Sunday, November 02, 2008

My Encounter With A Blood Countess

A couple days ago I posted pictures of a few of the castles I saw over the summer. It just occurred to me this morning that one of them had a pretty creepy resident at one point. Perfect. Just in time for Hallowe'en, more or less. You can either go down two posts or click here to see a picture of Nadasdy Castle.

Anyhow, this castle was once home to a pretty blood-thirsty Hungarian Countess named Elizabeth Bathory. The Countess lived here from about the age of 11 until she was married. The family is well-known in Hungary for helping repel the Turks in the 16th century. Apparently, all that blood and gore wasn't enough for Liz. After the death of her husband Franz, she apparently went a bit wacky. She became convinced she was getting old before her time. (Oh come on girl, you were only do you think that makes me feel?) Her solution - kill as many female virgins as possible and bathe in their blood. The dear Countess became quite the obsessive bather it would appear. She was accused of murdering in excess of 600 girls and young women. She is even referred to as some sort of female Dracula. I should point out that she didn't commit her supposed atrocities here but it was still interesting to see what the house of a mass murderer looked like......rubber necker that I am.

Eventually she was apprehended and put on trial. She spent the rest of her days bricked up in a few rooms in a castle on the family's Slovakian lands. Now, whether she was as guilty as believed is open to question. The Countess stood to inherit land in what is now Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic and of course in those less enlightened times, that was just crazy to give a woman so much power. In addition to the murders, she was also accused of witch craft, a pretty popular accusation to throw at a woman at this period in time. So she may just have been framed. However, I was told that if you dig around long enough in the archives in Budapest, you will come across books listing the Countess's victims, although the material is extremely difficult to read. So who really knows.

The tale of the Blood Countess has persisted through time. After returning to Canada, I heard that a movie was made out of the Countess's life earlier this year. I believe it was a joint British-Slovak effort and from what I understand it is in English so I will definitely keep a look out for it.


Matt, Kara and Hunter said...

Very creepy indeed!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the movie, either. There is a new book out about her (Memoir of a Countess) but I still want to see Anna Friel in the movie. I can't believe it's only in Europe right now, and may never come to the US/Canada!

Way Way Up said...

Not coming to Canada? Dang! I just might have to wait until I get back to Europe next summer....or pester my aunt and uncle and Switzerland to keep an eye out for it.