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Let’s start with one of the prolific serial killers of all time. She is thought to be one of the inspirations for a monster we have seen in books, movies, and even music…. I am talking about Brahm’s Stoker’s “Dracula.” A creature who craves the blood of humans. 

Who is this woman? Elizabeth Bathory, also known as the Blood Countess. She is thought to have killed over 600 young women, and there have been stories of her using their blood in hopes of remaining forever young. Some say that these stories are all conceptions of people who resented her power because she was a female. You can decide for yourself if she was a murderer or framed by malicious people threatened by her because of her gender.

Elizabeth Bathory’s Childhood

Erzebet, known as Elizabeth, Bathory, was born in 1560 to a prominent family. Her dad was a Baron, and her mom was the niece of the King of Poland. Her ancestors fought alongside Vlad Dracul, who doesn’t need any introduction. Elizabeth suffered from seizures and episodes of rage. This has been thought to be from inbreeding. Her parents were related. People have wondered if this was a prelude to her future sadistic behaviors.

While little girls are playing with dolls, Elizabeth witnessed torture techniques by her family and their officers. One story is that she saw a man accused of theft sewn up in the belly of a dying horse with his head exposed and left for dead.

At age 10-11, she became engaged to Ferenc Nadasdy. They got married at age 15, and he took her name because she was of higher rank. There are accounts that while her husband was getting notoriety being known as The Black Night of Hungary by disemboweling Turkish captives and dancing with their lifeless bodies, Elizabeth started an affair with a peasant, and they had a child. When her husband found out, he had her lover castrated, and his parts and his bod were thrown to a pack of hungry dogs. No one knows what happened to the baby. Some say that Ferenc killed the baby. Others say that the baby was given to a family in the country.

Elizabeth Bathory’s Marriage

The couple did not have children for ten years. This could be due to Ferenc being gone for long periods killing Turkish soldiers. After ten years, they had three daughters, Anna, Orsolya, and Katalin, and a son, Andras. Letters written by or for the Countess show her to be a loving and doting mother. It’s a different story for her servants.

The husband and wife became sadistic masters. Her husband taught her his favorite ways to keep servants in check. Like Paper soaked in oil between toes and lighting it on fire. He was said to have brought her back a torture device to use on servants. A claw placed over a hand to tear and stab them. In 1604, Ferenc died. He came back from war with issues in his legs, and he slowly started deteriorating. It is said that his death caused her to become even more brutal and murderous.

The Blood Countess’ Crimes

Bathory was aided by one of her servants Anna Darvula or known as Dorka. In the past, Dorka was accused of witchcraft and was said to be the most sadistic helper of Bathory. She was thought to have taught new torture techniques to the Countess, as well as partake in the actual acts. Some say she was also the Countess’ lover, but that is speculation that might or might not be accurate. The atrocities that we have heard about started to occur after a servant girl pulled on the Countess’ hair a bit too hard, and it caused Bathory to strike her. The blood of the servant caused some of the lines on her hand to disappear. It was then that she started to believe that the blood of young women, mainly virgins, would help her stop aging. According to over 300 testimonies, Bathory began to torturing and killing local peasant girls who were looking for work. There are stories that she would bathe in the girls’ blood. It got to the point that the locals started hiding their daughters because they knew that if they went to the Countess’ castle, they would never see their daughters again. She, therefore, turned to the daughters of lower gentry who were brought to her to teach them etiquette. 

Bathory and her four servants would do the following atrocities to these young girls:

  1. Severe beatings
  2. Burning or mutilation of hands and genitalia
  3. Biting the flesh off the faces, arms, breasts, and other bodily parts
  4. Freezing to death
  5. Starving of victims

There is even a story that she one unfortunate servant girl cook and eats her own flesh. 

When she turned to the daughters of the nobles, the King finally brought her to justice. A year before Bathory was eventually arrested and put on trial for her evil acts, Dorka died. However, she had four associates still helping her out. In December 1610, Elizabeth and her four accomplices were found guilty. Three of them were executed, and the fourth was sentenced to life imprisonment. Elizabeth herself was not put on trial because of her family’s standing, but she was shut up in her castle, held in solitary confinement in a room whose windows were walled up. She was 54 when she died there in 1614, where she was for three years.

It is thought that there were over 650 victims between 1585 and 1610. This is why Countess Elizabeth Bathory is believed to be one of the most prolific serial killers of all time.

Do you believe that she was set up, or do you think she actually did it? I tend to believe that she actually did it. I can’t imagine 300 people making those stories up, but you know, the King and nobles did have a lot of power back then, so we will never know. Please comment below even just to say hi.

If you want to learn more about Elizabeth Bathory, check out some movies, documentaries, and books about her below: