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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

‘The Hills Have Eyes’ True Story Explored in Bloody Disgusting’s Podcast “Insidious Inspirations”

This is the true story of The Hills Have Eyes

In 1974, Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre shocked the world with its family of cannibalistic killers lurking in rural Texas. A few years later, in 1977, horror legend Wes Craven released The Hills Have Eyes, a film about a brutal struggle between a suburban family and a mutant cannibal clan in the Nevada Desert. This was only three years before Jack Ketchum released Off Season, a controversial book about a group of New York yuppies falling prey to cave-dwelling cannibals in Maine.

It’s a story we’ve heard a thousand times, and we’re likely to hear it a thousand times more. Bad things happen to people who stray from the path and venture into the untamed wilderness. There’s something about these places that turns humans into animals – predators and prey. Those who eat, and those who are eaten. It feels like an idea as old as time, but if this show has taught you anything, it’s that every horror story needs to start somewhere.

Welcome to the legend of the Sawney Bean Clan, a group of infamous cannibals, and history’s most terrifying family. I’m Nichole Goodnight, and this is Insidious Inspirations

True Crime has always been popular. Even back in the 1800s, the citizens of foggy old London looked forward to the latest issue of The Newgate Calendar, a publication printed by the local Newgate Prison. The Calendar detailed the crimes and executions of notorious criminals, sparing none of the grisly details in the process. In fact, the magazine was so gory and salacious that it came with the subtitle “The Malefactors’ Bloody Register.”  Fans of the Newgate Calendar were no strangers to murder, torture, beheadings, and slaughters, but one day, a story that hit the Calendar’s pages rocked the readers to their core: The Tale of the Sawney Bean Clan.

The headline read, “An incredible Monster who, with his Wife, lived by Murder and Cannibalism in a Cave. Executed at Leith with his whole Family in the Reign of James I.”

This was a period of London’s history so brimming with violence that Jack The Ripper would soon hit the scene, but the details of this story still left people shocked and appalled. The Bean Clan’s crimes were sickening; it seemed almost unthinkable that a group of human beings could commit these atrocities. After hearing the tale, the readers of the Newgate Calendar were haunted by one morbid question: How could a man and his family turn into monsters like this? And to have any hope of answering that question, we need to go back to the beginning. According to most accounts, Sawney – born Alexander Bean – grew up in the Scottish county of East Lothian sometime in the late 1500s. His home county was fewer than ten miles East of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, but was still relatively rural. King James VI was reigning over Scotland at the time, while Queen Elizabeth I ruled in England.

Sawney had humble beginnings – his parents were manual laborers, though opinions differ on whether they were ditch-diggers, tanners, or hedgers. While he would later become synonymous with murder and cannibalism, young Sawney’s greatest crime was laziness. His parents, being hard-working folk of the land, tried to train him in their trade, but Sawney wasn’t interested. No matter what he encountered in life, he always wanted to take the easy way out.

As he grew up, like most budding serial killers, he began displaying violent tendencies. He also enjoyed committing petty crimes like robbery and theft to make ends meet. Sawney discovered he could make more in an afternoon of robbing than in a month of honest work, so why resign himself to back-breaking labor on the fields? Young Sawney had all the talents of a world-class cutpurse, and he intended to put those talents to good use.

Much to the dismay of his parents, Sawney continued down his depraved path, becoming an increasingly dangerous man. But now, he had a different kind of problem on his hands: He was getting lonely. After all, what’s the point in having all the stolen riches in the world if you’ve got nobody to spend them with? But Sawney couldn’t settle down with just anyone. He needed a bride who understood his passions, and was capable of being every bit as ruthless and violent as him. And lucky for Sawney, he found his perfect match.

Enter Agnes Douglas, nicknamed “Black Agnes”  by her fellow villagers when they started accusing her of witchcraft. Her nickname is eerily similar to “Black Annis”, a child-eating witch from English folklore. And according to her neighbors, she was just as nasty as the name suggests. This reputation would turn most potential suitors away, but of course, Sawney was smitten. He and Black Agnes would soon be married: Mr. and Mrs. Bean, the power couple from hell. They decided to ditch their parents and elope further into the Scottish countryside, where their joint criminal career would finally begin…

Learn all about the Beane clan’s cannibalistic exploits in this week’s episode of Insidious Inspirations, telling the true story of The Hills Have Eyes. If you like the show, consider subscribing on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

The post ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ True Story Explored in Bloody Disgusting’s Podcast “Insidious Inspirations” appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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