Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blood, Bathory & Beyond

Way before Dracula, Lestat, Edward, Bill or Eric Northman, there was Vlad the Impaler- the legendary Transylvanian despot who was the main basis for most modern vampire myths. But most of us know about him.

There was also Countess Elizabeth Bathory.

Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian countess in the late 1500's-early 1600's, who is now famed as being the most prolific female serial killer in history. She was accused of murdering between 50-650 people. She is also notorious as the "Blood Countess" due to the rumor that she would bath in her victims blood in order to stay young.Yikes!

However, concrete evidence of her crimes is very scant and her guilt is debatable. The testimony of her crimes were based largely in hearsay. In fact there is more evidence that she was the victim of historical conspiracies that were politically and financially motivated. One of the main arguments is that the King of Hungary was the one who ordered the investigation of Bathory....he also owed her husband a huge amount of money. Hmmm. It is also thought that Bathory's reputation might have been one of mass hysteria, similar to the Salem witch trials.

What is not debatable is Bathory's effect on the modern vampire and monster myth. True Blood would be nothing without her....
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