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Sawney Bean

Sawney Bean.

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Sawney Bean

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  1. Sawney Bean

  2. Sawney Bean was born in East Lothian just outside of Edinburgh some time in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. His parents repaired ditches for a living and brought up Sawney to do the same. But he was prone to idleness and did not want any honest employment. Sawney left his parents, and ran away to the coast, taking with him a woman as lazy as himself. These two took lived in a cave on the shore of the county of Galloway. They lived there almost twenty-five years without going into any city, town, or village.

  3. Meet the family: Sawney Bean and his wife had many children and by means of inbreeding the family became a gang of 46 people; being: 8 sons 6 daughters 18 grandsons 14 granddaughters

  4. Earning a Living! They robbed and killed travellers. The bodies of their victims were eaten and the remains were dried and salted, and kept in the cave as an insurance against days of famine. There is little doubt that Bean did not eat human flesh because he liked it but just because it was free; he killed for economic reasons only.

  5. Overconfidence... None of the victims lived to tell about the Bean Family, but the growing amount of missing people was noticed by the people in the nearby villages. The Bean Family also became more reckless: they came to a point where they had too much meat to stock, so they got rid of "unwanted" arms and legs by throwing them into the sea. When these remains were found by horrified villagers, the locals started to calculate the exact amount of missing travellers in the area.

  6. Methods The Beans never attacked groups of more than 6 people as a large group was too hard to ambush. The victims were killed on the spot and boned for their meat. The money found on the victims was probably used to buy bread and vegetables as a man can't live on nothing but human meat for 25 years ...

  7. Noticed at last... At last the authorities realised that there was a group of robbers in the area. They used their favourite investigation tactics: people were executed at random in the hope that the men they were looking for were among those executed ... As most of the missing people were travellers, a lot of innkeepers were executed. These random executions were good enough reason for most villagers to leave the area.

  8. They Made a Mistake The Bean Family was caught by coincidence: They attacked a couple on their way home from a fair. The woman's throat was cut and some family members started to suck the blood and rip the belly open to remove the entrails. The man had more luck as he stayed sitting on his horse. While he was fighting for his life, another group of travellers showed up and the attackers ran away. The man rushed to Glasgow and reported the crime. So after 25 years the Glasgow authorities finally heard about the murderous family. King James also heard about the attack and decided to take care of the business personally and went on his way with 400 soldiers and a large pack of bloodhounds.

  9. Captured The bloodhounds get all the credit for the capture of the Beans. The dogs could not ignore the strong smell of flesh coming from a cave. The soldiers entered it and found a horrible scene: dried parts of human bodies were hanging everywhere and the family were smoking strips of flesh. The Beans made no attempt whatsoever to defend their territory. They were captured alive and taken to Edinburgh where they were imprisoned in the Tollbooth.

  10. Punishment? The Beans were sentenced quickly without a trial and executed. They were given a punishment fitting their crime. The execution was a slow one: The men bled to death after their hands and legs were cut off and the women were burned alive after they were forced to watch the execution of the men. They all died without a sign of remorse and kept cursing ... till their last breath.

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