The Hills Have eyes is, according to Mr Wes
Craven, said to be inspird by the Sawney Bean story...and this is
Alexander 'Sawney' Bean(e) was
the storied patriarch of a forty-eight member clan in 16th century Scotland brutally
executed for the mass murder and cannabilisation of over a
was born in East Lothian during the 16th century. His father was a ditch digger and hedge trimmer, and Bean
tried to take up the family trades but quickly realised that he had little taste
for honest labour. He left home with a vicious woman who apparently shared his inclinations. The
couple ended up at a coastal cave in Bannane Head, near Galloway,
where they lived undiscovered
for some twenty-five years.
Their many children and grandchildren were products of incest and
lawlessness. The brood came to include eight sons, six daughters, eighteen
grandsons and fourteen granddaughters. Lacking the gumption for honest labour,
the clan thrived by laying careful ambushes at night to rob and murder
individuals or small groups. The bodies were brought back to the cave where they
were dismembered and cannibalised. Leftovers were pickled, and discarded body
parts would sometimes wash up on nearby beaches.
The body parts and disappearances did not go unnoticed by the local
villagers, but the Beans stayed in the caves by day and took their victims at
night. The clan was so secretive that the villagers were not aware of the forty
eight murderers living nearby. In a frenetic quest for justice, the townspeople lynched several innocents,
and the disappearances continued. Suspicion often fell on local innkeepers since
they were the last to see many of the missing people alive.
One fateful night, the Beans ambushed a married couple riding from a fair on
one horse, but the man proved a tough opponent, deftly holding off the clan with
sword and pistol. Unfortunately, they fatally mauled the wife when she fell to
the ground in the conflict. Before they could take the resilient husband, a
large group of fairgoers appeared on the trail and the Beans fled.
With the Beans' existence finally revealed to the world, it was not long
before King James VI o Scotland heard of the atrocities and decided to lead a manhunt with a team
of four hundred men and several bloodhounds, soon finding the Beans' cave in
Bannane Head. The cave was rife with human remains, having been the scene of a
thousand plus murders and cannibalistic acts.
The clan was captured alive and taken in chains to the Tolbooth
Jail in Edinburgh, then transferred to Leith
or Glasgow where they were promptly executed without trial; the men had their
hands and feet severed and were allowed to bleed to death, and the women and
children, after watching the men die, were burned alive.
The town of Girvan, located near the
crime scene, has another legend about the cannibal clan. It is said that one of
Bean's daughters eventually left the clan and settled in Girvan, where she
planted the Hairy Tee. After her family's capture, the daughter's identity was revealed by
angry locals who hanged her from the bough of the Hairy Tree.........