In the year 1560, Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed was born into royalty in Hungary. Her family rose to significant influence in Central Europe at the end of the dark ages. While her family was focussed on fortifying military power and taking administrative roles, Elizabeth was focussed on other “projects”.
She was particularly known for abducting and killing women between the age of 10 and 14 years old. The list of her atrocities is long and terrifying:
- Biting flesh off the face of her victims
- Burning and mutilating victim’s hands
- Severe beatings
- Covering victims in honey and live ants
- Freezing women to death
- Burning women to death
- Using hot metal objects in torture
- Draining blood from victims for baths to preserve her youth
- She was also suspected of cannibalism
The final number of victims she tortured was unknown. However, she was accused of killing up to 650 women.
Trial and conviction of the Evil Countess
After many dark rumors were heard, a complaint and legal proceedings were brought against her. Her family took time to respond, reluctant to have anything official tarnish the family name.
She was arrested while having dinner, along with 4 of her servants who were accused of being accomplices.
During the trial, more than 35 survivors testified against her per day. Additionally, all except one of her servants testified against her. The servants provided evidence in the form of body parts and cadavers. Additionally, the detained victims that she kept were released.
She was imprisoned in the Castle of Čachtice, which is now a ruin located in Slovakia (show below).
The unexplained death of Countess Elizabeth Báthory
Elizabeth was imprisoned by house arrest in the Castle of Čachtice in 1611, three years before her death. The night of her death, she had complained to a guard that her hands were very cold. The following morning she was found dead in her bed at the age of 54. She was probably poisoned, to clear the family name and put her history in the past. The official cause of her death is unknown.
Only a month before her death, she had been required to distribute the valuables of her estate to her children and other family members. Being part of the family was no longer an option, as she had essentially damaged the family name.
The location of her bury body is unknown, which says how much her family cared about her after she was found guilty.
Some writers have claimed the possibility of a conspiracy against her and her family. The rise of religious conflict and war were happening during this timeframe that her family accumulated a lot of land and power. Additionally, to support her innocence, more than 300 witness accounts were gathered. However, it’s likely that she was guilty, as there were significant witnesses and evidence against her. Even her servants were terrified of her.