Bathory’s life is diffused with legends which circulated around her persona while she was still alive. Only one thing is certain – she must be looked upon with awe. Here’s the story of the most kick-ass countess in history.
Researching Elizabeth Bathory’s story can be a real burden on one’s sanity. Collecting all the things said and written about her would probably make a book as thick as the bible. And, as if it weren’t hard enough to separate fact from fiction, experts (yes, there are people doing extended researches about her lifetime and writing books about her), of course, do what experts do best – disagree.
Was she a sadistic lesbian vampire?
Quite disappointingly, she was probably a mere kinky bisexual with a blood fetish, but hey, who's perfect, right?
Erzsébet Báthory (original Hungarian name) was born on 7 August 1560 in what was then the kingdom of Hungary, in a renowned and incredibly powerful family of Bathory, a family richer than the king of Hungary himself. Young Erzsebet grew up in a gruesome atmosphere of war and, being an aristocrat, was taught what every good parent would teach their child - ways to torture servants. You know how servants tend to get if you don't give them a hearty slap every now and then
At the age of 15 she was engaged to and shortly after married Ferenc Nádasdy - a happy union of two people sharing common interests like beating up peasants and being filthy rich. Ferenc spent a lot of time abroad – first going to Vienna to study and then at war, since he was a military leader.
And see what happens when you leave your woman at home, bored and unsupervised – she will do what any woman does when bored and lonely – kill some people..
Women are evil.
So unconfirmed testimony claims that during these periods alone in the castle of Cachtice (present Slovakia), lasting up to 10 months, she frequently tortured her Slovak servants. Her senior servants, later accused as her accomplices, were 3 old women and a young man whom they called Fickó, sometimes described as a dwarf-like cripple. But we all know he was actually called Igor.
Don't all assistants look just the same?! This is not Ficko, it's my servant.
So word went that she tortured servant girls on and on, and was as impudent to do it in Vienna, in one of her multiple estates, during her visit of the Austrian king, across the street from a monastery!
Being the crazy bitch she apparently was, when her husband died in 1604, she quite logically became a mass murderer. From then on, the disciplinary tortures escalated to murders. Myth or not, it is widely believed that, obsessed with her looks (she is by then in her 40s and her beauty’s fading), she became the forerunner of cosmetic practices which are (to everyone’s bemusement) not approved of today.
What?! Did you think beauty just happens? This is what women do to stay pretty. (Or is it just me. It's not just me, is it...?)
Witnesses at her trial claimed she cannibalized her servant girls; that once she got angry at one of her maids, rose up like a bulldog and tore the flesh off the shoulders of the girl, and bit her breast. Later, sensationalized versions said she bathed and drank the blood. Well, you are what you eat, right? Some believe that it was worse, that she hung the girls up in cages and pierced them with a long lance so the blood would flow on her, while she shouted obscenities.
Then, according to this storyline, she made a huge mistake by going after the daughter of a local Protestant minister who managed to escape and tell what was happening.
On January 2nd 1611 János Thurzó, the palatine of Hungary (and a greedy motherfucker who wanted her lands) convened a court and Erzsebet was sentenced to lifelong imprisonment in one room in Cachtice. In late August 1615 she was found lying face-down on the floor.
Erzsebet was learned, intelligent, had tremendous power and wealth and on top of that was extremely beautiful. All in all, she was pretty awesome. More awesome was her dual nature – a loving mother and a brutal serial killer of young virgins, a helping, benevolent ruler and a deviant mad woman punishing Slovak peasants with torture and death for petty crimes. See? And you thought your woman was hard to understand!
Maybe she did kill over 600 virgins. In her defense (Boy, this phrase sure does sound strange right after a report of a mass murder), she grew up in such an atmosphere that she probably thought she was in her full right to torture her lessers, especially Slovak peasants. It was not uncommon among nobility to teach obedience in this way. So, you know, maybe she just kinda… lost it one day… Maybe you won’t be convinced by my arguments…
Fictional account of Erzsebet’s legal arguments in her own defense
Or, what is most probable, she was simply the victim of power struggles between Protestants and Catholics, Habsburgs, Turks, and all the hyenas drooling over her immense wealth. Sorry to ruin such a nice vampyre story for ya.
But wait, how the hell did she cover up 650 dead white girls in her castle? A logical question whose short answer is: People are incredibly stupid. They actually sent the girls to the castle to learn courtly etiquette, despite the fact that none of them ever came back.
Well, there’s no sound evidence on any of these tortures, cheifly because of the fact that evidence was collected through the universally recognized very reliable method of witness torturing. Here's the testimony of some witness - he admitted to have seen the devil himself sitting on Countess Báthory's lap, and that she had sexual relations with him, completely under his spell. That was due, in part, to his impressive male organ. This one was a real buzzkill, since before reading it, the other alleged perversions of the countess seemed almost believable. Anyway, enjoy
- Erzsébet accused a girl of stealing money, so she heated a coin to white-hot and pressed it against her hand;
- her husband taught her “star kicking” (which is less fun than it sounds)
Probably not star kicking
My version of star kicking
Star-kicking was actually lighting up little pieces of oiled paper between the toes of your servant and make her kick and see stars from the pain.
- he also showed Erzsébet the art of freezing a girl to death during the winter by pouring water over her naked body until it hardened and she was unable to move
- and another of his alleged methods – spreading honey over a naked servant girl and leaving her tied down outside for the bugs to nibble and bees to sting.
- beating the girl servants with a heavy club, a barbed lash and a heavy cudgel till their bodies were swollen and bones broken. The swollen bodies were then cut up with razors. Occasionally she had the girls burned, and then cut up, but the great majority of them were beaten to death. She really couldn't beat people enough, now could she?
- sticking pins into the upper and lower lips of the girls, into their flesh and under their fingernails
- sewing servant girls’ mouths shut
- forcing girls to eat strips of her own flesh
- burning people’s genitals
- sticking needles into those who sat with her in a carriage, especially if they were of her own sex. (She probably knew that women are evil)
- applying red-hot pokers from the fire, shoving them into the mouth of some hapless girl, or up her nose.
- placing her (the countess’s) fingers into the mouth of one girl and pulling hard until the sides split open.
- tearing open servants’ flesh with sharp pincers.
- slitting open the skin between their fingers.
- cutting off fingers
- making her male servants consume the flesh of the dead girls
- applying a red-hot iron to the soles of the girls' feet
- forcing one of her girls to strip a piece of flesh off her own arm
- shoving girls into small cages full of spikes.
The countess was said to be obsessed with her beauty and preserving it. Sadly, there is not even one image of her that is confirmed to be her real portrait. But there are at least 5 realistic versions of it (Well, experts disagree). The thing is... how do I put this... I can't quite seem to spot the abovementioned beauty. But don't take my word for it:
Is there anybody else out there who thinks that this face isn't worth the blood of 650 virgins...or even...like... 5 virgins?
Here, to make it up to you - feast your eyes on some stupid, but rather sexy speculations about the mythical countess's looks:
And my favourite...