Bounty hunters will go to any length to catch a criminal, so long as they get paid. Whether it’s movies about the historic tales from the wild west, or cyborg-hunting in a futuristic universe, stories about bounty hunters have captivated audiences for hundreds of years. But not many people know that the true stories are equally as thrilling, and sometimes even better than fiction.
10. John of the Priests
In the 1500s, stories of a legendary bounty hunter called Seán na Sagart, or “John of the Priests,” circulated throughout the United Kingdom. Irish Catholic priests called him a demon of death, because they knew he would eventually come for them.
His real name was John Mullowney. As a young man, he spent most of his time partying and drinking. People say he was great fun to be around, but he had to steal in order to fund this lifestyle. He was eventually caught as a horse thief, and told that he would either need to face the gallows or become a priest hunter.
At the time, Queen Mary was a Protestant, and she wanted to get rid of the Catholic religion from her kingdom. Priests were given the option to obey the Queen and convert to Protestantism, but if they refused, they were either imprisoned or sentenced to death.
Mullowney agreed to take on the job, and his experience as a thief made him very good at taking people by surprise. Even though his reputation preceded him, no one actually knew what he looked like. He would often show up to the church for confession and stab the priest while in the small box. After killing dozens of priests, he was eventually caught and killed by a group of angry Catholics. But even after Mullowney’s death, the name “Seán na Sagart” was given to all priest hunters, because they wanted to continue his legacy.