字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 When you picture iconic rebels of Scottish folklore, you probably picture William Wallace, as seen in Braveheart, charging into crowds of English troops with his blue face-paint and broadsword. What you probably don't picture is a psychopathic, mass-murdering cannibal with a bloodthirsty family that was said to have killed upwards of a thousand victims. We're talking about Alexander “Sawney” Bean, the Scottish King of Cannibalism, and his terrifying brood – the Sawney Bean Cannibal Clan. If you're about to eat, put down the fork and listen in. It's going to get gross. When exactly Sawney Bean and his family operated (if they ever existed at all) is an open question. Some sources have him being born as early as the late twelfth century, while others place him as late as the fifteenth or sixteenth century. The mythic nature of the Bean Cannibal Clan gives it a certain flexibility with the facts, like many other disturbing folkloric figures. America has Mothman, England has Spring-Heeled Jack, and Scotland has Sawney Bean, who's undeniably the most gruesome of the national boogeymen. But, according to most versions of the legend, Bean was born in the Scottish council of East Lothian sometime just before or during the reign of King James VI of Scotland. These were humble beginnings, as he was born to the poor homestead of a farm labourer. Not much is known about his birth family or childhood, but Young Sawney is said to have done manual work like his father when he came of age, digging ditches and trimming hedges. However, things took a turn for the worst when this upstart young gentleman found love. Bean's crush, known as Black Agnes Douglas, was a woman of such low moral fibre that many thought her to be a witch. The two were a match made in hell. Sawney and Black Agnes eloped together, leaving their family and polite society for good. They robbed, fought, and even murdered for fun, like a brutal, Scottish Bonnie and Clyde. This nightmare couple became so feared and scorned that they were forced to live off the grid to avoid being killed by angry mobs or the soldiers tasked with keeping the peace. Where did Sawney and Black Agnes decide to make their new home? If you guessed “a dark, slimy sea cave” then ding, ding, ding, you are correct! The legends say that the two of them settled down across the country in Bennane Cave, by Ballantrae in Ayrshire. This cave wasn't just a glorified crack in the cliff face, either. Bennane Cave was a huge rock formation embedded with a complex series of mile-deep tunnels. The cave mouth would also be flooded twice a day at high-tide, protecting the secret entrance from any outside intrusion. It was the perfect place to have an evil lair, or to start a family. Or, if you're Sawney Bean and Black Agnes, both! Sawney and Agnes got busy in every sense of the phrase – and soon enough, they had fourteen more mouths to feed. If you thought that becoming a father and family man would set Sawney on the straight and narrow, you'd be horrifically wrong. After all, without a real job, Sawney needed to find some way to feed his family. This encouraged him to take his crime game up to the next level. He started to rob and murder even more regularly – and somewhere along the line, Sawney acquired a taste for human flesh. The human-flesh diet was one he quickly got his family to take up, too, setting in motion a chain of events that would make the Sawney Bean Clan the most vicious family of killers in Scottish history. When his children became old enough to take up the family trade (which is to say, murder, robbery, and cannibalism) they joined their mother and father in ambushing lonesome travellers on Scotland's back roads. The Bean Clan would murder these unfortunate passers-by and steal their clothes, cash, and valuables. They would then brutally hack the bodies into quarters before carrying them back to the cave for salting, cooking, and eating. To the untrained eye, it would just seem like the victims simply fell off the face of the earth, not leaving a single trace. Nobody knew that they were keeping the Bean Clan fed. This taboo precursor to the Atkins Diet seemed to be working pretty well for the Bean family, because over their quarter-century reign of violence and terror, their numbers swelled massively. The family's fourteen children bore Sawney and Black Agnes eighteen grandsons and fourteen granddaughters, all the products of incest. The cave soon became home to 46 brutal, flesh-hungry savages of varying ages, unified in one purpose: Killing, robbing, and eating anyone who dared to come near Bennane Cave. With his new horde of loyal and hungry relatives, Sawney Bean upped his game yet again, organising brutal attacks on whole groups of travellers. They would meticulously track and stalk their victims, waiting for the exact moment to strike. And when they finally did strike, it was like something out of a living nightmare. Picture this: You're a small trading convoy, it's perhaps you, some family members, and a few business partners. You're transporting goods across the highlands to trade. Perhaps you've brought a weapon or two, just as a precautionary measure. It'll be enough to frighten off one or two opportunistic bandits, surely. Then, as you're walking down a lonely, country road, you hear an almost demonic screaming and howling echoing out from all around you. You're so shocked by the sudden cacophony, you don't know what to do. You freeze, as suddenly shapes come charging in all around you. They don't look like your average highwaymen: There's men, women, and children. They're filthy, bloodstained, crazed. Some wearing tattered fragments of stolen clothes and others completely naked, like the Celtic warriors they descended from. All of them are bearing knives, clubs, or fists. They set upon you in a violent frenzy. Before you and your party can muster up any kind of defence – or even a reaction, beyond screaming and wide-eyed terror – it's too late. Your supplies are looted, and your dismembered corpses are being carried off to Bennane Cave to be salted or pickled. According to the legends of the Bean Clan, this exact horrifying scenario played out hundreds of times over the twenty-five years that the brutal cannibal clan was active. While they were typically extremely skilled at slaughtering whole groups of people without leaving any material evidence, occasionally some terrifying clues to what was truly going on would slip through the net. Leftovers from the Bean Clan's legendary cannibal feasts would sometimes wash out of the cave mouth and end up on Scotland's other shores. People who lived on the coasts would sometimes see cooked or eerily well-preserved limbs appear on the beaches, some covered in human-looking bite marks. The Sawney Bean Clan's activities were even affecting the local economy. When the body parts began to wash up with greater frequency, local authorities realised there must have been some prolific murderers on the loose. Local innkeepers were grilled by ye olde police in connection with the murders, seeing as they seemed like the most likely suspects, considering most of the recent disappearances had been travellers passing through. The pressure got so great that some local businesses even closed up shop for good, unable to cope with the severity of police scrutiny. Not that any of these leads ever led anywhere productive. Meanwhile, the Sawney Bean Clan continued to do what they did best: Murder, robbery, and cannibalism. People were being falsely accused and executed for the Sawney Bean crimes, while these murderous Scots were getting away Scot free, pun intended. Villages near Bennane Cave were becoming ghost towns, as inns closed down and rumours spread that anyone who passed through the area was doomed to disappear and die a horrible death. And, to be fair, could you really say this was inaccurate? The Sawney Bean clan was impressively prolific – by some counts, murdering more people than Gary Ridgway, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and the Zodiac Killer combined. They were setting murderous world records. Of course, when you have such an impressive winning streak, it's unsurprising that you'd eventually let it go to your head. And when you get cocky, you get sloppy. This is exactly what happened one fateful night towards the end of the Bean Clan's tenure. A man and his wife were riding home on horseback from a local fayre and happened to unknowingly wander onto one of the Bean Clan's favourite routes. The two of them were in high spirits, laughing, joking, gleeful from their time at the fayre. If they knew what was about to happen, they probably would have savoured those last few moments together for longer. The hungry, watchful eyes of the Bean Clan were staring at them from the darkness. Just as had happened so many times before, the Sawney Bean Clan emerged from the darkness, ready to slaughter the unsuspecting couple. However, for the first time, even though the Beans had numbers on their side, they were in for a real battle. The husband, as it turned out, was an experienced fighter – packing a sword and a gun that he used to single-handedly fend off the cannibal horde. During the bloody exchange, the wife of the couple tragically fell from the back of the horse, and was gorily dismembered by the Beans. Legend has it that they began tearing out her entrails and eating her alive. This, however, only galvanised the husband's Scottish fighting spirit – bringing out the William Wallace in him, as he continued to valiantly fight the cannibal clan with his pistol and sword. While he probably couldn't have sustained combat for long, the noise of the brawl unfolding alerted thirty nearby villagers. They charged in with their own weapons, forcing the enraged Bean Clan to retreat off into the night. For the first time since the start of this twenty-five-year-long nightmare, their cover had been blown. Survival wasn't enough for the husband. He'd seen these animals slaughter his beloved wife – he wanted justice, he wanted revenge. That's why, as the legend goes, he travelled all the way to Glasgow to request a personal audience with King James (some sources report it being James IV, others report it being James VI. Point is, it was definitely a king called James. Moving on). He told the king his tale of the cave-dwelling cannibals, and the King was so horrified that he pulled together a four-hundred-man hunting party and set out for Bennane Cave himself. The days of the Sawney Bean Clan were officially numbered. King James and his elite cannibal-hunting squad charged into Bennane Cave with a pack of ferocious hunting dogs, overwhelming the Beans with sheer numerical force. The cave looked like a set from a grimy, 1970s horror movie – filled to the brim with stolen items and half-eaten corpses. Meat was pickled in barrels, hanging from hooks, cooking over open fires. The sight was so horrifying that the Beans were immediately hauled out of the cave and dragged back into mainland Scotland, where they were executed without trial. The brutality of the enraged Scottish public almost rivalled that of the family itself – the men, women, and children of the Sawney Bean Clan were alternately dismembered and burned alive. Their reign of terror was finally over, once and for all. This brings the gruesome legend of Sawney Bean and his bloodthirsty family to a close. Was any of this grounded in truth? Well, probably not. There exists no real concrete evidence to prove that Sawney or any of his or his family's crimes ever really happened. The tales of his exploits were only committed to writing hundreds of years after they supposedly happened, leaning more into frightening folklore than fact. Some contemporary scholars, such as Dr. Louise Yeoman, also attribute the figure of Sawney Bean to Anti-Scottish propaganda on behalf of the English monarchy. Even the nickname “Sawney” was popularly used at the time as shorthand for a stereotypical violent Scot. However, even though he was probably never real, Sawney Bean's cannibal clan has since reverberated through pop culture in a massive way. In Scotland, Sawney Bean has made Bennane Cave a popular tourist attraction, allowing locals to profit off of the legend. The story of Sawney Bean also inspired the brutal horror novel “Off Season” by Jack Ketchum and Wes Craven's horror cult-classic “The Hills Have Eyes” – about an American family being stalked by mutant cannibals in the Nevada desert. Even though Sawney Bean and his clan were (thankfully) a product of fiction, the ripples of his dark legend have the power to make us feel just a little bit queasy even today. Thanks for watching this episode of The Infographics Show! You may have lost your appetite for food, but if you have an appetite for more insane cannibal facts, you should watch “Did This Cannibal Couple Eat 30 People?” and “Could You Survive An Emergency By Eating Your Family?” And remember: If ever you're in Scotland, maybe give the local sea caves a wide berth.