Elizabeth Bathory

by Bruce W. Klingerman

Countess Elizabeth Bathory was probably one of the most notorious vampires of her time. The countess was very beautiful in her youth, but as time ravaged her features (although she was still very beautiful), she tried make-ups and minerals, but to no avail. All her previous efforts failing, she turned to «witchcraft» to retain her youth. Her assistant, Dorka, told her that she would gain back her youth if she bathed in the blood of virgins at four o’clock in the morning (as this is a magical hour).

This remedy didn’t work; however, and her looks continued to fade. So Dorka told the Countess that she should torture the girls and let their blood splash her face for the spell to work. Countless girls were brought in, tortured, and killed. The people of the village below her castle lived in fear of the Countess, but were too frightened to take action against her. Finally authorities were alerted by several events. First, Elizabeth’s assistants approached a preist with the bodies of several mutilated girls’ corpses, and asked to bury them at night, in total secrecy. This naturally aroused the priest’s suspicions, even after they told him that the girls had died of a rare disease and might cause an epidemic.

The priest reported the incident, but no action was taken. Next, a naked girl, bleeding from numerous wounds was seen by many witnesses running across the courtyard of Bathory Castle, again no action was taken. Finally, however, Elizabeth had two bodies thrown out a window of her castle, in hopes that passing wolves would dispose of the remains.

With all this compelling evidence, Elizabeth Bathory and her assistants were brought to trial. All of them were found guilty of murdering nearly 600 young girls. The Countess’ assistants each were sentenced to have their fingers ripped off and then be burned at the stake. Elizabeth Bathory, however, because of her lineage, got off comparatively easy. She was sentenced to be walled up in Bathory castle

Further reading: McNally, Raymond T. Dracula was a Woman , New York, McGraw-Hill, 1983.