The poor were so hungry they were willing to trade their souls for some sin-soaked bread.
The Worst Paid Freelance Gig in History Was Being the Village Sin Eater
Sin eaters risked their souls to soak up the sins of the dead.
by Natalie Zarrelli November
“When a loved one died in parts of England, Scotland, or Wales in the 18th and 19th centuries, the family would grieve, place bread on the chest of the deceased, and call for a man to sit in front of the body. The family of the deceased watched on as this man, the local professional sin eater, absorbed the sins of the departed’s soul.
The family who hired the sin eater believed that the bread literally soaked up their loved one’s sins; once it was eaten, all the misdeeds were passed on to the hired hand. Once the process was complete, the sin eater’s own soul was heavy with the ill deeds of countless men and women from his village or town.
The sin eater paid a high price to help others drift smoothly into the afterlife: the coin he was given was worth a mere four English pence, the equivalent of a few U.S. dollars today. Usually, the only people who would dare risk their immortal being during such a religious era were the very poor, whose desire for a little bread and drink carried them along….”
For the rest, click here.Share