Taking A Blood Bathory

Artwork by my friend, Ian Misfit
We often think of gore and horror as only pertaining to books and movies, but sometimes we neglect some of the real life horror stories throughout history-the ones that modern books and movie scripts are usually derived and molded from, at least in part.

One of the goriest serial killers of all time has fueled vampire books and horror for centuries now. Many, many centuries actually. Some akin to the stories of Vlad the Impaler (my Dracula-yes, he's mine), the stories of Countess Elizabeth Bathory are some of the goriest, nastiest, bloodiest accounts of murder and blood-bathing (literally) ever. 

This woman was insane. Very, very insane.  She was only tried for the deaths of 80, though in reality, it's said that there were over six hundred! 

Some of the charges were as follows: 
  • biting hands, faces, feet, genitalia, etc.
  • sexual abuse
  • freezing them to death
  • performing surgeries on the victims-often fatal
  • burning or mutilation of the victims hands, faces, and sometimes genitals
  • starving victims to death
Bodies were often burned or buried in unmarked, shallow graves. Who really knows where she found all these women, but it's said that she had suppliers. I guess that adds human trafficking to her list of offenses, although in the sixteenth century I think that was actually allowed. Not sure. Either way, it's creepy. Can you imagine being bought only to be tortured, killed, and drained of your blood so that some bat-shit crazy Countess can bathe in it?

Oh yeah, Countess Bathory bathed in her victims' blood, according to legend, because she thought it was like stepping into a really twisted version of the Fountain of Youth. 

I know, however, that Bathory wasn't born to be a serial killer. She was born into society as a noble lady, part of society's nobility, I mean. Her family was of high society, as high as you could get in sixteenth century Transylvania. She was related to a Cardinal, a Prince, and a cousin who was the Prime Minister of Hungary. She married a Count, but he took her surname so that she could keep it (evidently her family was more popular than his). The Count was away at war through much of their marriage, and thus, a manservant in the Bathory household introduced Elizabeth to the occult. 

She bore several children after waiting ten years to start a family, and after 29 years of marriage, her husband-the Count-died in battle. This is when, according to my online sources, Elizabeth went bat shit crazy and began taking part in some pretty odd behavior. The first thing she did was send her mother-in-law away from the Castle. Not so bad, right? Well, then she began to take part in some freaky weird rituals involving animal sacrifices. She became so vain and obsessed with losing her beauty in that time. I read somewhere that she'd had a maid to comb her hair one day, but the maid accidentally pulled a strand. So, Bathory smacked the maid's hand so hard that it drew blood. A drop of the maid's blood hit Bathory's hand, and she swore that the blood maid her skin look younger. Elizabeth made her Major-domo and a servant strip the girl's clothing, cut her open, and drain the girl of all of her blood so that she could bathe in it. 

I really wish I were kidding.

After this, Elizabeth gained a few henchmen to carry out her dirty, bloody deeds for her. She found suppliers for her need for youth (she wanted young virgins, according to some legends), so she probably had a pretty steady stream of young women to kill. 

Once, a victim escaped her castle and told the authorities of the horrible atrocities that went on there. The castle was raided, and they found one dead girl, one half dead and full of holes, several in the dungeon that were pierced and full of holes, and 50 bodies were exhumed below the castle. 

A trial was held, and Bathory's two witches (yeah, this serial killer employed help from witches, too!) were executed. Bathory herself wasn't allowed to be executed because of her noble blood, so she was placed on strict house arrest.

The fact that her husband dying seemed to be what started this whole blood bath debacle made me wonder if the loss of love might have been part of the reason she went wacky (Get it? Wacky? *grins*). Or it could have been that after she watched her husband die and partially decompose she might have decided that she didn't want that to happen to her. Perhaps it was vanity that drove her mad. It was said that Elizabeth Bathory was one of the most beautiful women in her time. 

Think about it this way: back then, they didn't have embalming fluids-or at least they didn't use them if they did have them-and bodies would lay out for a day or two before being buried. Perhaps watching one who was close to her, that she may have even loved (arranged marriage, so it's hard to tell if she loved him or not) go through the changes of decomposition really, really fucked her up. Who really knows! 

All I have to say about her is this: I'd write a book about her. I may just do that one of these days.


  1. had no idea! thanks for sharing this info. very interesting read

  2. interesting post, pretty intense but good post

  3. i've heard alot about the countess, truely a historical monster, but hthe lover of horror in me just screams "HELL YEAH"

  4. Yes, I've heard of that Bathory lady before. It's quite interesting how a human being can be so cruel and enjoy so much the suffering of other people.

  5. this post caught my attention and is very interesting. Cant wait for your next post

  6. From my woman's study classes, it seems from the accounts she suffered from a lot of male educed trauma (read rape), thus the revenge being so cold, literally and so vicious.

  7. That's a very interesting and dark story. I like me some horrors

  8. She was always one of my favourite historical 'vampires'. Awesome blog btw, and also, if you're considering writing a book, start now. It takes time to write well conceptualized and interesting books. Bathory has been in many books, but most of them are non-fiction; if writing for fiction, make it unique with a different direction with her. Would be interesting to see if you do.

  9. This just kept screaming the Countess from Diablo II. Guess I know where that's from now. The more you know~!

  10. big fan of the Countess here

  11. Great detailed post, and blog! keep up the good work.

  12. Interesting post, nice blog!

  13. Thank you for all the compliments, guys, and if you're interested I AM WRITING a fiction horror about Bathory. I'm going to tell the story mostly through her eyes, but from third person. It won't bombard you with facts, but will be mostly factual and right on the mark. There will be some things made up, of course, because no one still living was there. The research alone is giving me nightmares. I'll keep you all at Splattercore posted!

  14. Countess Bathory is my waifu.