Friday, July 25, 2014

Grim History: Elizabeth Bathory

Imagine you have a daughter. She is your only child, and the light of your life. You would do everything for her, but you're not in the right financial situation to give your little girl the education you think she deserves. She is destined, much like the rest of your family, to spend her years doing back-breaking labor every day of her life to ensure that she can eat. So it is decided that she'll get a job. She'll become a servant in the house of an incredibly rich woman, and you know that every day she will be able to eat. Every day she will be able to survive with at least a little less effort than she would have, if she stayed home.

Now imagine instead that you do have money, but you still have a daughter. You love her, much as you would were you in the former situation. As much as you don't like to admit to yourself, she's getting older by the day. Soon she'll have to be married, but she'll only be able to find the best husband if she has the best manners. You receive an offer from a very rich and elegant lady to teach your daughter all of the etiquette and grace she would need to know, and she's lucky enough to be 1 among only 25 chosen at a time.

Time is beginning to pass, whether you are the first parent or the second. You do not receive word of your daughter, nor do you receive letters. Nothing. After months, maybe even years of anxiously waiting, you find out something very awful about the household your daughter 'joined'. Many, if not all, of the girls brought there have been murdered. Your daughter is among them, and she was killed in an unspeakably brutal way, her blood used in a sick ritual to bathe that very same rich woman who promised your daughter a better future.

This happened to over 650 young women. Girls. Children. Though the people who aided in the torture and disposal of these girls were tried and put to death, the monster responsible for this genocide was never put to a trial. She was sealed in her bedchamber with just enough of an opening in the wall for food/drink. She would go on to live like this for 4 years.

Elizabeth Bathory, the 'bloody countess', a very rich and very horrible person by all accounts. She is often practically glamorized in film. Why wouldn't she be? She was one of the richest people in her country, purportedly beautiful, elegant. But one think that always seems to be the sheer scale of her crimes.

She was born in 1560, and grew up watching her father torture local peasantry for kicks, so her sadism was learned from a very young age. She married (at the age of 15) an infamously 'brave' warrior Count known affectionately as 'The Black Hero of Hungary', and from then became heavily involved in occult practices. This wasn't the new age crystal shaking of today, nor parlor tricks like pouring wax into water and predicting your future. This was the heavy-hitting satanic worship, complete with (very likely) sacrifices and naked Latin poetry circles.

Surprisingly, Elizabeth really didn't get started on her rampage until she was in her early 40s. She had children, and lived a relatively normal life by the standards of a rich Countess. She had kids, raised them, managed to keep herself from drinking their blood or using it for cosmetics, and honestly things might have gone on fairly nicely if she hadn't been a psychopath.

The story goes that her maid brushed Elizabeth's hair too hard, so she got a good smack for the incident. Somehow blood was drawn, so I suspect something far worse than a smack, and Elizabeth deliriously thought that the blood rejuvenated her skin when she rubbed it into her hand. I, personally, would not recommend this beauty treatment.

I could go on for ages describing all of the insanely ridiculous Bava levels of gruesome activities this woman did. Perhaps I'll even do another post about her some day. But for now, I will stop here. I would like to leave you with one final gruesome thought in the meantime: why do we say Bloody Mary when we look in the mirror? I think Bloody Elizabeth would be far more horrifying...

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