Know by the Book of Guinness World records as the most prolific female murderer in the history of humanity, her name is Elizabeth Báthory (Hungarian: Báthory Erzsébet, pronounced [ˈbaːtori ˈɛrʒeːbɛt]; Slovak: Alžbeta Bátoriová; 7 August 1560 – 21 August 1614). Although the actual number of victims will never know, it is estimated that she killed over 650 people, mostly female servants.

Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed
Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed

The Origins of Her Lust for Blood

Born in 1560 or 61 to Baron George VI Báthory of the Ecsed in Transylvania. Her family included kings, judges and cardinals. This of course contributed to why she got away with what she did for so long. Elizabeth lived most of her life at the Esced castle in Hungary, where it still stands today. A child of inbreeding, Elizabeth suffered from epilepsy “the falling illness” which caused several injuries from her falls throughout childhood.

It is believed that her fascination with blood stemmed from the treatment of her epilepsy, which was to rub the blood of someone who did not have epilepsy on her lips. Another treatment was to give her a mix of a human skull and human blood as her seizures subsided. These frequent and totally useless remedies contributed to her bloodlust and desire for suffering, as well as her superstitious belief that blood would keep her young..

Married at only 15, her husband constructed a torture chamber to her specification in the Csejthe Castle.

Csejthe Castle
Count Nadady, and the couple settled into Csejthe Castle

Her Unfortunate Victims

Because of the rumours of servant girls being mutilated by the Countess spread across the country, people began to notice.

In this castle, it is reported that she killed over 600 human beings in violent and depraved rituals. Although the tales of her bathing in blood were recorded many years after her death, it is not inconceivable that she would have entertained the idea.

She tortured local peasant girls that she would hire as servants.  After her husband died in early 1600, her impulses were unrestrained. Her cruelty knew no bounds. With her former nurse and the witch for the village, Elizabeth lured and killed over 600 women.

Jamming pins under the nails of the girls was just one of the ways she would torture her victims. Smearing women with honey and leaving them to be eating by nature. She often bit chunks of flesh from the women. Some she would force to cook and eat their flesh.

Bathory believed that human blood would keep her young.
Bathory believed that human blood would keep her young.

Elizabeth was eventually stopped by her family and convicted of 80 murders. Only Elizabeth escaped execution. Her sentence was to spend the rest of her life in Csejthe Castle, where she died at the age of 54.