The Female Count Dracula – Elisabeth Ba’thory
Everyone has heard of Vlad The Impaler or, better known in Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula. There have been so many movies about him that he has become immortal.
The story is that he impaled his enemies to send a message that he was ruthless in defending his country and his people from the invading Turks. It was his way of trying to instill such fear into the Turks they would leave his country never more to return.
What many do not realize, is there was a female version of Count Dracula who was much worse. She was known as Countess Blood. Unlike Dracula, who killed people to defend his homeland, the countess was a sadomasochist. Bathory, however, was much worse than the notorious Marquis De Sade, the man whose exploits and sexual crimes were so gruesome that they coined the term “sadist” after him.
The Countess tortured to death over 650 young girls between the ages of 11 and 14. That number is an estimate. The true number is believed to be much higher. Elisabeth also believed that bathing in young virgins blood would keep her young forever.
Now, the bathing in blood may be just a rumor to add to the countess’ already formidable reputation or the fact that there was so much blood on her hands from her many young victims.
Bathory’s torture included jamming pins and needles under the fingernails of her servant girls and tying them down, smearing them with honey, and leaving them to be attacked by bees and ants.
Elisabeth (Erzsebet) Ba’thory was born in Transylvania in 1560 (must be something in Transylvania’s water) from a very distinguished family. However, there were a few nuts in the Ba’thory family belfry as well.
One uncle introduced her to Satanism, while an aunt introduced her to sadomasochism. Interesting lessons for a young girl of 15 who was soon to be married to a Count.
Elizabeth married a Count Nadady and settled into the family Csejthe Castle where the count, anxious to please his young bride, built her a torture chamber, one constructed to her exact specifications.
Unsupervised by her husband, who was off defending his lands against the Ottomans, Elizabeth was free to torture and kill at will. The atrocities she committed were so horrendous that the King himself was forced to intervene in 1610. This is especially notable, as Elizabeth came from a wealthy and powerful family. Their influence allowed her to get away with her crimes for as long as she did. In the end, however, it was more beneficial, politically, for King Matthias, the reigning ruler of Romania, to step in.
He sent one of his most trusted men to investigate and when they arrived at her castle, they literally found Elisabeth busy torturing girls. Bodies, limbs, and blood littered the floor-all of them young girls.
Elisabeth was found guilty of only a measly 80 murders of the young peasant girls and daughters of titled lords because they couldn’t prove that she was guilty of the others.
Although they did charge her with those 80 murders, along with her accomplices, only her cohorts in crime were executed for the murders.
Elizabeth escaped execution but was imprisoned in the tower for three years, when her body was discovered. Actually, the actual description was that she was walled up inside the tower with only a small slit of a window to pass food through.
The only way anyone knew she was dead was when her food was discovered untouched.
Some historians believe that the notorious Elisabeth Ba’thory was the true inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Considering that the story was about a prince who impaled his enemies, I’m inclined to not believe she was. However, there is no doubt that her life’s history is very interesting.
What is also interesting, is how a novel written by Bram Stoker’s took Vlad the Impaler from the faded pages of history and made him immortal. Whereas time made Elisabeth Ba’thory fade into the annals of history relatively unknown.
Goes to show that it is indeed true that the pen is mightier than the sword.