Elizabeth Bathory, the Bloody Lady of Cachtice

The Infamous Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory

December 9 2007 Categorized Under: True Horror Stories 15 Commented
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Elizabeth Báthory is known as Bloody Lady of Cachtice, the most infamous serial killer in Hungarian and Slovak history. She was an educated woman who could read and write in four languages. The Báthory family was one of the wealthiest in Central Europe. The rivalry they had with the Habsburgs is considered a potential reason for conspiracy against her.

Painting of Bathory
Oil Painting of the Countess, believed to be a realistic portrait

In 1610 and 1611, testimonies were collected from more than 300 witness accounts, which suggest that Báthory killed many local peasant girls. The descriptions of torture that emerged during the trials were often based on hearsay. They included:

  • severe beatings over extended periods of time
  • burning or mutilation of hands, faces, and genitalia
  • biting the flesh off the faces, arms and other bodily parts
  • freezing or starving victims to death

In 1610, she was imprisoned in Cachtice Castle, where she remained in her room until her death four years later.

If you watched Hostel – Part II, you saw a woman (Monika Malacova) bathing in the blood draining out of a hanging victim. Eli Roth called her Mrs. Bathory. This is in reference to the legend that Elizabeth Báthory bathed in the blood of her victims so that she may retain her youth and beauty. This legend was spread in the 1700s by men like László Turóczi and Matthias Bel. However, there is no proof that this ever happened.

Mrs. Bathory
Scene from Hostel: Part Eww

The emergence of the bloodbath myth coincided with the vampire scares that haunted Europe in the early 18th century. The connection between the two myths would later be made in the 1970s. Some have tried to establish the myth surrounding Elizabeth Báthory as a source of influence for Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula. This theory is strongly disputed, however.

Countess Dracula
Ingrid Pitt in Countess Dracula, a Hammer horror film from 1971 based on Elizabeth Báthory

There’s a movie called Bathory that was created by Slovak filmmaker Juraj Jakubisko and released in 2008. The plot deals with the life of Elizabeth Báthory and takes place in what is now Slovakia (at the time it was a part of the Kingdom of Hungary). Said Jakubisko about the film:

�Countess Elizabeth Bathory is the most famous Austro-Hungarian aristocrat that lived in what is Slovakia today. She supposedly murdered 650 people during her lifetime. I think this theory is absurd and thought of creating my own legend, which would show her in a completely different light, very tender, and tenderness is related to art� What is interesting about this story is that it doesn�t even lack humour and it is also a kind of crime story as there are two monks investigating what is actually going on with Bathory. But there is also political intrigue, and the drama of an intelligent woman too weak to face all the odds she had to face� It is the story of a woman, Elizabeth Bathory, who, in short, was unfortunate to have been born at the wrong time in history��