Erzsebet Bathory (Elizabeth) holds the title of most prolific female Serial Killer in human history, honestly she even holds the Guinness World Record. The claim is that she bathed in the blood of over 500 virgin servant girls to keep herself looking and feeling young longer. There are claims that she had torture devises made specifically to hold a woman and slowly drain their blood while it was either captured for her to bathe in later or dance naked under the girls as they slowly bled to death, if you can think of a cruel way to torture someone chances are there is a story that Elizabeth thought of it and did it first.
The problems its that we don’t know how many of these stories are true anymore and what has just been passed down and changed over the years. Ever play the game telephone with a group of friends? For you younglings out there, telephone is a game where a group of people get together and a message gets passed around through whispers in your neighbors ear and it rarely remains the same message through the whole game.
Some fellow writers have pointed the finger at author Michael Wegener for first inventing the stories of the Countess bathing in the servant girls blood and all the ghoulish delights she participated in for fun, though it’s hard to believe the stories didn’t start earlier than Mr. Wegener’s writing. It's completely believable that a few embellishments were added to her record when she was arrested finally.
Elizabeth was born August 1560 and died August 1614, but we’ll get to her death in a moment. She was born into a wealth family, showed promise and was the niece of Stephen Bathory the prince of Transylvania for a while. She learned how to speak Latin, Greek and German by all accounts was a good child. By age 11 she was engaged, perfectly normal in those times, to Ferenc Nadasdy which all agree was more than likely a political arrangement to align to powerful families. They were married when Elizabeth was 15 and as a wedding gift from her new husband received the castle Csejte, which she later died in.
In 1578 her husband became the commander of the Hungarian troops in the war against the Ottoman empire. While he was away Elizabth was charged with protecting his estates and keeping the wheel turning so to speak. By all accounts she was good at it to, she attended court, made deals in her husband’s name and all the while raised his children without them knowing what she was up to. Her husband died in 1601 from an illness that started in his legs.
Around the year 1602 is when the rumors started on what Bathory was up to and they were being pushed into the public by a Priest named Istvan Magyari who made these brave claims both in public and the court; a very brave thing to do since she was noble blood and he could have easily been killed for making the claim in the first place.
King Matthias II finally heard the complaints and ordered an investigation to determine their validity. Investigators were able to find over 300 witnesses who all gave witness against the Countess and those they said she killed.
They said she started luring the girls in through promise of high paid jobs for some and others would receive proper schooling on how to be a lady. Just to name a few of the horrors, it was rumored the girls were beaten, burned, frozen or starved to death at the Countesses pleasure. Only two witnesses were in agreement that they had seen the countess torture and kill the girls. Bodies were disposed of in any means possible.
When Elizabeth was arrested for her crimes herself and four of her personal servants were all put on trial for the killings. King Matthias wanted Elizabeth put on trial and put to death for her acts but he was successfully convinced this would be bad for the ruling family of Transylvania and it was decided it would be better to keep her under strict watch. Her servants weren’t so lucky; two had their fingers ripped out before being burned at the steak, one was beheaded then burned and the last got life in prison.
As for Elizabeth, she was imprisoned and walled inside Csejte castle tower room where she was only allowed small slits in the windows for ventilation and for food to pass to her for the next four years of her life. Depending on which story you believe from here when she died later she either turned into a bat and flew out that small slit or she was poisoned. The location of her body today is unknown.