Simply because one word won't do…

Sawny Bean

Sawney Bean
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Sawny bean


Until today I didn’t know that Alexander “Sawney” Bean is a legendary figure, said to be have been the head of a 45-member clan in Scotland in the 16th century that murdered and cannibalised over 1,000 people in 25 years.

I found this information from Wikipedia, then ChatGPT-4o told me the same stuff.

Sawney Bean is a legendary figure from Scottish folklore, often depicted as the leader of a clan of cannibals that lived in a cave in the Galloway hills during the 15th or 16th century. According to the story, Bean, along with his wife and their large family, would ambush and rob travelers, then bring them back to their cave to be murdered and eaten.

The legend goes that the family thrived on their gruesome activities for over 25 years, with many travelers disappearing in the region. Eventually, the increasing number of missing persons drew the attention of the authorities. A search party was formed, leading to the discovery of the Beans’ hideout, where they found evidence of their crimes, including human remains.

The Beans were captured and taken to Edinburgh, where they were executed without trial. Sawney Bean himself was said to have been executed in a particularly brutal manner, being dismembered and burned.

While the story is popular in Scottish folklore, historians debate its authenticity, suggesting it may have been a tale created to scare people or as anti-Scottish propaganda. There is no concrete historical evidence to support the existence of Sawney Bean or his cannibalistic clan, making it one of the many intriguing, albeit possibly fictional, stories of horror and crime from history.

Then it got worried that it had done something wrong.

This content may violate our usage policies. Did we get it wrong? Please tell us by giving this response a thumbs down.

This didn’t make any sense to me so I wrote back

Regarding: “This content may violate our usage policies. Did we get it wrong? Please tell us by giving this response a thumbs down.” I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do. What you wrote is right. Why does it violate your usage policies?

It then replied

I’m glad you found the information accurate! Sometimes, automated systems may flag content incorrectly due to the nature of certain topics, such as violence or crime, even when discussed in a historical or folkloric context. You don’t need to do anything if you are satisfied with the response. If you feel that the flag was a mistake, giving the response a thumbs up can help indicate that the content was appropriate and helpful. If you have any more questions or need further information, feel free to ask!

but then followed this up with the same warning.

I replied

yeah, but you didn’t offer a thumbs up!

So ChatGPT apologized

I apologize for the confusion. It looks like the interface might have incorrectly flagged the response. If there’s no option to give a thumbs up, just know that the content was intended to be informative and respectful of the historical and folkloric context.

If you have any other questions or need further information about Sawney Bean or any other topic, feel free to ask!

But still didn’t offer a thumbs up.

Meanwhile I asked Bing for some images. Nice fellah isn’t he?

Having found out about Sawney Bean I assumed that Sawney was a variation of Sandy, which is a nickname for Alexander. But Wikipedia tells me otherwise; it’s an English nickname for a Scotsman.

Sampled from Spanish Break.


Last updated:

14th May 2024