I’ve written before, I seem to recall, on my love for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, both the television show that aired when I was a little boy growing up in the 80s, which served as my introduction to the pop culture phenomenon, and then later the books which I ordered from the junior high school book club, after I’d been made familiar with the lifework of Mr. Robert Ripley, which were themselves culled from his historic newspaper strips of bygone years. I chanced upon this article from Ripley’s online featuring our own Elizabeth (Erzsebet in Hungarian) Bathory, the notorious “Blood Countess” and possible inspiration for Count Dracula. So what does Ripley’s have to say about our dear Countess? Does the article carry on Bob Ripley’s standard of striving for accuracy and factuality?
Basically, yes. The treatment is cursory, and no mention is made of the fact that Countess Bathory is believed by some scholars to have been innocent, the victim of a frame-up at the hands of her unscrupulous political enemies. And I must confess I don’t remember hearing of the Countess inventing her own version of an Iron Maiden, called an “Iron Virgin.” This requires more scrutiny. Instead of believing it or not, I’ll settle on an “as yet to be determined.”