She stars in such works as Vampyr, The Countess, The Blood Countess, The Bloody Countess, Anno Dracula, Secret Six, Lord of the Vampires, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Tales of the Slayer, Volume One. Who is this bloody countess who is constantly being referred to as the bride of Dracula, Lady Vampire, and simply, The Countess?
Erzsébeth Báthory (we’ll refer to her as Lady Báthory) was born into a noble Hungarian family in 1560. Her uncle was the King of Poland and Duke of the mysterious Transylvania.
As a young girl she was schooled in classical thought, including the Latin, German, and Greek languages (in addition to Hungarian). She was known to have a love for music and dance. An educated girl from a powerful noble family - How then, did she earn the horrific nicknames mentioned above?
Typical of the time, Lady Báthory was betrothed at the young age of 11 and married when she was 15. Her marriage was negotiated and meticulously arranged with another aristocratic family – the Nasady. Lady Báthory’s husband, Ferenc was the Chief Commander of the Hungarian troops during a tumultuous time in Hungary’s history. The army was constantly warring with the Ottoman Empire and Ferenc was often away at war.
The Lady was known to effectively manage her estates, including the locals under her rule. She was heralded as a charitable benefactress and came to the aid of many women in difficult situations. Even though her husband was often battling in other areas of the country, she did have six children, who were raised by governesses.
In 1604, after 29 years of marriage, Ferenc died suddenly, leaving Lady Báthory a mourning widow.
It was after the death of her husband when rumors began erupting around Lady Báthory’s estates; rumors of torture, blood lust, and murder circled around hundreds of missing girls. Who were these missing virgins and what did they have to do with Lady Báthory? Was Lady Báthory the sadistic killer the locals made her out to be; or was it a political conspiracy orchestrated by the Holy Roman Emperor/King of Hungary in hopes to get out of a debt he could not repay?
Find out next week in The Evil Genius: The Real Lady Dracula, Part Two, where we'll dig a little deeper into the secretive dark life of the Lady and how her actions eventually led to her demise.
Happy reading and writing!