Nightmare Fuel — Sawney Bean

Hello Addicts!

Cannibal families have long been a staple of horror movies.  Some of the more famous ones being The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of a Thousand Corpses, and The Hills Have Eyes.  Today I thought I’d share a spotlight on one of the famous cases that contributed in large part to those movies, that of Sawney Bean.

According to the legends, Sawney Bean lived with his family in a seaside cave in Scotland around the Fifteenth or Sixteenth Century. They were an incestuous family that consisted of forty-eight people: Sawney, his wife, their fourteen children, and thirty-two grandchildren.  The family lived off the land and the flesh and blood of any poor soul who wandered too close.  Stories say that, after they killed their prey, they would then butcher the bodies and pickle the flesh they didn’t use right away.  The family managed to avert capture, aided by the cave entrance being covered during high tide, for years.  According to some accounts, they murdered around one thousand people before their capture and eventual execution.

As gruesome and possible as this legend is, many historians are unsure of the story’s validity.  They cite the rampant anti-Scottish slant that fits a little too well with England’s view of the Scots at the time.  Sawney was a common generic name at the time to describe anyone from Scotland, much like Paddy when describing the Irish.  The one consistency that remains with the story is it’s ability to frighten, making it a good boogeyman story for children.

Until next time Addicts…

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

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