 25 years committing countless atrocities. The couple soon began to breed, eventually having eight sons, six daughters, eighteen grandsons and fourteen granddaughters. The clan lived a ghoulish life - robbing men, women and children alike. The wife was fatally wounded, but the man held off the Beans until a party of fair goers was attracted by the commotion. Sawney Bean, the caveman cannibal - News. FORGET Silence of the Lambs or Friday The Thirteenth. If you are born in Scotland you grow up inured to stories of madmen and murderers. After all you may well have been lulled to sleep by the retelling of the real-life chiller of Sawney Bean and his monstrous brood. As the story goes, there was once a young idler who went by the name of Sawney Bean. This 18th century ruffian ran away from home having decided that his father’s profession of hedger and ditcher was altogether too much like hard work.

Bean found himself a woman as corrupt as himself and they made their home in a cave near Ballantrae on the Ayrshire coast, thus saving themselves rent money. Lest images of wheat, turnips, fish and rabbits come to mind. The years passed and the family grew. Eventually the local populace noticed the alarming loss of neighbours and friends and set about hunting down the miscreants. One day a man and his wife were riding home together from a fair, the story goes. The family was arrested. Sawney Bean’s clan of cannibals. According to most accounts, Alexander ‘Sawney’ Bean was a Scottish farm labourer born in about 1530 in Galloway.

Soon after his marriage, and for reasons unknown, Sawney and his wife moved to live in the Bennane Cave. This cavern is over 200 metres deep and the entrance is covered by the sea at high tide. From this lair Bean ventured out to ambush, murder and rob unwary travellers. The bodies were brought back to the cave where they were butchered and eaten. Thus no evidence of the crimes was left. In time his eight sons grew old enough to help him in this work. However, the tale can be traced back only to London chapbooks more than 150 years after the events they claim to describe. However, it is possible that tales of Sawney Bean were based on the tale of an undeniably real cannibal-robber named Christie Cleek. Sawney Bean. The son of a hedger and ditcher, Alexander Bean was said to have been lazy and dishonest and married to a woman with a similar reputation. The couple were forced out of their native area and settled eventually in a cave near Ballantrae in Ayrshire.

It is said they had many children and eventually through incest, their family increased in size to almost fifty. The rocky and inaccessible coastline where they lived meant that there existence went almost unnoticed. The local authorities accused and executed several inn-keepers and vagrants during this time in the local area as travellers (some stories talk of hundreds of people) began going missing, without any sign of the disappearances stopping. After one potential victim escaped and reported the incident, a full scale search for the family got underway. It may be a shock to learn that there is absolutely no evidence to support the Bean myth. Cannibals - Sawney Bean - Scotland - Murder UK. Legend of fact, we will probably never know! Alexander Sawney Bean was (so legend tells us} the head of an incestuous cannibalistic family, who oversaw a 25-year reign of murder and robbery from a hidden sea cave on the Ayrshire coast in the 15th century.

The cave most readily associated with Sawney and his clan is close to Ballantrae on Bennane head in Ayrshire, although other sea caves along the Ayrshire and Galloway coast have also been associated with the story. There are numerous written sources detailing the account of Sawney and his family, and it has been suggested that the legend has its roots in real events. The tale appears in full and lurid detail in the 'Historical and Traditional Tales Connected with the South of Scotland' by John Nicholson in 1843. Little is known for certain about his early life, however Sawney Bean is believed to have been born in East Lothian in the late 15th century, and was a tanner by trade.

Fact or fiction ?? Have your say in our USER FORUM >> Sawney Bean the cannibal – all a product of English propaganda - News. HIS dishes were fresh, organic and served with a novel twist that would unsettle the stomach of even the hardiest bon viveur. The tale of Sawney Bean, the culinary cannibal, may have done more damage to Scots cuisine than the deep-fried Mars Bar, but in fact he was an English invention designed to portray the Scots as depraved savages unable to distinguish between la carte and the awful and illegal. It was believed that Bean, a forerunner of Gordon Ramsay when it came to an aggressive attitude in the kitchen – or cave as it was then – was said to be the head of a large family of cannibals who perused the highways of the Ayrshire coast, as we would the aisles of a supermarket, in search of Sunday lunch.

The story has gone on to inspire movies such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, which both involve cannibalistic families in quiet rural settings. "The monstrous figure of Sawney was probably an English invention. In Search of Sawney Bean. I am standing on a grey slate star, embedded in the pavement of Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

Today, this spot looks like any other bit of Heritage Britain, only with extra shortcake. Five hundred years ago, if legends are to be believed, it was very different: this was the site where Britain's first and greatest mass murderer was imprisoned; a man so evil his entire family was burned alive, alongside the psychopathic paterfamilias. This notorious fellow was Alexander 'Sawney' Bean. Gazing down at the sidewalk star, I think back to where I first encountered him. I was ten years old, and thumbing through my Christmas present – a copy of the 1973 Guinness Book of Records. Amidst the entries on tallest men and swiftest surgeons, I found a chilling and tantalising snippet, claiming that Britain's worst ever serial killer was one 'Sawney Bean'.

A Scottish cannibal in a cave? "The family's terrible and bloody method was this. Unsurprisingly, such bestial atrocities caused an outcry. End. Sawney Bean – fact or fiction? SAWNEY Bean the infamous Scottish cannibal lived in a cave just outside the South Ayrshire village of Girvan where my Mum was born. His gruesome murder and robbery happened mere miles from the area my family has lived for centuries. Come to think of it, my ancestors may have known or been one of Sawney Bean’s victims. Better still, maybe they were part of the local mob that hunted down this murderous clan. All this depends, of course, whether Sawney Bean actually existed and is not just an elaborate bogeyman story. I’m heading for Scotland this Christmas.

It will be the first time I’ll be in Girvan for eight years, so I was looking at the local Girvan Online website today refreshing my memory about the fine little toon. There’s a section on the website about local history and it got me thinking about Sawney Bean. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of evidence whether Sawney Bean and his clan actually existed though.

Legacies - Myths and Legends - Scotland - South-West Scotland - Sawney Bean: Scotland's Hannibal Lecter. Sawney Bean. Sawney Bean: Myth or Myth. Sawney Bean - girvan-online.net. Sawney Bean's Cave. Cannibals Cave Tour of Sawney Beans cave Stranraer scottish accent. Sawney Bean's Cave. Lord of Darkness (2012. How 'Sawney' Bean went from an Ayrshire cave to global infamy. Home. Director Ricky Wood discusses David Hayman-starring horror Sawney: Flesh of Man. Sawney Bean set for the silver screen - Local Headlines - Carrick Gazette. Who was Sawney Bean? Ballad of Sawney Bean | The little known tale of Sawney Bean’s daughter - Lifestyle - Carrick Gazette. Sawney Bean at The Edinburgh Dungeon. Sawney Beans Restaurant | Restaurants in Dumfries.