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Countess Elizabeth Bathory - Historic Queen of the Vampires

Updated on January 13, 2015
kittythedreamer profile image

Holding a complete fascination with vampires and werewolves, Kitty enjoys writing about the undead in their many forms in folklore.

Portrait of Countess Erzebet Bathory
Portrait of Countess Erzebet Bathory

Elizabeth Bathory's Descent into a Life of Murder

Elizabeth Bathory is a historical figure with much controversy surrounding her name. Many fantasists claim that she was one of the first vampires, possibly a Queen of the Vampires. Others claim that the Countess was simply the worst female serial killer in history, killing over six hundred innocent souls. How Elizabeth's life story has elevated to this level of exagerration becomes obvious by merely taking a glance at the legends told of her sadistic and murderous ways.

Let us begin with Elizabeth's early life. Elizabeth (Erzebet) Bathory was born in Hungary in August of the year 1560 to a well-known and respected noble family, the Bathory family. As a young girl, it is said that she was intelligent but was known to have seizures and sporadic fits of rage...possibly epilepsy? Her physical and mental condition as a child has been hypothesized to have some sort of psychological tie to her sadistic ways in adult life. Marriage knocked at Elizabeth's door in her teen years and so she quickly became the lady of Csejthe Castle...a haunting and beautiful castle overlooking a small peasant town in present-day Slovakia (pictures below). While Elizabeth's husband, Count Ferenc Nadasdy, was out proudly battling the Turks...Elizabeth would practice some of the torture techniques that the Count had supposedly taught her. While hubby's away, Lizzy will play...

Most of this torture was inflicted upon peasant servants that might have misbehaved in some way or were, consequently, slacking in their daily duties. After a period of boring tortures, as rumor has it, Elizabeth was voluntarily sucked into a world of darkness and black witchcraft. It has been said that she employed a twisted friendship with a lady named Anna Darvulia (amongst other sinister women). Anna was the primary cohort to the Countess' numerous abductions, cruciations, and killings.

A Picture of Bathory's Castle of Torture
A Picture of Bathory's Castle of Torture
Countess Bathory developed an inhuman lust for blood...young women's blood.
Countess Bathory developed an inhuman lust for blood...young women's blood. | Source

Countess Bathory & A Blood-lust for Immortal Beauty

The tortures and afflictions upon the servants and castlemaids continued and then escalated to a whole different level when Elizabeth's absent husband, Count Ferenc, died during a bloody battle. It has been rumored (and written) that Elizabeth got her first lust for blood when she was angered by a chambermaid. The chambermaid was slapped so hard by the Countess that a drop of blood fell from her cheek and landed on the Countess' hand. Elizabeth believed that this single drop of blood had reversed the aging of her hand's skin and commanded that the chambermaid be killed and drained of her blood. This is where the vampirical speculations began, as the Countess was reported to have drank this chambermaid's blood to restore her own youth and beauty. After this twisted moment of bliss, the Countess went on to afflict her vampirical ways upon many young women residing and working in the castle. Anna Darvulia, among other sadistic associates to the crimes, aided Elizabeth in her sick web of seduction and bloodletting by persuading other peasant women in the village below to attend the castle for work or classes in proper etiquette...taught by the Countess herself. I am sure the young ladies in this class learned a very valuable lesson...but it was not a simple lesson on etiquette!

Many authors and scholars debate if any of these stories were actually based on fact, although there were numerous eyewitnesses of the Countess' reign of sadism. Some of the eyewitnesses' accusations involved torture including everything from the use of needles under fingernails, to torture and death by freezing, to biting and burning of the flesh off of arms and genitalia, and who could forget the drinking of these poor souls' life force...their blood. Other more not credible claims included the Countess' affair with Satan himself and the visual reversal of her physical age.

Countess Bathory's rule of malice began to crumble in the year of 1610, when bodies were beginning to pop up around the castle grounds. Certain women were known to be missing throughout the town below the Countess' castle and so the townsfolk put two and two together. She was put on trial that same year, along with her loyal band of sadistic aides. All of her cohorts were put to death in ways that befit their crimes, but the lovely and youthful looking Countess was not executed as she was of noble blood. It is rumored that this trial was set in place not only to find justice for the murdered women of the town but to also assist the government in confiscating a majority of Elizabeth's property. The Countess escaped the execution for her crimes but was literally bricked into her own castle, with nothing but a small hole for the transfer of food as her window to the outside world. Elizabeth Bathory died of natural causes after four years of being sealed up and left to mentally and physically marinate in the surrounding darkness of her castle and crimes.

Following the Countess' death, a whole collectin of manuscripts was discovered in the Castle. Some claim that these manuscripts documented murders not merely of just thirty to fifty women (as the trial had held) but over six hundred women total. Over the years, the Countess' story has undoubtedly been exagerrated and manipulated for dramatic effect, including the theory of her vampirism. There have been quite a few books written and based on her scarily fascinating life: exploring both the dark side as well as a more debatable kinder side. Movies have been made on Countess Bathory, including one of my favorite older horror films, Countess Dracula...which was made in the early '70s (scroll down and you can view this film in its entirety). There was also a more recent movie entitled Bathory that can be rented through Netflix. In the '80s and '90s, the rock music crowds heard loud, heavy metal splashes of the Countess' name from a Swedish band entitled Bathory.

No matter how much the "Queen of Vampires" story has been dramatized to fit our millenium's meanderings of vampires and female serial killers, we can all agree that whatever actually occurred within the walls of Castle Csejthe will intrigue and inspire the twisted and maimed of heart for centuries to come.

Written and copyrighted © by Kitty the Dreamer (May Canfield), 2012. All Rights Reserved.

© 2010 Kitty Fields


Submit a Comment

  • Robert Sacchi profile image

    Robert Sacchi 

    20 months ago

    Thank you for separating fact from fiction. I saw "Countess Dracula" before I learned it was based on a historic figure. I found out the movie was based on a historic figure when a special about vampires, hosted by George Hamilton.

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    hiii plzzz they said that they keep here in here room and she dead there she is still in the that room here body is still in that room and where is this castel

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    Seeker - Thanks so much! This was actually one of the first hubs I've ever written (about 2 years ago now) and I thought I'd put it in the spotlight for halloween again. Countess Bathory in my mind was no doubt plagued by mental illness, which I believe had something to do with her epilepsy or fits as a child as well. Definitely a sociopath...but a real vampire, I'm not so sure about that. Genetics I'm sure has something to play into it, but yes the story has been elaborated throughout the years. Thanks for the comment!

  • Seeker7 profile image

    Helen Murphy Howell 

    6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

    Kitty as always another fascinating hub!!

    Elizabeth Bathory is certainly an enigma and I've no doubt that many of her crimes have been embellished over the centuries - perhaps such as tales told to children at night like the bogeyman? Whether we'll ever know the exact truth about this woman is open to debate of course, but looking at it from both our nurses point of view, do you think she was mentally ill, for example sociopathic? She seems to have the traits of at least some mental pathology - maybe suffering brain damage due to her childhood fits? Or is it all in the genetics? It would be interesting to find out if any of her family were viewed as being cruel and/or mentally ill?

    This was an excellent and thoroughly absorbing hub about this strange and very scary woman - what a place her castle would be for a ghost hunt!!

  • gmwilliams profile image

    Grace Marguerite Williams 

    7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

    Excellent hub. Elizabeth Bathory and Vlad Tepes, two of the most evil people in history. You did an excellent job on this hub.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    7 years ago from Summerland

    Mike - Very good points. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

  • profile image

    Mike Vanderpool 

    7 years ago

    I can truly say that i do believe in vampires and that if Queen Elizabeth can do what she did she should have gotten the full punishment that every evil vampire should get. Burn her in the sun that's what they should have done. When i say all the evil vampires i say that because i believe that even vampires have good in them and that some are sweet and kind!!!!!

  • amymarie_5 profile image

    Amy DeMarco 

    7 years ago from Chicago

    I truly enjoyed reading this hub. It's amazing how she got away with what she did for so long. I think her punishment was worse than death. Imagine being in solitary confinement for the rest of your life. I LOVE the pic of the castle. Very cool. Rated up and interesting.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    7 years ago from Summerland

    thank you so much, papernotes! i really enjoyed writing this hub...i found the story of countess bathory to be dark and intriguing.

  • PaperNotes profile image


    7 years ago

    Wow, I was really awestrucked by your hub.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    7 years ago from Summerland

    no, thank you Nell! i loved your hub on the sleeping girl, as well.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 

    7 years ago from England

    Hi, Ooh now this is my kind of thing! lol fascinating history of an evil woman, great stuff! thanks nell


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