Countess Elizabeth Bathory: Part 1
Countess Elizabeth Bathory (aka Báthory Erzsébet) is hands down one of the most famous “real vampires” in history. Her sadistic and vampiric activities are still known today by many for their horror. But before I get to her vampire-like cruelties I need to cover her life and what led up to her blood drinking. Elizabeth Bathory was born in 1560 and raised on the family estate of Esced in Transylvania. Her family was very rich and very insane, many of her family members being quite screwed up, which is most likely where she herself got some of it.
One reported event from her childhood worth mentioning, that could very well have influenced her future behavior is of an execution she witnessed. It was that execution of a gypsy that she saw, this gypsy was stuffed inside the stuffed belly of a live horse. They took down the horse, sliced open its belly, stuffed the man inside and sewed him inside. The execution was watched by many but no one showed any remorse or sympathy, this taught Elizabeth that commoners could be killed without any retribution.
Elizabeth Bathory was later engaged to Ferenc Nadasdy the “Black Hero of Hungary,” who was a cruel and ruthless warrior. When she was 15 she married the 21-year-old Nadasady. Ferenc was a soldier that spent a lot of time away from home so Elizabeth was left in charge of Castle Sarvar. The beautiful countess acquired the reputation of being very cruel to her servants; she ran her estate like a torture chamber. She also loved sex and had many lovers, both men and women.
For the first ten years of their marriage she and Ferenc had no children because they were rarely together. Around 1585 she had a daughter, Anna, and over the next nine years gave birth to two more girls, Ursula and Katherina, and in 1598 had her first and only son, Paul. It was said she was very protective of her children.
To kill time Elizabeth would visit her lesbian aunt Countess Karla Bathory to participate in wild orgies. She then realized where her true passion was, in inflicting pain to young girls. Not only was she infatuated with pain but was also showing interest in the occult. She met Dorothea Szantes, a black magic witch who encouraged Elizabeth’s sadistic pastime. Dorothea and Elizabeth’s servant, Thorko, taught Elizabeth about black magic. In a letter to her husband she wrote “Thorko has taught me a lovely new technique, you catch a black hen and beat it to death with a white cane. Keep the blood and smear a little of it on your enemy…”
Elizabeth’s husband was also incredibly cruel and evil whose favorite hobby was to torture the servants, but he didn’t torture them to death like Elizabeth did. He began to teach his wicked and promiscuous wife the art of inflicting pain. The insane Elizabeth loved it. One of her husband’s favorites was the honey torture, which involved stripping a girl naked, smearing honey over her, and leaving her tied up to a tree for the wild animals to have at her (some other accounts say that the girl would be tied up near beehives for the bees to cover her instead of in the woods).
Between them the evil lovers came up with a lot of twisted tortures. When they suspected a servant of “faking” illness they would have pieces of paper dipped in oil, put between the toes and set on fire – very few servants in the Bathory household complained of illness again.
You are probably thinking that if you were her servant you would get the hell out of there and run far away. Unfortunately escape was not an option; those that tried were sentenced to a grisly death. Once, a 12-year-old girl named Pola managed to escape, she was brought back, clad only in a white robe. The Countess grabbed the young girl and put her in a cage too narrow to sit in and too short to stand in. Once the girl was inside, the cage was suddenly hauled up by a pulley and dozens of short spiked jutted into the cage. Pola was torn to shreds.
In the freezing winter Elizabeth would have young women stripped naked and taken into the courtyard below her window. Water was then poured over the victim until she froze like an ice statue. The Countess would sit and gaze lovingly at her human sculptures for hours.
She would also stick pins under girl’s nails, make suspected thieves hold coins that had been heated in a fire, pull at the corners of someone’s mouth until it ripped, lay hot pokers on the face of servants, make teen girls strip naked in front of the jeering men of the village to embarrass them and on and on. You get the point. She was a crazy bitch.
In 1604 Elizabeth’s husband died, his death only made her torture and kill even more. A woman by the name of Anna Darvulia came into her life then and taught Elizabeth even more methods of torture.
Now this is where we get to the vampire part. Countless Bathory was an incredibly beautiful woman but over time she began to age like anyone. She tried to cover it up with makeup and fancy clothes but the wrinkles still showed. One day as a servant was brushing Elizabeth’s hair she accidentally tugged too hard, the Countess slapped the girl so hard she drew blood. Some blood landed on Elizabeth, and to her eyes she swore the spot the blood landed had made her old wrinkled skin young and smooth again. She became excited, believing she had found her way to stay young a beautiful forever. Her witch, Darvulia instructed Elizabeth on how the blood could keep her young.
And this concludes Part 1 on the life of this horrible woman. Check out the second part here, which contains all the juicy vampire info about her blood drinking, blood baths and eventually her dreadful punishment and death.
Moonlight (aka Amanda) loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to vampires. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of vampire folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and she may bite you (and not in the fun way).