Though beautiful and of noble origin, the legendary Elizabeth Bathory’s bloodthirsty hankerings established her as one of the most reviled women in history. Given how notorious and vicious Bathory’s activities were, she is also considered to be one of earliest recorded vampires in history. Join us in unearthing all the interesting facts about the famed Blood Countess.
Elizabeth Bathory was born in 1560 in Transylvania, Hungary. Born with a silver spoon, she was of a noble and very distinguished family that held high ranking social positions in Transylvania. At age 10, she was betrothed to Count Ferencz Nadady and five years later in 1575, the young couple were married. Given her family status which outweighed that of her husband, Elizabeth not only retained her surname after marriage but her husband also adopted the name. They lived in Csejthe Castle in Hungary although her husband, a soldier known as the Black Knight of Hungary was hardly around as he went away to study in Vienna or was busy at war fronts.
In her husband’s absence, Elizabeth was left in charge of the estates, a situation which only spiked her atrocious cravings. Count Nadady is believed to have aided his wife’s impulses as he reportedly made a torture chamber for her in the castle and eagerly exchanged correspondence with her where she described the cruelties meted out on her victims. But after Nadady died in 1604, Elizabeth’s notoriety reportedly increased.
Bathory’s cruelties first began with torturing and killing peasant girls before her perverted freakiness eventually deteriorated into more gruesome horizons. Some of her torture techniques ranged from beating the peasants mercilessly, to forcefully leaving them at the mercy of bees after smearing them with honey, and also biting off and feeding them parts of their flesh, among many others.
Convinced that young girls blood would preserve her looks and youthfulness, Bathory advanced to bathing in the blood of the peasant girls she tortured and killed. Though Elizabeth’s victims were initially only peasants, she would later progress to recruiting girls from noble families who believed they were coming to learn etiquettes from the Countess. When the death rate of her servants increased, Bathory became infamous in the area for her crimes but was untouchable because of her family’s social standing.
It wasn’t until 1610 before the long arm of the law caught up with Elizabeth. At the instance of a Lutheran minister, the allegations reached the ears of the Hungarian king, Mathias II, who ordered a full investigation by the authorities into Bathory’s alleged crimes. Led by Thurzo Gyorgy, the authorities launched an investigation and by the end of the year, Elizabeth and four of her accomplices were arrested.
With numerous charges leveled against them, physical evidence and over 300 testimonies in the trial, Elizabeth, and her cohorts were found guilty. While three of them were executed, one was given a life sentence. Elizabeth was not executed but was sentenced to solitary confinement in a corner of her castle and under her family’s watch. She remained incarcerated in the castle for four years, until she reportedly starved herself to death in August 1614.
Elizabeth Bathory Children
Though Elizabeth was betrothed to her husband Nadady, as early as age 10, they weren’t married until she was 15. Unconfirmed reports reveal that shortly before their marriage, Elizabeth had a baby by a lover (of a lower order or even a servant). It is, however, believed that she got rid of the child in an uncanny way.
After her marriage to Nadady, the couple was childless for about 10 years before Elizabeth eventually had five children – three girls and two boys (Anna, Orsolya, Katalin, András, and Pal) with her husband. However, they lost two of the children at a young age.
More so, during the period while Nadady was away and Elizabeth was left in charge of the estates, she had several lovers though none of her affairs produced a child.
Other Facts You Need To Know
Over the years, many have argued that the spine-chilling story about Elizabeth Bathory is nothing more than a fictional account which has been given more life by gothic horror aficionados. Given that so much has been written about the Blood Countess, the truth behind her story has in fact been questioned in recent decades as some historians choose to see her as a victim of political betrayal rather than a villain. While the truth may never be definitely certain, here are some facts to note about the infamous Tigress of Csejthe.
1. Born into Transylvanian nobility, some of Elizabeth Bathory’s notable relatives include her uncle who was the King of Hungary, and her cousin Stephen Bathory, the Duke of Transylvania, among many others.
2. In her lifetime, it is believed that Bathory tortured and murdered between 600 to 1000 people, a number that remains terrifyingly unprecedented in history.
3. The sensational tale of Elizabeth bathing in human blood was initially not part of her lifetime accounts until about a century after her death when a French historian included it.
4. Though it’s been over four centuries, Bathory’s horrific story has not only been included in folklores but has also inspired several books and movies such as Dracula and many others.