|Artwork by my friend, Ian Misfit|
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
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 love....LOVE....to write a book about her. I may just do that one of these days.