In preparation for this years festivities I am re-posting another installment from my 2010 October Spookfest series. This one was about vampires...sort of...
I'm surprised that this is my first foray into Vampires during October Spookfest. I love Vampires and am slightly obsessed with them! I will gladly admit that I read all of the Twilight series and The Vampire Diaries books (the show is so much better and Ian Somerhalder is HOT!). However, my love of Vampires isnt a new thing. I have loved them since I was a kid. My sisters and I were huge Lost Boys fans, and then there was Anne Rice of course. But more than that is all the Vampire lore that is out there. I find it all extremely fascinating! Which is why today I am posting about Elizabeth Bathory.
Bathory is not a Vampire in the 'I vanna sock your blad' kind of way. She was a real historical figure that often times gets linked to Vampires because of her blood lust. Not because she drank it, mind you. Its because she bathed in it.
In 1560 Elizabeth Bathory was born into a wealthy family in Hungary and married the Slovakian Count Ferenc Nadasdy when she was 15, thus making her a Countess. Together they lived in the Castle Sarvar and had babies, most of which died. The count spent most of his time out fighting battles and Bathory spent most of her times having affairs. That is of course until she found her true passion of killing young girls.
It is said that Bathory was quite beautiful, with black hair and pale skin. But time can be cruel and as she got older it started to show. She was vain, of course, and was jealous of all the young peasent girls in her employ. She began to take out her frustrations on them, punishing them in horrific ways. She would beat them, burn them, and stick pins under their fingernails. Thats not all of course. In the winter she would execute a girl by stripping her naked in the snow, then dousing her with water until she froze to death. The Count also delighted in these tortures, and educated Bathory in a summertime version of this act. Dousing the girl with honey so that she would be bitten by insects.
The Count died in 1604 and Bathory moved back to her families estate. At this point, 40 and widowed, she was desperate to retain her beauty at any cost. Nothing was working, however, and she was becoming more and more angry. It is believed that she struck one her maids across the face one day, causing blood to splatter across her hand. When she wiped the blood away she saw smoother, younger skin. At least in her deranged mind, that is. Excited, she had the maid killed and her blood drained into a bathtub so that she could bathe in it.
For 10 years she did this. She had accomplices of course, who would seek out the girls to 'work' in the castle. Rumours spread about the Countess' cruelty and all the missing girls, but they were peasents and did not matter. The young girls began to run out though, and the Countess needed to come up with a new plan.
Offering classes in etiquette and manners, noble familes willingly sent there daughters to Bathory. She was a Countess afterall, with a long line of royality in her family. These aristocratic young girls were the perfect victims for Bathory. They were of noble blood, afterall, which meant that its effects would be stronger when she bathed in it. The fact that they were noble, however, meant that their disappearances would not go unnoticed.
Bathory and her helpers had become careless. This had been going on for over 10 years, afterall. Instead of buying the bodies of the dead victimes, they began tossing them out the window, hoping the wolves would take care of them. Reports were coming out that the daughters of noble familes were disappearing after attending classes at Bathory's castle, and eventually men were sent to investigate. What did they find? Dozens of dead and dying young women littered around the castle. It was evident that these women had been torured in extremely gruesome manners.
So now that she was caught its safe to assume that she was executed, right? Wrong! Bathory was a countess and could not go to trial. All of her cohorts could, though, and they were executted in ways befitting the crimes. In an attempt to make Bathory pay for the evils she had committed, she was sealed into a small room in her castle, her only human contact the guards that passed her food through a slot in the door. She was entombed there for 4 years before she was found dead. She murdered over 600 women during her bloody reign of terror.