Countess Elizabeth Báthory (Báthory Erzsébet , August 7, 1560 – August 21, 1614) was a countess from the renowned Báthory family. She is possibly the most prolific female serial killer in history and is remembered as the "Blood Countess" . 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 she was convicted was 80. The case has 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. On 21 August 1614, Elizabeth Báthory was found dead in her castle. Since there were several plates of food untouched, her actual date of death is unknown.
According to the testimonies, her initial victims were local peasant girls, many of whom were lured to Čachtice by offers of well-paid work as maidservants in the castle. Later she is said to have begun to kill daughters of lower gentry, who were sent to her gynaeceum by their parents to learn courtly etiquette. Abductions were said to have occurred as well. At the trial there were accusations of pagan practices and witchcraft.
The descriptions of torture that emerged during the trials were often based on hearsay. The atrocities described most consistently included:
◘severe beatings over extended periods of time, often leading to death
◘burning or mutilation of hands, sometimes also of faces and genitalia
◘biting the flesh off the faces, arms and other bodily parts including biting off and eating the bellybuttons
◘freezing to death
◘surgery on victims, often fatal
◘starving of victims
The use of needles was also mentioned by the collaborators in court.
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