Strange & Unusual Spotlight:
One of the most infamous serial killers in human history was dressed in elegant gowns and roamed the halls of Čachtice Castle in the Little Carpathians of Slovakia. And with the names of the Blood Countess and Countess Dracula, the atrocities Báthory committed over 20 years are just as horrific as you might imagine.
Báthory was born into nobility, and many scholars and historians believe that her fascination with blood began at a disturbingly early age. It is thought that Elizabeth suffered from seizures throughout her childhood and the remedy in the 14th century was to take healthy blood and rub it on the lips of the afflicted. Of course, it might also have something to do with the fact that her family enjoyed torturing prisoners…
In 1585, Elizabeth Báthory’s reign of terror began, and over the next 24 years, she supposedly killed over 600 young women and girls. Báthory started small, luring girls aged 10-14 years old to Čachtice Castle with the promise of honest work and good pay. Over the years, she branched out to daughters of the gentry and even began abducting women in the surrounding villages. Torture in Čachtice Castle was brutal, and over 300 eyewitnesses accused Báthory of mutilating the girls’ hands, biting the flesh from their faces, leaving them outside to freeze, starving them, and even covering the girls with honey and releasing ants onto them. Torture parties and blood orgies were also said to be part of family celebrations (including her daughter’s wedding).
She is most infamous, of course, for her bloody baths.
According to legend, Báthory would drain her victims of their blood and then bathed in that blood in the hopes of retaining her beauty. She is even suspected of cannibalism.
Elizabeth Báthory was arrested in 1610 and placed under house arrest for four years until her death in 1614. Initially, she was buried in the church of Čachtice, but the villagers protested the Blood Countess’s presence, and so she was moved to her hometown in Ecsed and the Báthory family crypt. The location of her body, today, is unknown.
The legend of Elizabeth Báthory has evolved over the centuries so much so, that today, it is almost impossible to find the truth between fact and fiction.
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