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Elizabeth Bathory: Not Guilty?

Atarah, though a stay at home mom, spends a lot of her free time researching history, crimes, and monsters.

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The Beginning

Born to a noble family Elizabeth came into this world on August 7, 1560. Her health was far from perfect, it being said that she suffered from seizures likely caused by Epilepsy. Such seizures may be what led her to her later actions.

It was believed, in those years, that by rubbing blood of a non-epileptic person on the sufferer's lips would in turn cure them. But is this truly what led to her supposed actions?

Her family was known to be cruel and Elizabeth was forced to watch them torment people from a very young age. Perhaps said actions is what truly led her down the path of a murderer. One is what they know and this is what she knew. Death. Torture.


Accusations

Accusations did not begin until after Elisabeth was married into the Nadasdy family. She received a castle from her husband as a wedding gift at the age of fifteen. During this time her husband would often be gone in battle, leaving Elizabeth to handle all of the responsibility.

As such it is only normal that Elizabeth's power grew, something frowned upon due to her being a woman. Let's remember that during this time in history females were not to have this kind of power, especially in Hungary. And it was during this time that the accusations began.

Her victims were said to be as young as ten, often being young women. Said victims started out as lower class women only to move up to those of higher class. She would torture these victims in many ghastly ways. Severely beating, burning and mutilating them until they died. There were reports that Bathory drank their blood and also ate her victims in an act of cannibalism.

It was King Matthias II, who upon hearing of these accusations, that decided to send Thurzo to investigate these said crimes. Thurzo, who was Elizabeth's cousin, claimed that he witnessed said crimes upon his arrival to the castle in order to investigate his cousin. He, along with two others saw with their "own eyes", her horrid actions.

Elizabeth was arrested on December 12, 1610.

Imprisonment

Due to Bathory's noble blood they were not certain what to do with her as punishment for her crimes. In the end it was decided that she would be kept as prisoner in her own castle.

Letters written by Thurzo suggested that he had her imprisoned in a brick room where she was unable to do anything. However there are other sources that show that she may not have been locked up in such a room but was instead able to roam at her own free will.

No matter what the case, it was while she was imprisoned that Bathory's life came to an end. It's said that she complained about her hands feeling cold to the guard. The guard in return told her that it was nothing to worry about. She was found dead after that.

A Journal? What Journal?

During Elizabeth's trail it was said by a witness that Elizabeth had a journal where she kept record of her transgressions. In this said journal Elizabeth wrote in grave detail everything she did to her victims and that it is within this journal that she proved she killed 610 people. But where is this journal?

The journal that was mention ended up never showing up nor did they ever find such a journal. Still they used this journal against Elizabeth in her trails. They, in fact, used a lot of rumors in her trials rather than fact. For example, Elizabeth bathed in blood. This was not proven and it is believed that she never did such a thing.

Seems like the trial was far from fair.

What We Know Now

There a lot of things we need to consider when we think about Bathory. We need to keep in mind that during those days the people had such odd beliefs. Vampires, for example, were real instead of being a subject of fabricated stories.

Some historians have even brought up some things that have to make us question whether she indeed was guilty. King Matthias did not like the idea of Bathory holding down the responsibility of her husband while he was away. In fact he likely did not approve of her having such power since she was a women. All the more reason for him to start the investigation. It is even wondered if the king paid off the witnesses to make it out like Elizabeth was guilty.

Today Elizabeth is considered the most prolific female murderer by Guinness World Records. Her story, is overall captivating enough that movies have been made. To this day many still believe that she is guilty. While others have started to question it.

Was Elizabeth actually a victim in a world where a woman was thought to be below man? Until more evidence comes into play we will not know the truth. Perhaps we may never know.

The blood countess innocent? I can see it.

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