“The female Dracula”
“The female Dracula” was born into a wealthy Transylvanian family in Nyirbator on 7 August 1560. Her uncle Stefan Bathory was the King of Poland. When she was four or five, Erzsebet suffered violent seizures and it is believed that these may have contributed to her later behaviour.
On 8 May 1575 in Varanno she married Count Ferenc Nadasdy, not long after giving birth to a bastard child who was fathered by a peasant. As a wedding gift Nadasdy gave her his home Cachtice Castle, a country villa and 17 villages. The count was often away fighting in wars against the Ottomans so Erzsebet was often left alone. Bored, she took several lovers and also, thanks to her maid Dorothea “Dorko” Szentes, began an interest in the occult. In 1585 she gave birth to a daughter, Anna, followed by Ursula, Andrew, Katherina and in 1598 her only surviving son, Paul. On 4 January 1604 her husband died aged 47 and the countess began inflicting torture on young girls. She was aided in her evil pursuits by Dorko, Ilona Jo, Katarina Benicka and Janos “Ficzko” Ujvary.
She had a blacksmith build a cylindrical cage with long metal spikes inside. A busty young girl would be chosen from among her and forced to get into the cage, which would then be hoisted. Dorko would stab the girl with red-hot pokers. As the unfortunate girl tried to escape being burned she would impale herself on the spikes, much to Erzsebet’s sexual pleasure. With her husband out of the way, Erzsebet’s behaviour knew no bounds and it is believed that up to 600 young women — many of them with large breasts — died at her hands. Another favourite pastime was to burn the girls’ genitals with candles.
Cachtice Castle, Little Carpathians, near Trencin, Hungary
It was in 1602 that rumours first began to spread about what was happening behind the walls of Cachtice Castle. However, it was not until 1610 that something was done. Erszebet Báthory was never formally tried because it would have caused too much of a scandal. Juraj Thurzo, the Palatine of Hungary, went to the castle on 30 December 1610 and arrested Báthory and four of her servants. She was placed under house arrest but her servants were questioned on 2 January 1611 and then tried at Bytca on Monday 7 January.
Dorko, Jo and Ujvary were found guilty and put to death. Dorko and Jo had their fingernails ripped out before they were thrown into a fire alive, while Benicka was beheaded before being thrown on the fire. Katarina Benicka was sentenced to life imprisonment. The countess was not convicted of any crime but it was ordered that she be walled up in her own castle — all the doors and windows were bricked over, with just a small aperture for food to be given. On 21 August 1614 Erszebet Báthory was found dead.