Who was Alexander “Sawney” Bean, the cannibal of Scotland?

There is no certainty that this story is completely true, but it could be at least partially true. In any case it is part of Scottish folklore and if you visit Edinburgh you will encounter this name.

More than 1. 000 people were killed and cannibalized by the clan of 45 members of Alexander “Sawney” Bean in Scotland in 1500. Re James VI sent a search expedition to find Bean and his clan members, who were subsequently executed.

He appears to have been born in East Lothian, which is near Edinburgh. Bean tried to follow in his father’s footsteps as a hedge trimmer, but soon realized he wasn’t cut out for it.

He went to live in a cave with a woman named Black Agnes Douglas who was accused of being a witch. They lived for 25 years in this cave, where they had 8 sons and 6 daughters and a ridiculous number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As there was no one else, the grandchildren were obviously a product of incest.

To survive they captured travellers, but not only did they rob them, they took them to the cave where they ate them. They went ‘hunting’ at night, while during the day they were well hidden in their cave.

The locals noticed that there was something abnormal with several people missing and started looking for the alleged culprits.

Locals lynched several innocent people in search of justice, but they disappearances continued.

Once the king learned of their existence, he commanded an expedition with 400nmen and numerous hunting dogs to find them. The animals were instrumental in leading them to their hidden cave; on Bennane Head.

Entering the cave by torchlight, the researchers discovered the Bean clan surrounded by human bodies, limbs in barrels and stolen antiques and jewellery. There are two versions, the first says that the king’s soldiers blew up the entrance to the cave and the Bean family suffocated inside. The second says they were arrested, tortured and executed in Edinburgh.

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