Saturday, August 6, 2016

Bathory Primer

Countess Bathory's Castle ruins in Čachtice, Slovak republic

Countess Erzsebet Bathory
So who was this woman they called The Blood Countess? And why was there an edict passed that prohibited anyone mentioning her name for one hundred years after her death?

Erzsebet Bathory was born into a noble, titled family. They had power and knew how to use it. As I said in a previous blog post, this was no Golden Age of Elizabeth. There was rampant superstition not only among the general population but among nobles like Bathory, despite her impressive education.

To actually believe, as she did, that there were magical properties in blood that could ward off signs of aging, is the best indicator of her lethal superstition. Top that off with being a sexual sadist, add the element of absolute power to that, then consider because of that power, she had serving her, other sadists in her inner circle who were competing with one another in order to suggest more vicious methods of torture. Yes, the blood baths weren't enough there was the torture and sadism as well.

If the villagers thought their daughters were missing, they knew there was no redress. What does that mean? It meant they had to suffer in silence until it got so bad that her crimes were eventually discovered. And despite the King wanting her put on trial alongside of her 'helpers,' he did not get his wish. The point was made that it would besmirch the reputation of other noble families.

She married at age fifteen and was, I feel introduced to a very dark side of 'love' making by her husband Count Ferenc Nádasdy who took her name upon marriage as her family name was greater than his own.

She wanted children desperately and was from all accounts a very loving and good mother. I find that fascinating. Although I think she was the product of a peculiar family to say the least and a brutal age, I think had she been occupied solely by her children and in a loving marriage with a different sort of man she would not have killed as she did. Having said that, I wouldn't swear to it.

Back to Bathory:  her world was so unlike anything we can possibly relate to. Even given a different sort of lifestyle which might have included being from a different country and time, she'd still have been a mass murderer in my opinion. Had she not had absolute power, her crimes would have been less. Still, the sadism would have been there. Had she been a member of the general population (anywhere, any time) I think she still would have done horrible things and (hopefully) been discovered.

We'll never know of course but it is interesting to think about. Over the years, I have read a lot of books and even forensic psychiatric journals (a doctor friend of mine loaned me his medical library card)! I poured over them. Then I went on to read books written by F.B.I. profilers, writing about infamous serial killers like Ted Bundy. Why are there people like that and why are they so different? What's wrong, when did it go wrong, is it genes or is it environment? There are many opinions. Are such people 'born bad' or is that not possible?

The fact that there are such people is why I write horror. I am trying, I suppose, to understand human evil.


This is my book. I tell like it was. The only fiction is she becomes a vampire. But let's face it, she was pretty close to being a genuine vampire, don't you think? Still, existing for four hundred years as does in I, BATHORY, QUEEN OF BLOOD and but needing blood to drink also, is a pretty interesting premise to me!


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