Countess Bathory Biography: Was She A Serial Killer Or Vampire?
Countess Elizabeth Bathory is a controversial historical figure from Medieval Times. Fanatics claim she was one of the first vampires, and refer to her as the Blood Countess. Others claim Elizabeth Bathory was the most brutal female serial killer in history – killing over six hundred innocent women. We must scrutinize Countess Bathory’s biography by studying it in its entirety. Here we provide a brief biography of the Blood Countess. Then you decide whether she was a vampire queen or serial killer.
Countess Bathory’s Early Life
Elizabeth (Erzebet) Bathory was born in Hungary in August of 1560 to well-known and respected nobility – the Bathory family. As a young girl, she was intelligent but sickly. She frequently experienced seizures and sporadic fits of rage which leads scholars to believe she was epileptic. Her childhood illness no doubt affected her psychological development, though illness is no excuse for violence. Elizabeth married Count Ferenc Nadasdy in 1575, in her teen years. Thus she became the lady of Cachtice Castle – a beautiful castle overlooking a small town in modern Slovakia.
The Blood Bath Begins
While the Count was away battling the Turks, Elizabeth practiced the torture techniques he had taught her. Moreover, Elizabeth inflicted her aggression upon servant girls that misbehaved or slacked in their duties. After a period of tormenting her own servants, as rumor has it, Elizabeth stepped willingly into a world of darkness and black magic. Countess Bathory developed a twisted friendship with a woman named Anna Darvulia. Anna was the “muscles” (so to speak) behind the Blood Countess’ six-hundred-some abductions and murders.
Countess Elizabeth Bathory’s Descent into Darkness
Countess Bathory’s afflictions upon the servants continued and then escalated to another level after Count Ferenc died in battle. One day a chambermaid angered Elizabeth, and she gave in to her insatiable lust for blood. The Blood Countess slapped the maid hard on the cheek and a a drop of blood fell from her and landed on Elizabeth’s hand. Elizabeth believed the blood reversed her aging skin. And the chambermaid be killed and her blood preserved.
The Vampire Rumors & Speculations
This is the source of the vampire rumors. Some sources claim Elizabeth Bathory drank the chambermaid’s blood to restore youth and beauty. After this twisted moment of bliss, the Blood Countess afflicted her blood-lust upon a multitude of young women working in Cachtice Castle. Anna Darvulia aided Elizabeth in a twisted web of seduction and bloodletting, and together, they drew in numerous peasant women from the village. Historians debate whether these stories are true, although there were numerous eyewitnesses to the Blood Countess’ reign of terror.
Methods of Torture
Some of the accusations involved torture with needles under fingernails, death by freezing, biting and burning, and who could forget the drinking of blood. Eyewitnesses claim Elizabeth Bathory bathed in a tub of blood (again, the credibility of these grandiose claims are debatable). Other rumors included the Countess’ affair with Satan himself and the reversal of her physical age and supposed immortality.
The End of Countess Bathory’s Reign of Terror
Countess Bathory’s reign of terror crumbled in 1610, when the townspeople began questioning the disappearances of many young women. The people discovered bodies on the castle-grounds which led to Countess Bathory’s trial that year. Bathory’s accomplices were executed, but the youthful Blood Countess permitted to live. The murderess’ sentence for her crimes saw her bricked into her own castle, with nothing but a small hole for food and her only window to the outside world. After four years sealed up in Cachtice Castle, Countess Bathory died of natural causes.
Serial Killer or Vampire? You Decide
Following Countess Bathory’s death, the people discovered diaries in Cachtice Castle documenting the 600+ murders (as opposed to the thirty-some she was convicted for). Over the years, the Blood Countess’ story has undoubtedly been exaggerated for dramatic effect, including the theory of the Countess being a vampire queen. Books have been written based on her life, some factual, most fantasy. Movies have been made inspired by the Countess Bathory biography. But no matter if the Blood Countess was a serial killer or a “vampire”, one thing is for sure – her name will go down in history as one of the bloodiest.