Countess Elizabeth Bathory c. 1560-1614

There are many legends about vampires. However, there are official documents proving the existence of an authentic seventeenth-century countess, Elizabeth Bathory, who was the most bloodthirsty vampiress of all time!


Elizabeth BathoryElizabeth Bathory was born in 1560 into one of the oldest and wealthiest families in Transylvania. She had many powerful relatives - a cardinal, princes, and a cousin who was prime minister of Hungary. The most famous Bathory was King Steven of Poland. 1575-86.

Elizabeth was married to Count Ferencz Nasdasdy when she was 15, he was 26. The count added her surname to his, so the countess kept her name. They lived at Castle Csejthe in the Nyitra country of Hungary. The count spent a great deal of time away from home fighting. His nickname was "The Black Hero of Hungary." While he was away, Elizabeth's mans-ervant Thorko introduced her to the occult.

Elizabeth eloped with a dark stranger briefly, but came home. Luckily the Count forgave her. Back at the castle, Elizabeth couldn't stand her domineering mother-in-law. She began torturing the servant girls with the help of her old nurse Iloona Joo. Her other accomplices included the major-domo Johannes Ujvary, Thorko, a forest witch named Darvula and a witch Dorottya Szentes.

In 1600 Ferencz died and Elizabeth's period of real atrocities began. First, she sent her hated mother-in-law away. Elizabeth was very vain and afraid of getting old and losing her beauty. One day a servant girl accidentially pulled her hair while combing it -- Elizabeth slapped the girl's hand so hard she drew blood, which fell onto her own hand. She immediately though her skin took on the freshness of that of her young maid. She was sure she found the secret of eternal youthful skin!!! She had her major-domo and Thorko strip the maid, cut her and drain her blood into a huge vat. Elizabeth bathed in it to beautify her entire body.

Over the next 10 years Elizabeth's evil henchmen provided her with new girls for the blood-draining ritual and her blood baths. But one of her intended victims escaped and told the authorities about what was happening at Castle Csejthe. King Mathias of Hungary ordered Elizabeth's own cousin, Count Cuyorgy Thurzo, governor of the province, to raid the castle. On December 30, 1610 they raided Castle Csejthe. They were horrified by the terrible sights in the castle - one dead girl in the main room, drained of blood and another alive whose body had been pierced with holes; in the dungeon they discoverd several living girls, some of whose bodies had been pierced. Below the castle, they exhumed the bodies of some 50 girls.

Elizabeth was put under house arrest. A trial was held in 1611 at Bitcse. She refused to plead guilty or innocent and never appeared at the trial.

A complete transcript of the trial was made at the time and it survives today in Hungary! Johannes Ujvary, major-domo, testified that about 37 unmarried girls had been killed, six of whom he had personally recruited to work at the castle. The victims were tied up and cut with scissors. Sometimes the two witches tortured these girls, or the Countess herself. Elizabeth's old nurse testified that about 40 girls had been tortured and killed.

All the people involved in the killings, except the Countess Bathory and the two witches were beheaded and cremated. The two accomplices had their fingers torn out and were burned alive. The court never convicted Countess Elizabeth of any crime. Stonemasons were brought to Castle Csejthe to wall up the windows and doors of the bedchamber with the Countess inside. They left asmall hole through which food could be passed. King Mathias II demanded the death penalty for Elizabeth but because of her cousin, the prime minister, he agreed to an indefinitely delayed sentence, which really meant solitary confinement for life.

In 1614, four years after she was walled in, one of the guards wanted a look at this famous beauty. He saw her lying face down on the floor. Elizabeth Bathory, the "Blood Countess" was dead.

There are some connections between the Bathorys and the Draculas. The commander of the expedition that helped Dracula regain his throne in 1476 was Prince Steven Bathory. A Dracula fief, Castle Fa-garas, became a Bathory possession during the time of Elizabeth. Both families had a dragon design on their family crests.

I got this information along with a T-Shirt of Elizabeth I bought.


To which Lynn Saunders <scream@idirect.com> adds:

One thing I found out was that the Countess, as a small child (4 or 5) used to have quite violent seizures where she would pass out. I do not think this was epilepsy, but most likely some other neurological disorder that may help to explain her horrific behvior as a young woman.

The second thing is that when her husband, the Count, was alive, he loaned a large sum of money to the government. After his death, and once the discovery of Elizabeth's grisley activities was made, the government decided that another reason to wall her up in her castle was to avoid having to pay back the debt they owned to her estate.

Comments

Re: Countess Elizabeth Bathory c. 1560-1614

I agree with what you have said Vlad and Christina. We only have the version that was "official" to go by. I'd have to wonder who did she piss off in the church or similar. Those were nasty, nasty times. There was a very good Hammer horror with Ingrid Pitt loosely based on the Bathory stroy, so loose it's probably got no real relation at all to the actual recorded history let alone what actuallt occurred. They were very fond of walling women up in those days, especially if you came from money, guess burning alive wasn't okay for the rich.

Rowan

Re: Countess Elizabeth Bathory c. 1560-1614

True, very true. The trouble with historical figures like her is that all we have to go on are text of the day, written by those who quite possibly had a bias towards the individual to begin with.

So unless there is a real immortal being wandering about, who just happened to have known Liz personally, this is all we have to go on.

[And to the immortal being who's reading this comment, feel free to become a member and set the record straight! ;) ]

Re: Countess Elizabeth Bathory c. 1560-1614

There are always two sides to every story. Many times stories were exaggerated and made to agree with the cardinals ideas, as we all know with the historical events that have occurred. It would be nice to actually hear from someone who was there and knew Elizabeth personally, don't you think?

Fanged Films

USA, 2003
Alucard
USA, 1972

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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