Countess Elizabeth Báthory

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Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed (Báthory Erzsébet in Hungarian, Alžbeta Bátoriová in Slovak; 7 August 1560 – 21 August 1614) was a countess from the renowned Báthory family of Hungarian nobility. Although in modern times she has been labelled the most prolific female serial killer in history, evidence of her alleged crimes is scant and her guilt is debated. She is nevertheless remembered as the "Blood Countess" or "Blood Queen."

After her husband's death, she and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls and young women, with one witness attributing to them over 600 victims, though the number for which they were convicted was 80.[1] Elizabeth herself was neither tried nor convicted. In 1610, however, she was imprisoned in the Csejte Castle, now in Slovakia and known as Čachtice, where she remained bricked in a set of rooms until her death four years later.

Later writings about the case have led to legendary accounts of the Countess bathing in the blood of virgins in order to retain her youth and subsequently also to comparisons with Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia, on whom the fictional Count Dracula is partly based, and to modern nicknames of the Blood Countess and Countess Dracula.

Contents

Life

Early years

Elizabeth Báthory was born on a family estate in Nyírbátor, Hungary on 7 August 1560, and spent her childhood at Ecsed Castle. Her father was George Báthory of the Ecsed branch of the family, brother of Andrew Bonaventura Báthory, who had been Voivod of Transylvania, while her mother was Anna Báthory (1539–1570), daughter of Stephen Báthory of Somlyó, another Voivod of Transylvania, was of the Somlyó branch. Through her mother, Elizabeth was the niece of the Hungarian noble Stefan Báthory, King of Poland and Duke of Transylvania.

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