The grisly tale of the cannibal butcher
Christie Cleek lived in the reign of David II and he was a butcher from Perth during the 1400s which was a time of struggles like flood, famine and plague. This was around the time of the Black Death, with stories of demonology and witchcraft running rampant. During times of starvation there were harrowing tales of cannibalism and barbarism occurring everywhere, obviously due to the unsustainable and difficult lives of people at the time. Christie and a band of friends lived a life of highway robbery and scavenging to survive these hostile times up in the treacherous foothills of the Grampian Mountains.
When one of the party died, Christie used his skills of butchery and the group feasted on the cooked flesh of their fallen comrade.
Eventually Christie took to attacking weary travellers in the passes between the mountains and then robbing them, when necessary (and possibly due to growing pleasure in the act) eating them and their horses. This story is documented in records around the time when this was alleged to have occurred, the rumours say roughly 30 riders or so met their unfortunate and bloody end at the hands of this desperate group, but realistically we can't know how many poor souls lost their lifes.
Christie has become the foundation for tales such as the legend of Sawney Bean, which has been immortalised in books and even great films like Ravenous or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to name a few. The gruesome story of the Bean family and other fascinating tales of horror can be experienced at the Edinburgh Dungeons, its well worth checking out if anyone has a chance. They say Christie escaped capture and started a new life, however court records show that around that time a husband and wife were apprehended and executed for cannibalism.
Tales of gore filled horror survives and seems to flourish because it appeals to something evil and twisted within the human psyche, was Christie really caught or were there far more undocumented atrocities around this time that the records don't cover?