A History of Halloween
Evil Women
The Many Faces of Dracula
Halloween Nostalgia
Homes of the Dearly Departed
Not Quite Dead
Ghoulies, Ghosties, and Giggles

Evil Women

~ Erzsebet Bathory ~

Erzsebet (Elizabeth) Bathory was born in Hungary in 1560, approximately a hundred years after Vlad the Impaler died. One of her ancestors, Prince Steven Bathory, was even a commanding officer who helped Vlad Dracula In 1546, when he claimed back the throne in Wallachia.

At the time Elizabeth was born, her parents George and Anna Bathory belonged to one of the oldest and wealthiest families in the country. Her cousin was the prime minister in Hungary, another relative was cardinal, and her uncle Stephan later became King of Poland.

The noble Báthory family stemmed from the Hun Gutkeled clan which held power in broad areas of east central Europe (in those places now known as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania), and had emerged to assume a role of relative eminence by the first half of the 13th century. Abandoning their tribal roots, they assumed the name of one of their estates (Bátor meaning 'valiant') as a family name.

Their power rose to reach a zenith by the mid 16th century, but declined and faded to die out completely by 1658. Great kings, princes, members of the judiciary, as well as holders of ecclesiastical and civil posts were among the ranks of the Báthorys. 
But the Bathory-family, beside the very rich and famous, also contained some very strange relatives. One uncle was said to be a devil-worshipper.

Nadasdy Coat of Arms

In the spring 1575, at the age of 15, Elizabeth was married (for political gain and position) to Count Ferencz Nadasdy, who was 25, and a renowned war hero whose sadistic flair would ultimately earn him fame as "The Black Hero of Hungary." The Count added her surname to his, so Elizabeth could keep her family name "Bathory".  Nadasdy was rough soldier of (nevertheless) aristocratic stock and manner.
By reason of the marriage, she became the lady of the Castle of Csejthe, his home, situated deep in the Carpathian mountains of what is now central Romania, but which then was known only as Transylvania. Located near no exciting urban center, the castle was surrounded by a village of simple peasants and rolling agricultural lands, interspersed with the jagged outcroppings of the frozen Carpathians.

While her husband was pursuing his passion for war, throughout all the 25 years they were married, Elizabeth was often left to herself, and her life became more and more boring. For amusement, beside admiring her own beauty in the mirror for hours, she took on young men as lovers, and one time even ran off with one, but she soon returned home and the Count forgave her.
Though much speculation has been published with regard to the Countess' marriage, Fernencz's frequent absences were a hard fact. The first few years of their marriage produced few children, and it was during these long periods of solitude that Elizabeth's sadistic nature took rein.  There has been much speculation as to its influence.
At a young age, Elizabeth witnessed the execution of a traitorous gypsy; the accused was stuffed in the dissected belly of a live horse and sewn inside. The gypsy's death was presented as a public spectacle (one particularly titillating for the nobles who attended); no sympathy was shown for the man's death nor was any remorse present on the faces of his executioners. This incident convinced young Elizabeth - in whom the seeds of cruelty had been sown at birth - that commoners could be killed with impunity and without fear of retribution.

Remains of Csjethe Castle
Elizabeth began amusing herself by paying visits to her aunt Countess Klara Bathory, an open bisexual. She presumably enjoyed herself with her aunt Klara, since she visited her aunt's estate frequently.
It was also then she began to develop an interest in the occult. An old maid named Dorothea Szentes, also called Dorka, who was a real witch, instructed her in the ways of witchcraft and Black Magic. Later Dorka became Bathory's helping hand, when she was encouraging Elizabeth's sadistic tendencies, like the inflicting of pain upon people.

Together with Dorka, Elizabeth began the task of disciplining the female servants, and torture them in an underground chamber. In the Countess's service, as helpers in the macabre punishments of the servants, was her old nurse Iloona Joo, her manservant Johannes Ujvary and a maid named Anna Darvula, who alleged also was Elizabeth's lover.

Elizabeth was not alone in her 'unusual' interests. Aware of Elizabeth's complex preoccupations, and amused by them, her aunt had introduced her also to the pleasures of flagellation (enacted upon desolate others of course), a taste Elizabeth quickly acquired.

Equipped with silver claws -- an instrument made of a whip tipped with claw-shaped silver talons, she generously indulged herself, whiling away many lonely hours at the expense of forlorn Slav debtors from her own dungeons. The more shrill their screams and the more copious the blood, the more exquisite and orgasmic her amusement.
She preferred to whip her 'subjects' on the front of their nude bodies rather than their backs, not only for the increased damage potential, but so that she could gleefully watch their faces contort in horror at their most grim and burning fate.

Countess Erzsebeta Bathory

Her husband died in 1604 (some say 1602) of stab wounds imposed on him by a harlot in Bucharest whom he had not paid, and Elizabeth immediately dreamed of a lover to replace him, since she never cared for him in the first place.  

However, the mirror showed her that her prurient indulgences, as well as time, had taken their toll on her appearance. Her 'angelic' complexion had long since faded to something less than perfection; she had reached 43. Her desire for a lover did not fade; she raged deep within, cursing time.

Her mood deteriorated markedly and one day, as she viciously struck a servant girl for a minor oversight, she drew blood when her pointed nails raked the girl's cheek. The wound was serious enough that some of the blood got onto Elizabeth's skin. Later, Elizabeth was quite sure that that part of her own body - where the girl's blood had dropped - looked fresher somehow; younger, brighter and more pliant.

Immediately she consulted her alchemists for their opinion on the phenomenon. They, of course, were enjoying her hospitality and did not wish to disappoint, so, fortunately, they did recall a case many many years before and in a distant place where the blood of a young virgin had caused a similar effect on an aged (but generous) personage of nobility and good grace.

With such clear evidence at hand, Elizabeth was convinced that here was a brilliant discovery; a method to restore and preserve her youthful glow forever.  She reasoned that if a little was good, then a lot would be better: she firmly believed that if she bathed in the blood of young virgins -- and in the case of especially pretty ones, drank it -- she would be gloriously beautiful and strong once again.

For years, Elizabeth's trusted helper in her various secret pleasures had been Dorotta Szentes. Now with her, and other 'witches' to help carry the load, Elizabeth roamed the countryside by night, hunting for suitable virginal girls as raw material for her difficult quest.



A TerraDara Site
© 2005 - 2016 JHB

Jan Herritage Brown