As my friends know, my passion is History...and I'm fascintated by all the strange tales we find in the darkest,loneliest back alleys of the past...stories full of horror, humour, and hatred.....stories from The Dark Side...and here's Sawney Bean!!
Sawney ( Alexander) Bean was the semi-mythical head of a 48 member clan in !5th-16th Century Scotland. ...He was born in East Lothian in the 1500's, his father was a ditch digger and hedge trimmer, but Sawney quickly realised that he had little taste for hard work.He met up with a woman, Black Agnes Douglas, who shared his ideas about avoiding hard labour, and the couple ended up living in a coastal cave between Girvan and Ballantrae.

They attracted a group of ne'er do wells into their community and they settled into a life of easy living. They preyed upon individuals and small
groups of travellers, robbing them and taking them back to their cave, there to murder them and eat their body parts.Eventually, the Bean clan numbered 48 men, women and several children-many of these were the result of incest.

Local people noted the number of disappearances, but the clan remained very secretive, only emerging at night to carry out their diabolical deeds.
Suspicions grew that something evil was happening... One night, a farmer and his wife were riding home from a fair.They were attacked by Sawney and his people, but the man was skilled in combat and defended himself with sword and pistol.His wife was attacked by the women of the clan, and was fatally wounded,but the farmer was aided by the appearance of others, returning home after the fair, and Sawney and his people were chased off.

Investigations were begun in the area-some accounts claim that search parties led by King James V1 of Scotland discovered the cave of Sawney Bean. Horrific sights greeted them...joints of human bodies hung from the roof of the cave and choice body parts had been pickled for future feasting....piles of the personal possessions of victims cluttered the corners of the cave and above everything was the smell of putrefaction and corruption....

The clan members were all captured, and taken to prison in Edinburgh. The men had their genitals cut off, their hands and feet severed and were allowed to bleed to death. The women and children were forced to watch this and were then burned alive...

True, or myth?
There are no mentions of hundreds of people disappearing in that mention of Sawney Bean from that official records of the tribe's punishment or death...and it should be remembered that this was the time of the Jacobite risings, and all Scots were portrayed as evil, murdering thugs who would gladly kill the English in their beds!!Maybe this was propaganda against the Scottish people, in the name of Sawney Bean?...
Some historians think that the story did have its basis in fact, but several centuries earlier than the dates we're given....perhaps a folk memory of human sacrifice in the distant past? a fascinating piece of History's Dark Side!
Goodnight...sleep tight!

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Published in People & Events


  1. waylander

    A foul slur on the good name of Scots everywhere!!! I shall immediately report this racist abuse to Rob and have you expelled from the site!!!!!

    Good one Maize. I love to read fiction dressed up as fact.

    1. Maize Post author

      Please don’t report me, my old, good, Scots friend! I’d love to uncover more from the dark Side of History if people enjoy the stories- they fascinate me!
      Thank you!

  2. Debbie4958

    I too love history Maize . Never heard this story before . Great reading at 3.06am home alone in bed….will never get to sleep now…haha. It reminds me of the story of Sweeney Todd the barber. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. nmod

    Same here ! Awake in bed almost 3.30 am and after meditating about love , being love and sharing love …this gruesome story ! Oh dear ,now I will have to start meditating again ! God help me , I need to sleep !

  4. starlette

    Well I have to say Maize, between you and your buddy Way ( the Scottish one who like posting horror vids ) you do a grand job of keeping honest citizens from their sleep…….thanks…lol xx

  5. roseinbloom

    Horrors, History is full of them, but this seems to be totally unsubstantiated or cannot be called history at all. Horrors I try to avoid.Please spare me gory details.

    1. Maize Post author

      Oh dear, I suggest you don’t read anything like this again! As I was trying to say, there are many dark places in the past, where oral stories and myths get mixed up. It’s like a game of Chinese Whispers when you were a child, and it’s sometimes fun to look at the dark bits. The story was reported in the press at the time of the Jacobite Rising, but as I said, it was probably done to make the Scots look bad.
      Look for nice stories in future Rose. Happy reading!

  6. macathy

    Enjoyed reading that,I must admit I read it in the morning then doesn’t effect my sleep.Mat effect my thoughts of the Scottish ….!!!!

  7. shadow

    A lady after my own heart :D. I love stories like this maize. Whether they be true or false it doesn’t really matter to me…There’s no smoke without fire so the saying goes!, somewhere deep in history these myths were believed and we who love history, still love reading about them today. You have made me want to start my blogs again Maize. I hope we hear more from you on this topic. Thank you for taking me back into the unknown it. 😀

  8. Maize Post author

    So pleased you liked it shads- yes, I’m fascinated by the edges of history-what might have happened, what might have been…its an unknown country! I’d love to hear more of your blogs!

  9. shadow

    😀 :D. I will leave the myth’s to you Maize. There is room on the blogs for the two of us lol. I mostly blog about famous people or weird happenings. I have always been a nosey so and so, and love to expose dirty deeds done by the famous. 😀

  10. leafofgold

    Too scary for me. I guess I”ll go and give Edgar Allen Poe a peek. To calm me down.. Great story Maize.

  11. leafofgold

    Many of these Scottish myths and horror stories traveled with the early immigrants and settled in the Appalachian Mountain range through out the southern region of the United States. We hear them at Highlander fairs all over the country.
    Once again thank you, Maize