Some of the legends make for a macabre story, but are they all true?
A Killer Dies
Within was the body of a woman, she had died sometime in the previous couple of days. No one could know the exact date, as she was bricked into the tower alone, and had been for the past four years.
She was buried in the grounds of the Church of Csejte, but the villagers, the ones who felt the impact of her crimes the most, rebelled. Her body was dug up and taken to Ecsed, Hungary, where she had been born.
Elizabeth Bathory – as she is known in western cultures – known natively as Báthory Erzsébet in Hungarian, and Alžbeta Bátoriová in Slovak, was born into nobility on 7th August, 1560. Her family name was very prominent in the region, having been that of the King of Poland and several Voivods (governors/generals/princes) of Transylvania.
She was married off early in a political arrangement, where she was gifted the Csejte Castle (now known as Cachtice Castle in Slovakia) by her new husband. Quite a gift for someone only fourteen years of age. Along with the castle came 17 villages and a country house.
Bathory’s husband, Ferenc Nadasdy, was soon off to war, as he was the chief commander of the Hungarian army, and while he was away she would take care of the estate and business affairs. In 1585 she gave birth to her first child, a daughter, and it was at about this time that disappearances of young girls began to take place.
Atrocities Beyond Compare
Elizabeth was said to be luring young women to her castle, and other properties, in order to torture and murder them. At first the victims were the daughters of peasants who were sent for on the promise of work, and then after running out of these she began to lure those of more noble blood, on the pretence of learning court etiquette. It was only after several daughters of those more influential or rich went missing that something was done.
It is unknown how many women were victims of Bathory's crimes, and estimates range from the mid-thirties to over six hundred. However, what is well known are the atrocities that were played out on them – They were beaten, burned and mutilated. She would bite the flesh off their limbs and faces, and once she was done, she would either place them somewhere to freeze or starve to death.
Just before new years in 1610, Elizabeth and several of her servants were arrested at the castle. During the arrest and search of the premises, several bodies were found, another girl wounded and dying, and many more locked up. Elizabeth was placed under immediate house arrest.
Elizabeth was not allowed to defend herself at a trial (some people believe that the entire event was a conspiracy against Elizabeth and the family, and none of these crimes even took place or at least not at her hands) and was immured within a tower in her castle. She was allowed several rooms, but the entrance to the tower was bricked up, with just a hole for food and provisions provided. She was imprisoned like this for four years, before she eventually died.
Of the servants that were arrested with her, three were burned alive – one beheaded beforehand, while the other two had their fingers torn from their hands – the last servant was given life imprisonment.
Can Blood Help Maintain Ones Youth and Beauty?
Although no witness accounts talk of bathing in blood, it would seem this has become the more popular notion. There are several legends and versions on why she started, but they all culminate in the same thing – Elizabeth Bathory believed that the blood of young women allowed her to retain her youth. She would bleed the girls dry and apply and bathe in their blood.
There is no real evidence for this but it makes for a good story.
But what if it was true?
Can human blood help keep a woman’s youthful appearance?
Many celebrities and people of money seem to think so. A vampire or blood facial is a more recent type of beauty therapy that some are seeking out. The process begins with the technician taking several vials of their clients blood, and placing it in a centrifuge where the plasma, platelets and red blood cells are separated.
The technician then uses a 'wand', which has many fine needles to puncture the face thousands of times, before applying the platelets and plasma to the skin – the punctures help absorption.
As with all beauty therapy, the belief is that the process leaves the patient with a healthier, youthful appearance. Kim Kardashian and several others have undergone and speak for the therapy. Maybe Elizabeth Bathory had just been an early adopter of this process... but utilising a much more ghastly and terrible method...