31 March 2011

Erszebet Bathory


Date of Birth: August 7, 1560
Date of Death: August 21, 1614
MO: Torture, Murder
Victim Count: 650+
Nicknames: The Blood Countess, The Bloody Lady of Cachtice, The Blood Queen, Countess Dracula

Erszebet, also known as Elizabeth, was born into nobility and spent most her childhood at Esced Castle, which was in Hungary. She married just a few months shy of her fifteenth birthday and had six children, two of whom died. The marriage lasted 29 years, her husband dying at war. Erszebet had been in charge of the estate while her husband had been gone, providing for the pheasants in the villages surrounding her estate. She was educated in four languages and taught the village women, she also intervened when their husbands were captured and for a woman whose daughter was raped and impregnanted.

During 1602 and 1604, complaints were begining to be made against Erszebet. Finally in 1610, investigators were sent to search her estate. They found one girl dead, one dying, one wounded, and many more girls locked up. Erszebet and four of her servants were arrested. Three of the servants were condemned to death, while the fourth got life imprisonment. While her servants were on trial, Erszebet on put on house arrest and remained there for four years. in 1614, she was found dead in the room with much food left untouched, so her exact date of death is unknown.

During the investigation, over 600 witnesses gave testimony, though only 13 witnesses along with the four defendants provided testimonies during the trial. According to the testimonies, the first victims were the daughters of peasants, though she soon lowered her standards and began abducted any adolescent girls. The following forms of torture were described:

  • severe beatings, often fatal
  • burning or mutilation of hands, face, and genitalia
  • biting flesh of face, arms, and other limbs
  • freezing to death
  • surgery, often fatal
  • starvation
  • sexual abuse
  • use of needles

During the span of 15 years, it is estimated the total death count totaled over 650 young women. After her death, the accusation of her bathing in the blood first appeared. It is rumored Erszebet bathed in the blood of the young women because she believed it would allow her to stay young forever, though this legend was never proven.

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