Elizabeth Bathory was born on August 7, 1560 in modern day Slovakia. She was born into a powerful and very well connected Transylvanian family. Her relatives included the governor of Transylvania, The king of Poland, and the prince of Transylvania. She had everything going for her in her life, she was rich, beautiful, and her family was well respected. Her family made sure she was well educated, she was able to speak several different languages. Elizabeth Bathory, a women who had every opportunity and advantage would become one of the worst mass murderers in history. She would become known as the blood countess.
Elizabeth Bathory's Marriage
At just 10-years-old she was promised to Ferencz Nadasdy, a professional soldier. Marrying him at 15, in 1575, she kept her last name as was the custom at the time since her family was more powerful than his. Unfortunately for her husband, her scandalous behavior had already begun before the marriage had taken place. It is thought that during their engagement she had became pregnant and delivered a child in secrecy. The infant was adopted and anyone who knew of the "situation" was paid off. The child was named Anastasia Bathory born in 1574. This was not a case of passion between two people headed towards marriage, she had not yet met the man she was promised to, and during the marriage Elizabeth took many male lovers while her husband was away, which was often.
Elizabeth Bathory's Children
The marriage produced three children, Anna Nadasdy (1585), Katalin Nadasdy (1594), and Paul Nadasdy (1598-1650). They had two other children but they did not survive infancy. It is not known what kind of mother Elizabeth was to her children so we can only guess.
Her husband's cruelty was well known to the servants. He enjoyed torturing those he felt were beneath him. Lets just say, if he was having a bad day the servants were his punching bag. He once stripped a maid naked in front of the male servants, smeared her body with honey and made her stand outside for a full day, allowing bees and other insects to sting her. Her crime, he thought her lazy. We don’t know if he knew of his wife's actions towards the servants, but from his own actions we can conclude that it might not have bothered him a bit.
We can't be sure of the reasons Elizabeth did what she did, legend says she wanted to bathe in the blood of these young women to retain her youth, others thought she was sadistic and just plain mentally unstable, and others claim that she was bisexual and despised her "unnatural" feelings towards other women and thus took her rage out on them. It is a fact that she only murdered women, she had not one male victim.
The Legend Of Elizabeth Bathory, The Blood Countess
The story goes that a servant girl was doing her hair one day and pulled the Countess's hair too tight. Mad, Elizabeth punched the young girl in the nose which caused blood to spill out. Disgusted, Elizabeth washed her hands and soon realized that the skin touched by the girl's blood now looked younger and firmer. Feeling she had found her "fountain of youth" she ordered the girl to be killed so she could bathe the rest of herself in the servant's blood.
Rather than just murdering these girls Elizabeth enjoyed torturing her victims. Some of her favorite weapons were knives, needles, razors, hot irons, and pokers. It is even said that she designed a death machine called the "Iron Virgin" which was an iron cage filled with blades and shaped like a women.
I personally would never have wanted to work for the Bathory family. She enjoyed putting paper in between women's toes and setting the paper on fire, burning the servant. If she felt your ironing was not up to par she would hold a hot iron to your face until a nice sized scar appeared. Although most of Lady Elizabeth's punishments ended in death she also loved to humiliate her servants. She often forced young girls to strip naked in front of male company.
Elizabeth Bathory Loved Torture
Torture became her favorite pass-time, her body count totaling up to as many as 650 girls, some of these victims were as young as 12. According to official court records Elizabeth participated in cannibalism, biting off chunks of flesh oozing with blood and eating the pieces. It is not clear if the victims where alive or already dead while she did this. She also cooked the girl's flesh serving these "meals" to company.
You would think how is it possible that after so many deaths how could no one know what was happening. Well, it was no secret. The king had received many complaints about Elizabeth, but took no action until he found himself in a disagreement over a loan that Elizabeth's husband had given him. Her husband was already dead so the King didn’t feel her owed her the money any longer, Elizabeth did. After an altercation regarding this matter, the king finally decided to look into the complaints against his her.
What his men found was, for lack of a better word, disturbing. They found numerous girls locked up, girls wounded, starving, dead bodies, and one girl dying. Many of the girls had suffered tragic beatings over years, had burns on their face, arms, legs, genitals, etc. Some had chunks of flesh missing due to Elizabeth biting them then eating the pieces. All in all, it looked as if they had entered hell.
All of her accomplices were tortured and executed. She was found guilty although she fared better than her helpers, she was sealed in her room at her castle, isolated from any outside contact. She remained here until her death 3 years later. Elizabeth wasn't allowed to appear at her own trial and the king forbade anyone to speak her name in public afterwards. She however maintained that she was innocent up until the day she died.
It's really sad that such a tragedy could have went on for three decades with no one intervening for so long, but in those days peasants were considered little more than property and they had no real rights. And, Elizabeth was from one of the wealthiest families in Transylvania and counted more than one relative sitting on a throne. So you might say that the world was her playground and from birth she had probably never had the opportunity to suffer consequences from her actions so she did as she pleased whether wrong or right.
The Story Of Elizabeth Bathory
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Mónica on August 09, 2016:
Hello everyone from Spain! Thank you very much for this great story, Lisa!
Anon on December 12, 2015:
Interesting article, but let's get some facts straight. She was coming from a Hungarian family, that happened to have a few princes and voivodes of Transylvania, as Transylvania was under Hungarian governance. Transylvania is however part of modern Romania. Slovakia where she lived is yet another country who now is independent from Hungary, but it was then a part of the Hungarian empire at the time Bathory lived. Elisabeth Bathory however wasn't either born or lived in Transylvania, and neither was her family from Transylvania. They ruled over Transylvania as appointed by the Hungarian empire, but they were still Hungarian. And I do hope everyone knows Dracula is a fictional character created by a writer who had never set foot in Transylvania :)
Anonymous on September 30, 2015:
I just wanted to point out that THAT pictures isn't 100% her castle, because that castle is in SLovenia, Postojna which is far far away from Romania.
I also liked your article very much. O enjoyed, and I learned a little bit more about Elizabeth Bathory. I knew her from before, I don't know where but I read something about her and I'm glad I could build up more knowledge of her from this article.
Thank you. :) :*
Robert E Smith from Rochester, New York on March 21, 2015:
It is a very good article. I shared it on Pinterest. I am not always quick to just say that people who do crazy things are crazy. I think that vulnerable people can be influenced by other acts of evil that they witness or those forced on them. I think that with the right combination of experiences and pain in their own lives people are susceptible to very real spirit forces who love to be the secret whisper in the ear of such sick minds as she had. I think that the creativity of sadistic pleasure and torment is solid evidence of these forces in the world. No pity, no kindness, no reluctance to perform these heinous acts is not normal. It is evil through. If I am to believe that the Scripture, "God is Love," is true (and I do) is this not evidence of Satanic pure evil? "He was a murderer from the beginning" was written of the devil. Anyway, I voted up and interesting.
kiki on January 08, 2015:
The castle in the pic is actually Predjama castle in Slovenia, not Lady Dracula's castle.
There's an interesting story behind it as well: the owner of the castle was a renowned robber baron, Knight Erazem Luegger. According to the legend, Erazem was besieged in his fortress for over a year. But to the dismay of his adversaries, he continued to survive and mock the attacking soldiers by pelting them with cherries - there was a secret passage in the castle that allowed him to get fresh supplies despite being completely surrounded. (Source: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predjama_Castle) Anyway, no bloodthirsty lady lived in that castle.
Simona on January 29, 2014:
Hi, I found your website accidentally when I tried to find some texts about Elizabeth. But I had to say that most of it what you write here and what write many other autors abroad are just rummors. I'm from Slovakia city Cachtice where she live and "done" this horrible things. But she wasn't any evil she didn't bath in blood, it was a bath from red wine and some herbs. But anyway because of texts like yours many tourists are coming to Cachtice and it's good because we really need it. :D
Lisa Stover (author) from Pittsburgh PA on September 05, 2013:
Thanks for reading and for commenting.
Bradrick H. from Texas on September 05, 2013:
Geez! I don't believe I've heard of this woman before, but she was filled with evil if she done all of those things. You researched this very well. I enjoy reading and learning about subjects and people that I've never heard of before. Reading this encourages me to do more research on here. Great job! Voted up, rated interesting.
Lisa Stover (author) from Pittsburgh PA on April 06, 2013:
I do agree with you that there is so much mystery surrounding her. That's part of why her legend will always live on. Thanks for reading.
Sceptic on April 06, 2013:
While this has been a very interesting read about the myths surrounding Elizabeth Bathory, most of it still is questionable.
1.Elizabeth's land guarded the entrance into Christian Europe, the nobles would have been uncomfortable with a woman helping to prevent this.
2.She made enemies with her neighbouring lord when she refused to marry him, (he was one of her principal accusers).
3.This loan the king refused to pay back was a substantial amount, the Bathory's had held the purse strings of the monarchy.
Therefore it's natural to assume that they would want her dead, but even with her supposed murder of 650 people (which for such a small population I find it hard to believe) they could not kill a noble woman they had to imprison her. Considering the nature of her so called crimes I believe this to largely be the product of a massive propaganda movement that has lasted across the centuries. I do believe that they're are some small nuggets of truth, she was probably a lesbian and quite possibly a sadist. With the nobles raised to see peasants as inferior and as their property I would not be surprised if there is some truth in the torture and humiliation these unfortunate women would have experienced, none of which the nobility or the King would have been bothered by if it was not for power and land. All in all a truly horrible group of people.
Lisa Stover (author) from Pittsburgh PA on March 17, 2013:
What a great idea, I'll have to look into that! Thanks for the continued visits :)
epigramman on March 17, 2013:
a 3rd time visit, Lisa, to one of my favorite hub presentations of all time.
Why not do a hub story on who killed the Black Dahlia?
2:55am lake erie time
Lisa Stover (author) from Pittsburgh PA on February 25, 2013:
I really think that more people knew what was going on, but they decided to look the other way because of who she was. Very sad.
Annette Hendley from London, United Kingdom on February 25, 2013:
Wow Lisa this was one nasty woman. Hopefully we are a bit more civilized today, but I was just wondering how many of those in charge overlook certain crimes when it is at their best interest. Great article though.
femmeflashpoint on November 11, 2012:
Great job putting this together! I believe some people are mentally fouled, and others are just evil because they like it, so it's the lifestyle they choose.
With Bathory we'll never know but it's a pity her people didn't rise up against her in the beginning. To allow the killing of their children for three decades, without organizing and fighting back, is something I can't wrap my mind around.
epigramman on October 28, 2012:
....back to a classic .....and one of my favorite hubs of all time so well put together and documented - and a Happy Halloween to you - and sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 7:13am
Lisa Stover (author) from Pittsburgh PA on August 08, 2012:
Thanks for reading Tamara and Amanda, I've always been fascinated with history...esp. the darker side-it just grabs your attention because it's so interesting.
Amanda Dollak on August 08, 2012:
I've read a book and watched a few documentaries about this woman. Her story horrifies me, but part of me almost needs to understand how a person could do such horrible acts!
Tamara on August 07, 2012:
What a fascinating story/woman! Thanks for sharing, Lisa.
Lisa Stover (author) from Pittsburgh PA on May 25, 2012:
Thanks for the comments! Yes, she wasn't a very good person, that being the understatement of the year!
LadyFae from Under the Stars on June 21, 2011:
Wow, what a woman. And then to think that these days people feel that society has become so very violent lol. She can teach all of them. Good subject.
zzron from Houston, TX. on May 30, 2011:
Very interesting story, something tells me she didn't go to Heaven.
Lisa Stover (author) from Pittsburgh PA on May 29, 2011:
Thanks again epigramman :) I'm truly amazed that so many people were also fascinated with this lady from ages ago :)
epigramman on May 29, 2011:
....well I have been fascinated by this story all of my life right up to the point of retiring from my coffin sleeping days for good and join the ranks of the living once again here at Hubpages ....
I thank you for taking the time to put together such a hall of fame/world class hub and I shall post this on my Facebook page with a direct link back here so the entire world can see what a wonderful job you have done here .... I'll be back for part 2 .....
Lisa Stover (author) from Pittsburgh PA on May 29, 2011:
Thanks for the great comments guys :) I really enjoyed writing this and sharing it with everyone, currently I am working on more historical hubs that interest me. Thanks also for following me and I hope you continue to enjoy my diverse hubs!!
Amy DeMarco from Chicago on May 29, 2011:
It's no wonder that vampire legends originated out of Transylvania. I've heard of this story before but not in so much detail. I truly enjoyed reading this. Voted up.
MysteriousOne on May 29, 2011:
Very interesting read here.It's all new to me! Thank you for sharing that, and I shall follow you.
Frank Atanacio from Shelton on May 26, 2011:
I haven't heard this story so it works well for me-- a very good share Lisa!!!!
Stigma31 from Kingston, ON on May 25, 2011:
I have heard this story, it is amazing how she was able to get more staff. I think even if I heard a rumour about staff being murdered I would think twice before even considering a job there. At what age did she die?
Great hub voting up!
Lisa Stover (author) from Pittsburgh PA on May 25, 2011:
Sam - I am sure someone in this silly world has started one for her lol. Globehouse - The darker side of history has always held my interest, in this society we just don't think of women like this and to find out that one of most disturbed "serial killers in history" was a women just really goes to show you. Thanks for reading:)
globehouse on May 25, 2011:
I remember seeing a documentary about this psychopath..it's said : she had a training school for girls & thus , an ongoing supply of prey ; she would 'bathe in their blood'...thinking it would keep her young.How disgusting! Even more sickening & as you point out : the king knew but looked the other way...Until : he couldn't collect a debt.
A Shocking ; yet , informative hub.
sam3m from New York on May 24, 2011:
do you have any information about joining her fan club? she was probably just misunderstood.
Lisa Stover (author) from Pittsburgh PA on May 24, 2011:
Yes they do tend to get a bad rap lol. Thanks for reading.
Rob from Oviedo, FL on May 24, 2011:
Good read. I can't recall ever reading about anyone from Transylvanian who wasn't killing people.