March is Women’s History month, and so we at Cutting Edge Haunted House in Fort Worth bring you the story of a famous woman in history renowned not only for her evil deeds, but who has also been featured in numerous works of fiction including Countess Dracula, Daughters of Darkness, Stay Alive and Fright Night 2: New Blood. That woman was Countess Elizabeth Bathory de Ecsed.
Born in Hungary in the summer of 1560, Elizabeth was engaged at ten and married at the age of 15 to the son of a baron, and set up housekeeping in a family-owned castle which was their wedding present. Before the marriage, however, at the age of 13, Elizabeth became pregnant by one of the castle servants, whom her husband-to-be promptly had castrated and thrown to the dogs. Elizabeth was secreted away until she gave birth to a daughter, whose fate remains a mystery.
Around the age of 25 — just two years after the birth of her first child with her husband, Elizabeth, left largely to her own devices while her spouse was off at war, began a killing spree that would earn her the label of most prolific female murderer by Guinness World Records.
Charged with the management and protection of her husband’s estates, Elizabeth had tremendous power over a significant number of Hungarian and Slovak people, and quickly discovered a penchant for torturing and mutilating servant girls, sometimes even biting off the flesh of their faces. When she was finally brought to trial in 1611, some seven years after the death of her husband, Elizabeth and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing as many as 650 young girls. The stories of her brutality and serial murders were testified to by more than 300 witnesses and survivors, and confirmed by physical evidence and the presence of horribly mutilated dead, dying and imprisoned girls found at the time of her arrest.
Elizabeth was imprisoned in a set of rooms in her castle until she died in 1614, however her legend lives on. Years after her death stories surfaced around her vampire-like tendencies, including one bizarre tale of how she bathed in the blood of virgins in order to retain her youth. Her infamy became part of Hungary’s national folklore, and she is often compared with Vlad III, the Impaler of Wallachia, one of the roots of the Count Dracula character. Appropriately, her nicknames are Countess Dracula and The Blood Countess.
Now who says a woman can’t do anything a man can do?