Bathing in blood is a myth
One crime associated with Countess Bathory that witnesses at the trial of her servants never accused her of, was a penchant for bathing in blood. Today, the Countess is believed to have murdered her victims so that she could immerse herself in their virgin blood, to preserve her youth and beauty. However, this never happened.
The story became part of the myth of the Countess just over a hundred years after her death. In 1729, a Jesuit scholar called Laszlo Turoczi was researching what was to be the first-ever account of the Bathory case. In the course of his travels around the Countess’s former territories, he heard stories from the local villagers of the vampire countess who bathed in blood to look beautiful. So he added it to his book.
Readers believed Turoczi’s account because there was no evidence to contradict it. However, in 1817, the records of the trials of the Countess’s servants were rediscovered. Out of the 300 witness statements, not one mentions blood bathing. Indeed, the reports of the Countess’s servants reveal blood was of no concern to Lady Bathory. It was merely a by product of the violence itself.
Ilona Jo reported that the Countess did indeed beat girls until they bled, so hard that the blood pooled on the floor and splattered the Countess’s clothes. But when this happened, Elizabeth Bathory would change immediately. The servants would also wash away any blood on the floor-they did not collect it for bathing or any other purpose. Author Kimberly L Craft in her analysis of the Bathory case, “Infamous lady’, suggests that release of pent-up rage and stress was more likely to be the motivation for the Countess’s torturous attacks as they can all be linked to periods when the Countess felt particularly under pressure. Blood was of no consequence.