The crimes: murder, torture, cannibalism
The perpetrator: Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed
The accomplices: Family, friends, husband
The victims: up to 650 women, low and noble birth
If ever there was a woman in history who fit the topic of Halloween so perfectly, it would be the Blood Countess. Elizabeth Bathory is, no word of a lie, a VERY f***ed up lady. She is the most prolific female serial killer in history, with reports of up to 650 victims (but she was only charged with 80 murders in court).
You know you have issues (and married someone really messed up) when you ask for a torture chamber and your husband happily builds you one. Talk about double trouble, Bathory and her husband reportedly both performed heinous acts on young women in the depths of their home Csejte Castle. She also apparently had family members that taught her Satanism and torture techniques and her friends would help her abduct women. Not exactly an appropriate group activity.
Bathory was from a quite powerful and prominent family, was intelligent and competent and ran her husband’s estate and castle while he was off fighting against the Ottomans. Since she was only attacking lowborn girls, her crimes were largely ignored by anyone with real power due to her family being so powerful. It seems that the only reason anyone decided to pursue prosecution was because she upped the ante and started to abduct the daughters of nobles after her husband died.
She is compared most often with Vlad the Impaler and was apparently really creative in her torture methods, reminding me far too much of Hannibal Lecter…Vampire, cannibal, torturer, murderer, all titles equally apply to this powerful and twisted woman. In many reports she bathed in the blood of her victims, ate their flesh and drank their blood, all in her quest to retain her youth.
When she was finally investigated and brought to trial there were over 300 witnesses. It’s hard to tell where fact and fiction separate in her story, how much was panic and how much was truth. When they investigated the castle there were several dead and dying women and girls found, but there are still those who argue that it was all a plot to take down the Bathory’s due to their Calvinist religion.
Whatever the truth may be, she has fascinated people over over 400 years. She has appeared in numerous books, a dozen plays, video games, songs and over three dozen movies. She was also a rather popular topic during the vampire craze in the 18th century. It was during that time that the story of the blood baths and consumption of blood became more prominent in her mythos.
A terrifying, disturbing and interesting woman to be sure. I’m off to sleep with the lights on tonight :P
Thanks for stopping by!