The Bloody Lady of Čachtice – Elizabeth Bathory


Martin Talač


Elizabeth Bathory was a countess from the renowned Bathory family of nobility in the Kingdom of Hungary. What makes her so well known is the legend according to which she was a serial killer and she used the blood of her victims to bath, because she was persuaded that blood-bathing would help her to retain beauty, health and youth. Moreover, she used to torture the victims for a long time before killing them.

All these acts were executed in the Castle of Čachtice, which is located about 100 km from Bratislava towards the town of Trenčín.

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The Čachtice Castle

Some sources say that she killed more than 600 young ladies. The cruelty of Bathory was immense, because she wasn´t just killing the victims, but torturing them to make their suffering even worse. BUT, is this story real?

According to historians partly it is and partly it´s not. The truthful part of the story is that she maybe killed around 80 people. She probably suffered from some kind of Sadistic Personality Disorder (SPD) or some other form of personality disorder.

During Bathory´s trial in the town Bytča the witnesses testified that the torturing methods used by Bathory were cruel and they even described them. However it needs to be mentioned that the witnesses were also tortured by the police and under these conditions people would tell everything, just to ease the pain and to stop the torture. So we can´t say, if their statements are truthful or not.

There are also some logical mistakes in the story. The information about bathing in blood appeared for the first time in 1729, but Bathory died in 1614. She couldn´t bath in the blood at the beginning of 17th century, because trisodium citrate (prevent the coagulation of blood) was first used as an anticoagulant in 1914.

She also couldn´t kill 650 of her vassals, because they were bringing her the various forms of revenue. If she had been killing young ladies for years, it would mean, she would be reducing her own revenues. And she was wise and intelligent, so why would she do this?

So the truth is, that she didn´t bath in blood of her victims and maybe she is even innocent and didn´t kill anybody, because she might be a victim of conspiracy, politically motivated by Juraj Thurzo.

Whether is the story of the Bloody Lady truthful or not, it inspired numerous writers and movie makers e.g. Countess Dracula, Dracula Was a Woman, Carmilla etc.

It is worth mentioning here that The Čachtice Castle, the residence of Bathory, and the municipality of Čachtice were pronounced an exceptional tourism project and recommended to be visited by the Association of travel journalist, the British Guild of Travel Writers.

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The model of the Čachtice Castle in the museum in Podolie
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You have to walk to the Čachtice Castle from the town of Čachtice. It will take you around 30 minutes.
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The entrance gateway
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The view of the castle after going through the gate, from the first courtyard
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The seond courtyard. We enjoyed a great guided tour with a guide, which starts every hour here.
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The ruins of the castle

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Look out of the window at the village – Višňove

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The last look back

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