The Real Countess Dracula: 12 Facts about the Life and Crimes of Elizabeth Bathory
The Real Countess Dracula: 12 Facts about the Life and Crimes of Elizabeth Bathory

The Real Countess Dracula: 12 Facts about the Life and Crimes of Elizabeth Bathory

Natasha sheldon - September 1, 2017

The Real Countess Dracula: 12 Facts about the Life and Crimes of Elizabeth Bathory
Statue of Elizabeth Bathory in modern Cachtice. The church of St Ladislav where she was initially buried is in the background. Google Images

There was no trial for the Countess

Both Elizabeth Bathory and King Matthias wanted a trial: Matthias so he could secure her execution and Elizabeth because she believed, if she put her case in person, she could absolve herself. However, Thurzo determined that the Countess should not have her day in court. He initially intended to commit Lady Bathory to a convent, changing his mind because of the gravity of her crimes. However, the Countess seems to have provoked him with her refusal to give up.

Thurzo had joined Lady Bathory’s relatives on a visit to her prison cell where the Countess once again demanded a trial and was once again refused. Elizabeth furiously rounded on Thurzo, threatening him with Gabor Bathory as a ‘dire consequences of his illegal actions’ The furious Thurzo responded: “You Erzsebet are like a wild animal…you do not deserve to breathe the air on earth or see the light of the Lord. You shall disappear from this world and shall never reappear in it again.’

Some suggest Thurzo was trying to fulfill his promise to Ferenc Nadasdy or to spare her children the shame of a public trial and execution. However, he was ultimately protecting himself. An act of parliament would have been required to bring someone of Elizabeth Bathory’s status to trial-and that would have set a precedent Thurzo was anxious to avoid. It could have opened the floodgates, allowing the monarchy to dispose of other inconvenient nobles. Thurzo, as a Protestant, was well aware of his tenuous situation.

So he talked King Matthias out of the trial, selling it to the King as a form of damage limitation. A public trial would not only discredit the Bathory and Ferenc Nadasdy, a revered national hero but the wider nobility and so ultimately the crown. Thurzo persuaded the anxious nobles linked to the Bathory affair to petition the King. The ruse worked. The Bathory Nadasdy family agreed to cancel Matthias’s debts- and Matthias decided that Elizabeth Bathory would disappear behind the walls of her castle.

The exact circumstances of Elizabeth’s final imprisonment are unknown. However, Thurzo ordered her bricked into a windowless room in Cjsethe Castle. A small space was left to allow the passage of items to and from the chamber. Her daughter Katalin visited for a time, bringing candles, ink, and parchment- and Thurzo’s wife to steal her jewels, but other than a guard, Elizabeth Bathory was alone. She died on August 14, 1614.

 

Sources For Further Reading:

Biography – Elizabeth Bathory

ZEE News – Why Elizabeth Bathory Is Called the Most Prolific Female Murderer in History

Ozy – Elizabeth Báthory: History’s Most Prolific Female Serial Killer

History Hit – The Blood Countess: 10 Facts About Elizabeth Báthory

The Culture Trip – The Terrible Secrets of the Čachtice Castle Ruins

Roman the Human – The truth about Elizabeth Bathory and Anna Darvulia

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