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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The "Blood Countess".

Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian countess from the renowned Bathory family. Although in modern times she has been labelled the most prolific female serial killer in history, evidence of her alleged crimes is scant and her guilt is debated. She is nevertheless 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 they were convicted was 80. Elizabeth herself was neither tried nor convicted. In 1610, however, she was imprisoned in Cachtice Castle, where she remained bricked in a set of rooms until her death four years later.

Later writings about the case have 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 and Countess Dracula.

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.
* freezing to death.
* surgery on victims, often fatal.
* starving of victims.
* sexual abuse.

The use of needles was also mentioned by the collaborators in court.

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