Elizabeth Báthory

Childhood and Education

  • Born, August 7, 1560.
  • Witness to executions, including one where a gypsy, convicted of selling his children was sewn up into the belly of a horse and left to die with the animal.
  • Highly educated, spoke Hungarian, German and Latin.
  • Craved knowledge and meanings for words such as buggery which required not only a definition, but a display of the term.

Marriage and Adult Life

  • Engaged to Ferenc Nadasy, the “Black Hero of Hungary” at age 11.
  • Brief affair with peasant man produced a daughter, who was given, along with money, to a peasant.
  • Becomes aware of effects of blood.
  • Married, May 8, 1575.
  • Husband teaches different forms of torture.
    • Honey torture, involving stripping a girl naked, smearing honey over her, and leaving her outside to be the victim of any insect that happens by.
    • Later, Elizabeth would use her own version of this involving water and a cold winter night.
  • Reputed to be one of the most beautiful women in all of Europe.
  • Possible picture of the countess.

Torture devices

  • An iron maiden, that when activated, will pull the victim inward, and force spikes into her.
  • A cyndrical cage, that is too narrow to sit in, and too small to stand in. It has spikes on it, and when the cage is hoisted and rocked, the vicitm will skewer themselves on it.
  • Variation: The cage is hoisted, but the victim is poked at with a red hot poker, and impales themselves.

Trials

  • First trial, held on January 2, 1611 at Bytca (pronounced Byt-cha)
  • Seventeen testomonies including her four accomplices, Helena Jo, Dorka, Katharina, and Ficzko.
  • A maid, identified as “Zusanna” testified that she was aware of a list, written in the Countess’s own handwriting, of the names of six hundred victims.
  • Second trial held on January 7, 1611.
  • Elizabeth was not allowed at either trial.

Sentencing and Death

  • Three of her cohorts were senctenced to horrible deaths and mutilations.
  • Katharina was exonerated by Dorka, Helena Jo and Zusanna, and was left to be dealt with at a later date.
  • Elizabeth was never convicted of anything, and remained for the rest of her life walled up inside of her room, under “Castle Arrest.”
  • On August 21, 1614, a guard, who had never seen the countess, wanted to get a look at the Countess who was still, at the age of 54, reputed to be one of the most beautiful women in all of Europe. Looking in through one of the slots left open for food and air, he discovered Elizabeth lying face down. The Blood Countess was dead.

Elizabeth 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 manservant 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 survices today in Hungary! Johannes Ujvary, major-domo, testified that about 37 unmarried girls has 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 tow 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 a small 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 Fagaras, became a Bathory possession during the time of Elizabeth. Both families had a dragon design on their family crests.

Biographical Notes for the Life of Elizabeth Bathory


Excerpts from The Dracula Book by Donald F. Glut, The Scarecrow Press, Inc. Metuchen, N.J. 1975

published in the U.S. as The Truth About Dracula] (New York: Stein and Day) was another scholarly investigation of Dracula and the un-dead. Much space was devoted to the origins of vampire traditions and to Countess Elizabeth Bathory, whose deeds, according to Ronay, could have influenced Bram Stoker’s literary creation of Count Dracula.” p. 16

“The Blood Countess of Transylvania”

“In 1546 Vlad Dracula and an expedition led by Prince Steven Bathory of Transylvania rode into Wallachia to claim the former’s throne. Approximately one century later the Countess Elizabeth Bathory became the terror of Transylvania and the most notorious vampiress in world history. Because of recent associations linking Elizabeth with Dracula her story is included here.”

Countess Elizabeth Bathory was a lesbian who perpetrated incredible cruelties upon pretty servant and peasant girls. Csejthe Castle, a massive mountaintop fortress overlooking the village of Csejthe, was the site of Elizabeth’s blood orgies and became know to the peasants as the castle of vampires and the hated ‘Blood Countess.’

Born in Hungary in 1560, Elizabeth had family relatives including satyrs, lesbians, and witches. At fourteen she gave birth to an illegitimate child fathered by a peasant boy and conceived at the chateau fo her intended mother-in-law, Countess Ursula Nadasdy. Elizabeth and Count Ferencz Nadasdy had been betrothed since she was eleven years old. The marriage took place on May 8, 1575 when Elizabeth was fifteen. In those days, well before Women’s Liberation, Elizabeth retained her own surname, while the Count changed his to Ferencz Bathory. The Count thrived on conflict and war, preferring the battlefield to domestic life at the castle, and earned a reputation as the ‘Black Hero of Hungary.

While Ferencz was away on one of his military campaigns, the Countess began to visit her lesbian aunt, Countess Karla Bathory, and ban to participate in the woman’s orgies. Elizabeth then realized her true ambitions, the inflicting of pain upon large-bussomed young girls. Not only was Elizabeth becoming infatuated with her specialized carnal pleasures, she was also developing an interest in Black Magic. Thorko, a servant in her castle, instructed her in the ways of witchcraft, at the same time encouraging her sadistic tendencies. ‘Thorko has taught me a lovely new one,’ Elizabeth wrote to Ferencz. ‘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. If you get no chance to smear it on his body, obtain one of his garments and smear it.’

When the Countess became romantically involved with a black-clad stranger with pale complexion, dark eyes and abnormally sharp teeth, the villagers who believed in vampires had more reason toe be wary of Csejthe Castle. Perhaps, to the imaginative, the stranger was Dracula himself, returned from the grave. The Countess returned alone from her sojourn with the stranger and some of the villagers stated that her mouth showed telltale signs of blood. When Count Nadasdy returned he quickly forgave his wife’s infidelity.

Now firmly rooted at her castle, Countess Elizabeth experimented in depravity with the help of Thorko, Ilona Joo (Elizabeth’s former nurse), the witches Dorottya Szentes and Darvulia, and the dwarf major-domo Johannes Ujvary, who would soon become chief torturer. With the aid of this crew Elizabeth captured buxom servant girls at the castle, taking them to an underground room known as ‘her Ladyship’s torture chamber’ and subjected them to the worst cruelties she could devise. Under the pretext of punishing the girls for failing to perform certain trivial tasks, Elizabeth used branding irons, molten wax and knives to shed their blood. She tore the clothing from one girl, covered her with honey, and left her to the hunger of the insects of the woods. Soon, the Countess began attacking her bound victims with her teeth, biting chunks of bloody flesh from their necks, cheeks and shoulders. Blood became more of an obsession with Elizabeth as she continued her tortures with razors, torches, and her own custom made silver pincers. Elizabeth Bathory was a woman of exceptional beauty. Her long raven hair was contrasted with her milky complexion. Her amber eyes were almost catlike, her figure voluptuous. She was excessively vain and her narcissism drove her to new depths of perversion.

As Elizabeth aged and her beauty began to wane, she tried to conceal the decline through cosmetics and the most expensive of clothes. But these would not cover the ever spreading wrinkles. One fateful day a servant girl was attending to Elizabeth’s hair and either pulled it or remarked that something was wrong with her mistress’ headdress. The infuriated Countess slapped the girl so hard that blood spurted from her nose. The blood splashed against Elizabeth’s face. Where the blood had touched her skin, the Countess observed in a mirror, a miracle had seemingly transpired. In her eyes, the skin had lost its lines of age. Elizabeth became exhilarated in the knowledge that she could regain her lost youth through vampirism. Darvulia instructed the credulous Elizabeth how she might again be young. The Countess believed the ancient credo that the taking of another’s blood could result in the assimilation of that person’s physical or spiritual qualities. Following the witch’s instructions, Elizabeth had her torturers kidnap beautiful young virgins, slash them with knives and collect their blood in a large vat. Then the Countess proceeded to bathe in the virgin’s blood. When she emerged from the blood she had seemingly regained her youth and radiance.

Elizabeth’s minions procured more virgins from the neighboring villages on the pretext of hiring them as servants. When their bloodless corpses were discovered outside the castle, rumors quickly spread that vampires inhabited the old fortress. Countess Elizabeth continued such practices after the death of her husband in 1604. (Count Nadasdy apparently died of poisoning although his death was also ascribed to witchcraft.) When Darvulia died and Elizabeth found herself aging even more, another sorceress named Erzsi Majorova told her that the virginal victims must be of noble birth. But even though Elizabeth tortured young noblewomen and accompanied the blood baths with witchcraft rites, she could not retrieve her lost youth. For over a decade she perpetrated her acts of vampirism, mutilating and bleeding dry 650 maidens. Rumors spread that Elizabeth headed a terrible group of vampires that preyed upon the village maidens.

Reverend Andras Berthoni, a Lutheran pastor of Csejthe, realized the truth when Elizabeth commanded him to bury secretly the bloodless corpses. He set down his suspicions regarding Elizabeth in a note before he died. The Countess was becoming so notorious that her crimes could no longer be concealed. Using the note written by Reverend Berthoni, Elizabeth’s cousin, Count Thurzo, came to Csejthe Castle. On New Year’s Eve of 1610, Count Thurzo, Reverend Janos Ponikenusz, who succeeded Berthoni and had found the note, and some of the castle personnel found Elizabeth’s underground torture chamber and there discovered not only the unbelievably mutilated bodies of a number of girls, but also the bloody Countess herself.

For political reason, Elizabeth never attended her trial. She remained confined in her castle while she and her sadistic accomplices were tried for their crimes. Elizabeth was tried purely on a criminal basis, while her cohorts were charged with vampirism, witchcraft and practicing pagan rituals. All of the torturers were beheaded, except for Ilona Joo and Dorottya Szentes, whose fingers were pulled off before they were burned alive. The Countess was found to be criminally insane and was walled up within a room of Csejthe Castle. Her guards passed food to her through a small hatch.

The trail documents were then hidden away in the castle of Count Thurzo and remained there, apparently ‘lost’ for over a hundred years. Almost four years after her strange imprisonment, on August 14, 1614, a haggard looking Elizabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess of Transylvania, was dead.

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One Response to Elizabeth Báthory

  1. KS says:

    um does this case have a jury trial?

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