• David Edwards

    One issue that has been overlooked, with respect to Elisabeth Bathory, is the fact that she was an avid user of cosmetics. Unfortunately, in her era, there did not exist any safety testing thereof, and consequently, even a cursory look at the materials used in her beauty regime, would have any modern day pathologist squirming.

    Apart from the more obvious sources of chronic poisoning, such as white lead, her beauty regime included a whole brace of plants that are now known to be sources of a number of, shall we say, interesting chemicals. Many of which are psychoactive. Consequently, if she was engaged in even a small percentage of the murderous activities for which she later became infamous, any competent modern defence lawyer would point to her long term exposure to all of these psychoactive and neurotoxic chemicals, and immediately move that she be considered unfit to stand trial, upon account of the fact that her brain had been systematically poisoned over three decades. I’m pretty sure that long term exposure to plants such as Deadly Nightshade and Henbane would have a less than delightful effect upon many of us, and in combination with some of the other ingredients of her cosmetics regime, would quite probably have a truly florid long term effect. Ironically, her privileged position, and her privileged access to luxuries completely beyond the reach of anyone other than members of royal households, may have been her undoing in more ways than one.

    Quite simply, any deranged behaviour on her part would be immediately explicable in terms of the chronic and systemic neurotoxicity of her cosmetics table.

  • Lulu

    This makes quite a good bit of sense, actually. Any mental issues on her part coming from lead poisoning (or any other sort of poisoning) from her makeup is a realistic explanation for the murders she may or may not have committed. At least, it makes more sense than the whole menopausal/incest/bisexual thing.

  • Person

    Please could you add your list of sources? It’s just that I want to do my history assessment on this and I need legitimate sources to even start the project

  • Jason Porath

    Good point! Thanks for sharing. :D

  • Jason Porath

    Right there in the article, under “Citations”: Tony Thorne’s “Countess Dracula: the life and times of the Blood Countess, Elisabeth Bathory.

  • Person

    Thank you, but you said that there are more sites that you looked at. Could you even tell me what made you doubt the claims made against her? Was it a site that you looked at?

  • Jason Porath

    The doubt in the claims against her came from Thorne’s book. He presents a very compelling case for her innocence.

    As for the other sources, I don’t quite remember. I know I looked at another book or two, mostly on Google Books, as well as the first 10-20 sites that come up when you google her name.

  • Person

    Okay, thank you so much!!

  • rose watter

    she is actually one of my favorite women in history… i learned about her in my social studies class a long time ago and thought she was pretty cool

  • JW

    Can’t believe ANY uneducated person can just create a website.
    Worse site ever!
    Uneducated + opinionated = waste of a life

  • Jason Porath

    Cool! Thanks for sharing, and upping the level of discussion.

  • Rachel

    Whaaaaaat? 0_o

  • SL

    Can’t believe ANY uneducated child can just write a comment.
    Worst commenter ever!
    Uneducated + opinionated + bad grammar = waste of parents’ money.

  • Hannah

    Just because someone is powerful doesn’t mean that they aren’t victims of rape. I’m a rape crisis counselor and I can guarantee you that powerful women are raped, it’s just ignorantnt to say they’re not. I was really enjoying the article but I couldn’t finish after reading that…

  • natrix

    Why is it so hard to admit, that she was a serial killer with too much power at her hands? By the way, it is most unfair to make the victims responsible for what happend. Ah, and the cosmetics: Other ladies used them too.

  • Jason Porath

    Same reason it seems to be so hard to imagine she might not have been as bad as claimed…?

  • Jason Porath

    Fair enough, poor wording on my part. Amended.

  • Tania Vaf

    from wikipedia “All but one of the Countess’s servants testified against her—the one who refused had her eyes gouged out and her breasts removed before being burned at the stake” well it smells like salem trials to me a very nice way to get many people testify isn’t it ….. we all know how the “witchcraft” trials were settled back in those times the sure thing is that she was ruthless about her economic interests so I think that besides all those you said and I agree , she was also antagonist of the church in economic feudal interests maybe I don’t phrase it well but I think you get what I say , she had more enemies than she could handle plus the king owed a serious money ammount to her which she demanded to get back and which he wasn’t so happy to pay back actually (this is bad tactic usually everyone in history everywhere who had given a loan to a king and demanded it back got a witchcraft trial and ugly death …. gouh gouh Templars & Phillip IV) in my opinion she was as cruel as most aristocrats in her time maybe a bit more to get respect cause she was scorned as a woman not remarried after widowed also this to not bow to another family’s interests and keep her authority intact and she was firm to keep her position and property under her authority , so yes she was cruel , she was for certain giving bad bad pennalties to those disobeying her but I think all for status and economy issues , I believe neither she was a nice peson nor I’d like her to be my enemy for sure but I say inquisition did much worse and many of them considered saints so I agree with all you say …. plus that the moral point to me is even if you want your intrests intact when your antagonists start to become more than your allies you should do a little back and never never demand back a loan from the king it might piss him off ….

  • Tania Vaf

    oh and I like your site it’s truly nice

  • KL

    Such a sad state of affairs that in the name of female empowerment, one have to defend someone who preyed on females. If Bathory were a man, there would be no doubt of her guilt.

  • I couldn’t read the sickening detail but I do appreciate You Did and Printed it for our edification and knowledge. :)

  • Elizabeth Smith

    Everything you just wrote sounds exactly like what I just watched in the movie Bathory: Countess of Blood (2008). By chance, did that movie influence your decision on how you believe she was innocent? Because I swear, it’s like a plot summary of what you are saying with some extra research on the methods she was accused of using on the young girls.

  • Jason Porath

    Nope, didn’t even know that movie existed! Like it says in the citations section, I used Tony Thorne’s “Countess Dracula: the life and times of the Blood Countess, Elisabeth Bathory.” Sounds like that movie did as well.

  • Rose

    You think by swearing you’re going to be look as cool and awesome? Swearing is not good and you know that. Please be more sensible with your words. I appreciate the effort of writing this but it’s sometimes went out of focus and rambling. You should get straight to the point.

  • Jason Porath

    Thank you for the constructive criticism, but it’s actually just how I talk (they say find your voice when you’re writing, right?). I’m sorry to have perturbed you with my swearing, but thank you for not being offended by the graphic descriptions of torture, incest, and rape. I hope you find a writer on the net that better suits your sensibilities. Best of luck out there!

  • Kevin Chamberlain

    Seems to be a trend of finding murdering, aristocratic Satanists posthumously innocent. Never when this happens do these subversive shills explain what happened to the victims, under their new theory of innocence.

  • Jason Porath

    Except I did. There was all of one corpse found, which was likely due to beatings and lack of modern medicine. This writeup doesn’t deny that she was a cruel and vicious person, just that she was an outlandish serial killer.

    I welcome corrections, so if you can adequately refute the medieval Hungarian scholarship on display in Thorne’s book, I’m all too happy to recant the theory I’ve put out there.

  • Al Gored

    Or, just maybe, a lonely, not very attractive, unloved woman. History has had, in all reality, a surplus of them. Not trying to be mean, or sexist, heaven forbid, but when most women are past their “sell by” date, even money will not help. Or education. Or status. Even today. It would be interesting to know the “truth” about her crimes, but it is probably too late. She has become a heroine, as such, to some self- styled Satanists, and, of course, she has a band named after. She might be a misunderstood soul. But, we tend to love “dark” people, so she is, to a certain extent, what we want her to be. Sad, eh? All things being equal, being a rich, powerful, woman, meant one thing. You still had the “disability” of being a woman. Cheers.

  • Jason Porath

    That does not square with my (by now fairly considerable) research on historical powerful women. Even when they’re well past the age to bear children, if they’re in charge of vast sums of money and property, they have no shortage of suitors.

  • chantay robinson

    Well said.

  • Satanicum pax violencium per a

    You atheismucalicum fool or just a blind little sheep all dressed in red of her blood in straight line of relatives of the hungarian and of the romanian satanum bloodline – you! I will tell a tale of inferno, of hell or est um satanum ergo large aste luciferium, the soldiers in the army of death, blood and hell walked the dusty earth of my land – subcarpathian, and made it all rotten soil of cloven hoofs in 300 years ye old femalirium antiumchristum just a poor womanikkularem bastardical nonhumaniodicom eco homo est! The bodies were in the 7000’s each fuck up aborteus ed asperi week they came for seven more, more seven again see? Seek hell thy lord or countess Therionical bitch, or why not see heaven, NOT WITH THE BLOOD IN MY VEINS OR IN MY, HIS OR OURS EYES! She will say silencius only to queen on hill of death. But they were dragged in chains, not even eight or nine of ages all virgins from area of podgopackie or subcarpathian um infernus Poland, oh ye! oh yes, to her – YOU! – borgia ast em Carpathian Mountains, you should know this you old hungarian relativium windsoressum of blaspemical sands of only death! i SAW, I FELT I HEARD THEM SCREAM, every day for 900 mornings, 900 days and 900 nights, did you Boria Trigitym of Bathory, did you her El diabolicum sing hymns of glory and of war to him Tepescz or her, she the queen of blood and hell – Bathorian whore as the countess for whom you here open all seven time triungulariem six hundred sixty six doors, down under southern bowed crosses and of jericho,
    or?
    Are you well educated in occultrem or in the words of the hammer of the witches, heard of Lord solares of Torqemada, or of them angelous who flew on four horses in all black over apocalyptus um tellicum in winds of three, south east and north, did you see or touch him, or shall i romanian slave say – she? The stars over head of non scolarem is your way out of the void or into the dark, see the light is not for thy hungerian and romanian DNA ye old babylonical whore!

    As in necromanticum, much respectalarem written in 677 after the death of the Son of God, on human flesh and in blood and when the last ot dots were texted on flesh by the hand of a convicted massmurderer,, they slaughtered him and dismembered his unholy lecamus and forced all of his relatives to caniblismus so the had to eat him! Read in three lines, all versus or upmore in to down, right be wrong or left hand show right your the less strong.

    Bow when you iditicum verbaly express names of the underworld or take the fall, a warning from a poor lost man who in 53 long ond solo years seen all you think is movies and badly written fairytales, beware! The world is on fire,, He is amongst us now, take a bow and can you go really low hungarian adept?

    Just a warning from a man who say Gabriel, blow now! t
    of ritmoria borgius Romanus Hungerius it will fall. Exilum sept infernus amenus!

  • Satanicum pax violencium per a

    Those seek out of the void, in to light go herenth from or fall in blackened souls into eternal coma of ye souls!

  • Satanicum pax violencium per a

    Psalms and hymneus for joy and the reprazialem oh the femalitum infernos personata um satana! Learn, turn or ye all will eternicolarem um inferno buuuurn

  • Satanicum pax violencium per a
  • Jared Sardella

    While I agree that much of the more outlandish details are likely false, we can be fairly certain that at least some of the claims were true. The fact that around 300 witnesses and survivors testified to her crimes, the consistency of the accounts and the presence of *physical evidence* is hard to argue against. Especially considering her position meant she couldn’t be tried. Yeah, most of the more gruesome stuff, undoubtedly made up. However, Bathory having murdered/tortured servant girls and daughters of nobility, is more than likely. I mean we can say with no uncertainty that: Nero, Caligula, and Ivan the terrible were evil people, who did much of what history accuses them of, and there was less evidence against them than Bathory.

  • Jae Ackert

    Meanwhile, I just giggle because her name is Bath-ory, and she’s famous for her blood BATHs…
    I never said I was clever :p

  • Shivadatt K

    U r sick
    You should meet a psychiatrist ASAP

  • Jackal

    I honestly think she’s guilty… of something more normal. Like, she probably did torture and kill some ‘disposable’ servant girls, but of course the witch stuff and the blood bathing is just dumb.

  • Gombe

    In one of the original letters that she wrothe to her husband she said “Az én szerelmes urmanak” which roughly translate to something like ‘to my beloved husband’ .
    And it’s true that they say she was lonely and unsociable but it is also true that she lived in a harsh age, in the middle of a reeally long war.
    So yeah. Ah, and her real name was Báthori or Báthory Erzsébet.

  • Erzebet Bathory
  • Graaf Orlok

    Being both an historian and a member of a band named after her for 25 years (no not the famous one) I’ve done quite some research into this and, well, I think it’s safe to say we’ll never know the truth. There is something to be said for both guilty and not guilty. These were cruel times and aristocrats being rather awful in their dealings with lower classes was very common. On the other hand, there were people who had something to gain by disposing of her and many people convicted of horrible crimes in times past are looked upon as innocent today (such as Gilles de Rais, the Knights Templar).
    The legend continues to intrigue many, though. Here’s a song about her: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6Jng1EJu-I

  • Lisa Claire

    Agreed, In fact, a lot of the records detailing her horrible acts were burned because it was so horrific they didn’t want anyone to know. Many have tried to say that she was experimenting with early medical procedures or that she was helping her servants with abortions but most historians recognize this as balderdash. People just have a harder time accepting women as cold blooded killers, thinking that maternal instinct keeps women from carrying out these acts. As you said I don’t believe she bathed in blood but I do believe she tortured and killed many innocent girls, and to try and play it off as a smear campaign of sorts just seems insensitive.

  • Severa

    I’ve heard that Bathory might have been a lesbian. If that’s true maybe she liked things rough in the bedroom and the deaths were accidental?

  • chantay robinson

    Lol, that’s a hilarious response. Saints are rarely interesting but a woman of power who may have been a serial killer, well that’s interesting. Even if one admired someone like Bathory, that is not necessarily a mark of ones mental state… many of the greatest, most influential people in history, people who had a huge impact (often in a positive way) had horrendous aspects of their personal histories. Henry 8 broke with the Catholic Church, and coincidentally qualifies as a mass murderer who cut off his spurned wives heads. Isabella of Castile funded the expedition that “discovered” America and “settled” the lands; she also unleashed the scourge of the inquisition on her people, expelled the Jews and ravaged the Islamic world. Ceaser built an amazing legacy for Rome, and brought whole civilizations to their knees. The aztec kings gave us amazing history, built a fantastic civilization and loads of end times entertainment in the modern era; they also spilled rivers of blood…. on the personal level, these interesting people had streaks of cruelty, selfishness, greed, perversion; just as people of interest today are forever getting their skeletons brought to the light… we just have media to speed it all up and ensure it’s around the globe in a few hours time.

    And really, meeting and seeing a psychiatrist are two very different things; a little introspection is good for everyone. Perhaps some consideration of the difference between an idea you don’t like and an action, along with possible consequences … Or perhaps the vast difference between academic opinion and moral belief.

  • Shivadatt K

    Why do you choose to reply now? This proves you need medical attention

  • Skizó Frénia

    I think there is one crutial detail missing that supports her innocence. In those days the church was keeping a book on everyone born in the congregation, which there was few of even if not just one after 1558. People were super sharp about having a baby baptised as soon as possible to make sure if it dies (what they did quite frequently) it goes to heaven. Funerals were exlusively ecclesiastic territorry too. Subsecvently the church had a closer eye on the population count than most states today have.
    If tens of servants vanished let alone hundreds they would have a track of the people missing …they did’t. No researcher ever found any. Remember, In a feudal society non-nobles cannot just relocate at their own volition. Everyone was acounted for. We do not have a single name of a supposed victim for real.

  • Cyran

    People who swear are smarter than those who do not.

    Case. In. Point.

  • esmeralda

    well she was terryfying

  • Ru

    I’m not going to make this crazy long. But a couple things. I’m a feminist and I find this whole argument terribly flimsy… I know it’s all up for speculation, and I don’t doubt the possibility of her innocence… I simply am not sold on it with your argument.

    1.) Excusing the cruelty and beatings as “normal” for the time doesn’t make her innocent. Did they just make up 650+ servants being buried? Not improbable but it seems pretty unlikely.
    2.) She didn’t bathe in blood. She reportedly showered, from a victim suspended above her, bleeding to death. She was obsessed with her beauty (you didn’t say this either), and was reported to have thought that the blood kept her skin young. Indeed, she was incredibly beautiful by many accounts… So coagulation isn’t a problem. This is actually pretty basic lore about her, I’m surprised it didn’t come up even to be discredited.

    Not saying she wasn’t but you don’t earn a reputation like this just because you’re a rich woman. It was actually really common for nobles to die in war and leave the wives in charge. Many women that weren’t princesses (ie: bargaining chips for monarchs) actually had more power than history likes to show, so the whole having enemies just because she is rich doesn’t add up.

    Maybe she wasn’t as terrible as they say she was, but I have no doubt in my mind that she reveled in the suffering of those below her. Which really, makes her pretty fucking guilty.