The Countess of Blood

It is often said that women represent “the fairer sex”. If this be so, then what on earth are we to make of women like Elizabeth Bathory? A Hungarian countess, possessed of what was considered, at the time, to be “ravishing beauty”, Elizabeth Bathory held sway over a clutch of terrorized servants who had borne the full brunt of their mistress’ wrath since her earliest years. A stern, cruel young woman, Elizabeth meted out justice to the serving class at Castle Csejethe with an iron fist; oftentimes, brutal floggings and severe punishments were not seen as entirely out of the question, including having her servant girls stripped naked with their genitals put to the flame. On one occasion, it is rumored she had a too-noisy serving wench punished by having her mouth sewn shut. Need it be said that there was never a great abundance of love to share at Castle Csejethe?

At any rate, Elizabeth completed the dark portrait of the mad, gothic noble by also, reputedly, being adept at the practice of the “black arts.” She was known to curse her enemies, invoke the Devil and his vicious henchman, and all the while still maintained her mask of relative piety as a practicing Christian. Psychological compartmentalization was, apparently , her forte.

So it was with the Crazed Countess until her fortieth birthday, when, as she was one day soundly lashing an impudent servant girl, she chanced to splatter a dollop of hot blood on her own hands. When she ran to wash it off, she marveled at the whiteness of the flesh beneath, how it seemed to have resumed a sort of youthful vitality. Utterly convinced that fortune had smiled upon her, and that she had, indeed, discovered a bloody “Fountain of Youth,” she immediately had the servant girl butchered by a male underling, and then instructed him to drain off the unfortunate wench’s’ steaming blood into a bath. There she commenced to partake in a sanguinary shower, all the while invoking Arch-Demons and praying for a return to youthful beauty. So began a ruthless, illicit reign of terror that ended with a presumed total of anywhere from forty to six hundred young female bodies, many of whom were tortured, some indeed, made to consume raw strips of their own flesh before being drained of their life blood for the malevolent Mistress and her cruel beauty baths.

The situation, as so often happens, did not last for long, and concern over the fast-disappearing female population brought a contingent of troops to the Castle Csejethe. Upon the troops entering the morbid dwelling, it soon became apparent, at least to the Countess, that she had been caught red handed (pun not intended), as she was just about to dip her aging figure in the bloody whirlpool of her demented delights. The jig, as they say, was up.

Her brutish male underlings were beheaded and burned quite quickly, but a perhaps more horrifying, though non-lethal punishment was deemed appropriate for a lady of her station. Elizabeth Bathory was walled-in alive, in her own boudoir, for the rest of her natural life, having only a small slit in the doorway from which to obtain her tray of food. She was found dead, on the floor, three and a half years later. It is said that her ghost continued, for many years, to haunt the halls of Castle Csejethe with horrifying screams and mad imprecations. But, surely, you don’t believe that, do you ?

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