Sawney Bean - Scotland's Most Infamous
'Sawney' Bean was allegedly born in East
Lothian in Scotland in the 16th century, but
the debate still reigns as to whether he did
in fact exist or was just part of the
folklore of the area.
it that he left his family behind and took
up with a vicious woman in a cave near
Bannane, shying away from a decent day's
work and instead preferring to lie in wait
for passersby who would then be murdered and
robbed. But their crimes did not end with
such gruesome assaults.
victims would be taken back to the cave,
thought to have been up to 200 yards deep,
where Sawney Bean and his wife and
family would eat the flesh from the bones of
the poor unfortunate. Items would be pickled
for later use and stored away, whilst it is
rumoured that the bones of victims would
wash up on the local beaches.
grew to as large as 48 through over 20 years
of incest, and included a great number of
grandchildren for Sawney Bean and his
wife. All of them indulged in the murder and
cannibalism of the unsuspecting travellers
to that region.
Their luck finally ran out one
night when they assaulted a
married couple returning from a
fair, but the man was skilled in
combat and managed to kill
Sawney Bean's wife before
the murderous clan fled, chased
by a crowd of passing fairgoers.
This brought them to the
attention of the King of
Scotland, James VI, who
instructed 400 men and hunting
dogs to search the countryside
for the lair of Sawney Bean.
When it was discovered, all of
them were taken prisoner and
sent to the Tolbooth prison in
Edinburgh where they were
executed. The men had their
genitals, hands and feet removed
before being allowed to bleed to
death. The women were burned
And so ended the gruesome deeds
of Scotland's most notorious
cannibal, Sawney Bean.