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18 June 2014
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Myths and Legends
Frontispiece to the Newgate Calendar
Sawney Bean: Scotland's Hannibal Lecter

Alexander “Sawney” Bean was purportedly born in East Lothian, far away from the remote Ayrshire coast where he achieved infamy. The son of a hedger and ditcher, he followed in his father’s footsteps, but soon discovered an aversion to hard work and absconded from his parents to Ayrshire. It was here he fell in with a woman as disinclined to honest living as he was, Black Agnes Douglas.

Legend puts it that they had settled in Ballantrae until Black Agnes was denounced as a witch, whereupon the couple left the town and took up inhabitance in a remote cave on the coast north of Ballantrae. This cave was to become their home for the next twenty-five years, as they began their murderous career. Their plan involved ambushing travellers on the road, robbing them of their possessions, murdering them and eating their remains.


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