Literary Origins

Learn about the eighteenth-nineteenth century Elizabeth Bathory myth literary origins.
Original posting: Updated: June 2, 2019.
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It is true, that enemies succeeded in eliminating Elizabeth Bathory for political reasons. Without any shadow of doubt, she was assassinated - murdered - in 1610. She was then condemned to memory, meant to be forgotten in a imperial Habsburg world, a non-entity, someone banned, someone who ultimately never existed at all. It worked for more than four generations. So how was she "rediscovered?" Let's explore the literary beginnings of the myth.

Historically speaking, Elizabeth Bathory never lived the Čachtice fortress, or castle. She lived in her manor house in the town of Čachtice itself, the capital of her private, vast, Čachtice estate. In December of 1610, it is important to know that one of the penalties against Elizabeth decreed by the King of Hungary, Mathias II Habsburg, and then passed into law by the Diet of Hungary (Hungarian Parliament active from twelfth to twentieth century), was that her name was illegal. It was a criminal act against the imperial and Hungarian crown to speak, write or bear her name anywhere in the Holy Roman Empire or any realm within the empire. Her condemnation was also by Rome, by her excommunication by the pope! It is little wonder then, that for over a century since her death, Elizabeth Bathory, the person, became a private and mostly local subject of the inhabitants of the town of Čachtice, Slovakia and surrounding region.

All sorts of folklore - similar to the myth we know - was surely told to family - especially daughters - friends and other trusted persons but in a careful, guarded way. After all, nobody wished to run afoul of Imperial Hungarian law. In 1610, the modern day independent state of Slovakia we know today, with its own national Slovak laws, would not exist for another 383 years! Čachtice was still part of Imperial Habsburg Hungary. Save for a few travelers passing through, even fewer outsiders knew of her or her treason for which she had been condemned. Knowledge of her existence lay forgotten for more than one hundred years until she was "discovered" in the eighteenth century by the Slovak Jesuit priest and historian, Ladislav Turciansky(1). His contemporary, the Slovak Matthias Bel(2) would later add to the fantastic story to fuel the fire. But the REAL GENESIS of the MYTH and all subsequent versions of it are attributed to the Slovak Alois Mednansky(3) and the Tyrolean Joseph Hormayr,(4) the nineteenth century's Austrian Empire's chief history propagandists!

Matthias Bel's, Notitia Hungariae, 1736.
Matthias Bel's, Notitia Hungariae, 1736.

The very first mention ever, and introduction of Elizabeth Bathory to the world, came in the dutiful historical writings of Ladislav Turciansky. He was a Jesuit priest, teacher and scholar. He studied philosophy in Klagenfurt and Vienna, Austria. He also studied theology and philosophy at the University of Trnava, Slovakia where he received his doctorate. He taught at University of Košice and University of Trnava and eventually even became rector of the Trnava Jesuit seminary. He was a highly educated, reserved, but devout man in service of the Almighty, the Vatican, and Emperor by way of his religious order and academic training. He was also an Imperial Habsburg Censor of books - a Habsburg loyalist. But he was a true academic at heart. Imagine his surprise and excitement, then, that when he was writing his first of three academic publications on Hungarian history and rulers(5) he discovered a peculiar omission in the historical record, that of Elizabeth and her husband Francis I Bathory-Nadasdy! Surely for him, this was an exciting and major academic coup! The problem with Turciansky's discovery, which he included in his book, is that he did not merely fill the gap in the historical record, but embellished it! Perhaps he was influenced by the witch hunt hysteria in Hungary at the time,(6) and because he was swept up in this this hysteria himself, and because no details of the Countess were available (just like in the present), he opted to detail what was known of her - the local Cachtice folklore, witchcraft, murdered virgins, tales of bloodletting and bathing in blood that kept the Countess young and beautiful. It was probably to get around the censorship which he knew full well. Or was it that he was knowingly spreading Habsburg propaganda? Whatever his reason, the folklore was introduced to the literate public at large - still a miniscule segment of the population! Voilà! The myth was officially born!

Not to be outdone, Turciansky's very Catholic historical publication was matched by a very Protestant version in 1736 by Matthias Bel,(7) a highly respected Evangelical (Lutheran) pastor and historian, with an ego, we might add, bigger than Elizabeth Bathory's myth will ever be. He was known as the Great Ornament of Hungary (Magnum decus Hungariae) and described himself as lingua Slavus, natione Hungarus, eruditione Germanus (by language a Slav, by nation a Hungarian, by erudition a German).(8) Why? Well, he was a turncoat. He had supported the Royalist Ungar Rakoci Transylvanian War of Independence, was captured, and given the choice of swearing allegiance to the Habsburgs or be executed. He was a Habsburg loyalist ever since, hence his slogan. In one of his chapters, Bel wrote of local Čachtice history as well as the Elizabeth Bathory. In fact, he paraphrased Turciansky's words, word-for-word. More notably, he challenged Turciansky's facts such as the blood baths, etc., as fiction. Otherwise, true to his Lutheran philosophy, Bel basically stuck to Turciansky's narrative to which he provided his stamp of approval. Why? Curiously, Turciansky's next two academic publications which were updates of his earlier 1729 work, one in 1743(9) and other in 1768(10). Neither mentioned Elizabeth Bathory again. In fact, both men got into hot water with imperial censors in Vienna. The regime wanted the Bathory name dead, buried, and forgotten, myth or no myth! Her treason was war against the Holy Roman Empire. The last thing the regime needed was yet another martyr to stir up another revolt.

Cultivation of Her Myth
Alois Mednansky and Joseph Hormayr
Alois Mednansky [TOP] and Joseph Hormayr [BOTTOM]
© 2015-2019 ElizabethBathory.Org, All rights reserved.

Other publications - the true genesis - contributed to the elaboration of the myth we know today. In particular, one article in the highly regarded publication Hesperus: ein Nationalblatt für gebildete Leser (Hesperus: National Journal for educated readers) stands out. This was the historical propaganda series aimed at revolutionary elements in Imperial Hungary. Alois Mednansky's 1812 article(11) tells the shocking and "true" story of the terrible crimes of Elizabeth Bathory.

In fact, Mednansky was an aristocrat whose family knew the Bathorys very well before they were all murdered off and their dynasty extincted. He was also an imperial bureaucrat, an employee and business partner of one Joseph Hormayr, another aristocrat. Hormayr, with a gift for history, was another imperial bureaucrat who also just so happened to be the director of the Habsburg Secret Archives in Vienna. Both men were bitter. Generally speaking, with the exception of France, Britain, Scandinavia and Russia, until 1806, and in terms of territory, the Holy Roman Empire had been most of continental Europe. Now, Austria was under the suzerainty of Napoleon's France after French troops defeated the anti-Napoleon coalition at Austerlitz in 1805. In 1806, two centuries after Elizabeth Bathory with her Ottoman allies almost achieved the same thing, Napoleon achieved their centuries old goal. He abolished the Habsburg-Lorraine Holy Roman Empire forever. Its emperor, and king of Hungary, one and the same person, Francis I Habsburg-Lorraine, became Emperor Francis II of a much smaller Austrian Empire. It was also a completely financially bankrupt empire. What was left of this new Habsburg-Lorraine empire came completely under Napoleon's rule. Hormayr lost his lands and titles in Tyrol and Mednansky went bankrupt. To make matters a little worse, the famous French Queen, Marie-Antoinette who lost her head in the French Revolution was Francis' aunt. Francis feared revolution like the plague. Consequently, his regime repressed any revolutionary activity with brutal, tyrannic efficiency anywhere in his empire. The end for the aristocracy was drawing near throughout Europe. People simply had enough. When the Slovak-Hungarian Lajos Kossuth's political movement in Imperial Hungary, one of several revolutions brewing throughout the Austrian Empire, including in Austria itself, began to develop into a political force which demanded reforms and even independence, the emperor spared no effort to maintain control. An important policy, as always, became disinformation - propaganda. Together, the two men - Hormayr and Mednansky - were not only the guardians of the Habsburg secret archives, but became state-sanctioned propagandists. With access to documents detailing the real history of the Holy Roman Empire and its dealings in Hungary, they were uniquely positioned to pick and choose specific historic events and personages, then rewrite and publish these stories as historical facts. In the process, they changed history, and by it, public opinion and perception of events, oftentimes with forged historical documents.

Kossuth's Magyar revolutionaries were, after more than a century of literally no real history written by "Hungarians," scrambling to find, and if unable to do so, create historic heroes to inspire their revolution against Austria. There were two major obstacles, however. First, historical material had long since been taken out of the country. Second, most of the population was illiterate. Worse! Most of the population, since 1514 were property of land-owning Imperial Hungarian aristocrats. They were slaves. If there was to be a revolution, revolutionaries (peasants) needed to be taught to read revolutionary stuff. A new policy was introduced in Hungary - Magyarisation. Its aim was to teach literacy to peasants - how to read, and to write their own spoken language. New schools were built to accommodate the masses of new pupils. The politics of language in Hungary was born.

Hesperus 1812 edition in which Mednansky's sensational story about Elizabeth Bathory appeared.
Hesperus 1812 edition in which Mednansky's sensational story about Elizabeth Bathory appeared.

Enter Mednansky and Hormayr. History had to be part of the process, of course, a history, the empire, that is, Hormayr and Mednansky, with sanction from Vienna, were happy to provide to the unwitting revolutionary Magyar government. Mednansky, in fact sat on the School Commission to reform Hungarian schools. He also later sat on the Hungarian Censorship Board as its president. In a nutshell, Magyarisation was Vienna's way not Kossuth's way.

Their very first 1812 article, although credited solely to Mednansky was a sensation. This was Elizabeth Bathory: A True Story. Contrived 1610-11 trial documents of Elizabeth Bathory were published in another 1817 article, again in Hesperus Magazine, back by popular demand no doubt. It sealed the mythical deal of Elizabeth Bathory's heinous deeds, so to speak. It was the very first, and sensational, publication of the official court witness testimonies from the legal proceedings against Elizabeth Bathory which were supposedly discovered in 1765.(12) These articles, and many others covering a range of other historic persons and events, also ensured that nobody would ever know of the real Bathorys, or anyone else, of their history, or the fact that these individuals had waged war with the Habsburgs for four centuries, and that families like the Bathorys were true heroes! Together, Hormayr and Mednansky wrote fictional histories and became very wealthy as result. They were, in fact, Austria's most successful propagandists to counter revolutionary activities in Hungary at the time. Together, these two unwittingly did their part in unleashing Hell in Hungary and Europe.

Evolution of the Myth

By the time other writers came along such as John Paget and his 1839 two-volume book about his travel adventures in Hungary and Transylvania(13) and Johann Ernst Daniel Bornschein with his 1852 novel(14) about Elizabeth Bathory, her reputation, the myth, had already been firmly established, almost into the myth most familiar to us today. Paget was not the first English tourist in Hungary, but he was certainly one of the first tourists to make a special trip just to visit the very site of the mythical crimes Mednansky wrote about. His visit to Čachtice merits a read. The myth already had a life of its own.

Fortress Čachtice as it appeared in 1850. Engraving from Paget's book.
Fortress Čachtice as it appeared in 1850. Engraving from Paget's book.

I know not why, but one always feels less incredulous of the marvelous when one has visited the scene of action and made oneself at home in the whereabouts of dark deeds - as though stone walls had not only the ears so often attributed to them, but tongues also to testify to the things they had witnessed. The history of Csejta [Čachtice], however, requires no such aid to prove its credibility; legal documents exist to attest the truth [referring to Mednansky's original article in which he said he had "documents," as well as the later, alleged trial documents published in 1817].

The ruins of a once strong castle still remain on the top of a hill which can be ascended only on one side, for like many old Hungarian castles, Csejta is built on a limestone rock an abrupt precipice on three sides. About the year 1610 this castle was the residence of Elizabeth Bathori sister to the King of Poland and wife of a rich and powerful magnate. Like most ladies of her day she was surrounded by a troop of young persons generally the daughters of poor but noble parents who lived in honourable servitude in return for which their education was cared for and their dowry secured. Elizabeth was of a severe and cruel disposition, and her handmaidens led no joyous life. Slight faults are said to have been punished by most merciless tortures. One day as the lady of Csejta was adorning at her mirror those charms which that faithful monitor told her were fast waning, she gave way to her ungovernable temper, excited perhaps by the mirror's unwelcome hint and struck her unoffending maid with such force in the face as to draw blood. As she washed from her hand the stain, she fancied that the part which the blood had touched grew whiter softer and as it were more young. Imbued with the dreams of the age, she believed accident had revealed to her what so many philosophers had wasted years to discover, that in a maiden's blood she possessed the elixir vita, the source of never failing youth and beauty. Remorseless by nature, and now urged on by that worst of woman's weaknesses, vanity, no sooner did the thought flash across her brain than her resolution was taken the life of her luckless handmaiden seemed as naught compared with the rich boon her murder promised to secure.

Elizabeth however was wary as she was cruel. At the foot of the rock on which Csejta stands was a small cottage inhabited by two old women and between the cellar of this cottage and the castle was a subterranean passage known only to one or two persons and never used but in times of danger. With the aid of these crones and her steward the poor girl was led through the secret passage to the cottage where the horrid deed was accomplished and the body of the murderess washed in virgin's blood. Not satisfied with the first essay at different intervals by the aid of these accomplices and the secret passage no less than three hundred maidens were sacrificed at the shrine of vanity anil superstition. Several years had been occupied in this pitiless slaughter and no suspicion of the truth was excited though the greatest amazement pervaded the country at the disappearance of so many persons.

At last however Elizabeth called into play against her two passions stronger even than vanity or cunning love and revenge became interested in the discovery of the mystery. Among the victims of Csejta was a beautiful maiden who was beloved by and betrothed to a young man of the neighborhood. In despair at the loss of his mistress he followed her traces with such perseverance that in spite of the hitherto successful caution of the murderess he penetrated the bloody secrets of the castle and burning for revenge flew to Pressburg boldly accused Elizabeth Bathori of murder before the Palatine in open court and demanded judgment against her.

So grave an accusation so openly preferred against an individual of such high rank demanded the most serious attention and George Thurzo the then Palatine undertook to investigate the affair in person. Proceeding immediately to Csejta before the murderess or her accomplices had any idea of the accusation he discovered the still warm body of a young girl whom they had been destroying as the Palatine approached and had not had time to dispose of before he apprehended them. The rank of Elizabeth mitigated her punishment to imprisonment for life but her assistants were burned at the stake.

With this tale fresh in our minds we ascended the long hill gained the castle and wandered over its deserted ruins The shades of evening were just spreading over the valley the bare gray walls stood up against the red sky the solemn stillness of evening reigned over the scene and as two ravens which had made their nest on the castle's highest towers came towards it winging their heavy flight and wheeling once round each cawing a hoarse welcome to the other alighted on their favourite turret I could have fancied them the spirits of the two crones condemned to haunt the scene of their former crimes while their infernal mistress was cursed by some more wretched doom.

The castle though once strong particularly towards the village is now fast falling to decay It is loosely built of unhewn stone held together by mortar and crumbles away with every shower and blast.(15)

She Was a Werewolf!

Turciansky, Bel and Mednansky had created kindling for the Elizabeth Bathory myth which was rehashed once more by Paget and others. All it needed now was the spark to ignite it. This spark came in 1854 by way of Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, a Vicar in the Church of England in Devon, in his publication, The Book of Werewolves, which captivated reader's imaginations. He begins one of his chapters about the "Hungarian Bather in Blood" with:

It was not till the close of the Middle Ages that lycanthropy was recognized as a disease; but it is one which has so much that is ghastly and revolting in its form, and it is so remote from all our ordinary experience, that it is not surprising that the casual observer should leave the consideration of it, as a subject isolated and perplexing, and be disposed to regard as a myth that which the feared investigation might prove a reality.

In this chapter I purpose briefly examining the conditions under which men have been regarded as werewolves.(16)

He gives some examples of other "werewolves" and of Elizabeth Bathory, he goes on to quote another writer, Michael Wagener from his book, Beitrage zur philosophischen Anthropologie (Contributions to a Philosophical Anthropology), Vienna, 1796... [Note that the name of Elizabeth Bathory was still forbidden in Austria in 1796!]

Warewolf from Baring-Gould's 1854 book.
Warewolf from Baring-Gould's 1854 book.

...Michael Wagener... relates a horrible story which occurred in Hungary, suppressing the name of the person, as it was that of a still powerful family in the country. It illustrates what I have been saying, and shows how trifling a matter may develop the passion in its most hideous proportions. Elizabeth ------ was wont to dress well in order to please her husband, and she spent half the day over her toilet. On one occasion, a lady's-maid saw something wrong in her head-dress, and as a recompense for observing it, received such a severe box on the ears that the blood gushed from her nose, and spirited on to her mistress's face. When the blood drops were washed off her face, her skin appeared much more beautiful--whiter and more transparent on the spots where the blood had been.

Elizabeth formed the resolution to bathe her face and her whole body in human blood so as to enhance her beauty. Two old women and a certain Fitzko assisted her in her undertaking. This monster used to kill the luckless victim, and the old women caught the blood, in which Elizabeth was wont to bathe at the hour of four in the morning. After the bath she appeared more beautiful than before.

She continued this habit after the death of her husband (1604) in the hopes of gaining new suitors. The unhappy girls who were allured to the castle, under the plea that they were to be taken into service there, were locked up in a cellar. Here they were beaten till their bodies were swollen. Elizabeth not unfrequently tortured the victims herself; often she changed their clothes which dripped with blood, and then renewed her cruelties. The swollen bodies were then cut up with razors.

Occasionally she had the girls burned, and then cut up, but the great majority were beaten to death.

At last her cruelty became so great, that she would stick needles into those who sat with her in a carriage, especially if they were of her own sex. One of her servant-girls she stripped naked, smeared her with honey, and so drove her out of the house.

When she was ill, and could not indulge her cruelty, she bit a person who came near her sick bed as though she were a wild beast.

She caused, in all, the death of 650 girls, some in Tscheita, on the neutral ground, where she had a cellar constructed for the purpose; others in different localities; for murder and bloodshed became with her a necessity.

When at last the parents of the lost children could no longer be cajoled, the castle was seized, and the traces of the murders were discovered. Her accomplices were executed, and she was imprisoned for life. (17)

Michael Wagener, whom Baring-Gould quoted, was no doubt influenced by the writings of the earlier works of Turoczi, Bel and no doubt others, as was Baring-Gould. So there you have it. In Baring-Gould's opinion, Elizabeth Bathory was suffering from nothing less than clinical lycanthropy, defined as a rare psychiatric syndrome that involves a delusion that the affected person can transform into, has transformed into, or is a non-human animal... a werewolf! Excellent diagnosis, Reverend!

A Vampire or Whatever You Want Her to Be

Little wonder then, that by the end of the nineteenth century Victorian Era when the Irishman Bram Stoker published his 1897 bestseller Gothic horror novel, Dracula, Elizabeth Bathory's fate as the bloody Lady of Cachtice had already been sealed in popular mythology. Note also, that somewhere between von Mednyansky's 1812 article and Baring-Gould's 1854 werewolf book - a mere space of 43 years - Elizabeth Bathory's victims ballooned from 12 to 650!

The twentieth century was no different and featured an absolute flood of mostly fictional as well as supposedly non-fictional works. One author, Raymond McNally, who was an American author and a professor of Russian and East European History at Boston College, published his 1983 book about Elizabeth Bathory, Dracula Was a Woman: In Search of the Blood Countess of Transylvania. In his book, McNally explored Stokers research that gave rise to his vampire character and even went so far as to connect Vlad The Impaler a.k.a. Bram Stoker's Dracula, to Elizabeth Bathory! No surprise then, that in 2009, Bram Stoker's great grand-nephew Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt finished where McNally left off and published a sequel to the original novel Dracula the Un-dead. In this sequel, Elizabeth Bathory is is introduced as a vampire, related to Dracula no less.

Thanks to Stoker and the likes of Baring-Gould, the public hunger for Gothic tales of horror became insatiable. And thanks to McNally's weird literary history, her character became firmly sealed as the most prolific psychotic mass murderess of all time, factually speaking, to even that of a fictional bloodthirsty vampire. The Elizabeth Bathory genre of Gothic horror was born!

A Hungarian "Ghoul"ash of Stories

There are dozens of books - fiction and non-fiction - published about Elizabeth Bathory in many languages around the world. A small sampling and flavour of English language books in print today, are listed below.

The Bloody Countess: The Atrocities of Erzsebet Bathory, Valentine Penrose, Alexander Trocchi, 1962
Synopsis: Descended from one of the most ancient aristocratic families of Europe, Erzsebet Bathory bore the psychotic aberrations of centuries of intermarriage. From adolescence she indulged in sadistic lesbian fantasies, where only the spilling of a woman's blood could satisfy her urges. By middle age, she had regressed to a mirror-fixated state of pathological necro-sadism involving witchcraft, torture, blood-drinking, cannibalism and wholesale slaughter. These years, at the latter end of the 16th century, witnessed a reign of cruelty unsurpassed in the annals of mass murder, with the Countess' depredations on the virgin girls of the Carpathians leading to some 650 deaths. Her many castles were equipped with chambers where she would hideously torture and mutilate her victims; hundreds of girls were killed and processed for the ultimate, youth-giving ritual: the bath of blood. The Bloody Countess is Valentine Penrose's true, disturbing case history of a female psychopath, a chillingly lyrical account beautifully translated by Alexander Trocchi (author of Cain's Book), which has an unequalled power to evoke the decadent melancholy of doomed, delinquent aristocracy in a dark age of superstition.
The Blood Countess: A Novel, by Andrei Codrescu, 1995.
Synopsis: A Hungarian-American journalist confronts the beauty and terror of his aristocratic heritage in this suspenseful chronicle of murder and eroticism. Turmoil reigns in post-Soviet Hungary when journalist Drake Bathory-Kereshtur returns from America to grapple with his family history. He’s haunted by the legacy of his ancestor, the notorious sixteenth-century Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who is said to have murdered more than 650 young virgins and bathed in their blood to preserve her youth. Interweaving past and present, The Blood Countess tells the stories of Elizabeth’s debauched and murderous reign and Drake’s fascination with the eternal clashes of faith and power, violence and beauty. Codrescu traces the captivating origins of the countess’s obsessions in tandem with the emerging political fervor of the reporter, building the narratives into an unforgettable, bloody crescendo. Taut and intense, The Blood Countess is a riveting novel that deftly straddles the genres of historical fiction, thriller, horror, and family drama.
Countess Dracula: The Life and Times of Elisabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess, Tony Thorne, 1997.
Synopsis: This is the story of Elisabeth Bathory, a 17th-century Transylvanian countess. She was tried as a vampire and became an inspiration for depraved murderers up to the present day.; Based on research conducted at archives in Eastern Europe, this account includes both the recorded truth and the legend that has grown up around her. Tony Thorne is the author of the "Bloomsbury Dictionary of Slang".
Dandelions in the Garden, Charlie Courtland, 2009.
Synopsis: Journey into the underworld of the Blood Countess. "Dandelions In The Garden," is a historical fiction novel based on one of the most infamous female mass murderers in history, the 16th century Hungarian countess, Elizabeth Bathory. The Blood Countess was a descendant of Vlad Tepes and is undeniably connected with the vampire legends of Transylvania.
The Hidden Will of the Dragon, Charlie Courtland, 2010.
Synopsis: In the sequel to "Dandelions in the Garden," the journey of history's most intriguing noble female murderer continues. Come following Elizabeth and Amara through the canals of Venice and high into the Carpathian Mountains to discover the inevitable. How the story of the Blood Countess really ends!
The Bathory Curse, Renee Lake, 2015.
Synopsis: It is said that Vlad the Impaler's first wife jumped to her death rather than be with such a monster, however... Princess Cneajna of Transylvania didn’t expect to be brought back from death’s door by an ancient Pagan Goddess. She certainly never asked to be made into an immortal witch. All she wanted was to live out her life the wife of Vlad the Impaler and mother of his two sons. However, now she has a new life, and with it comes the impossible task of breaking a centuries old curse placed on the women of her family. A curse that drives each one insane. To make matters even more complicated this is a family she didn’t even know she was related to: The Bathory’s.
Elizabeth Bathory, Edward Eaton, 2012.
Synopsis: When Elizabeth Báthory discovers that the blood of maidens will keep her young, she sets off on a bloody killing spree that lasts for years and results in the deaths of hundreds. When she is finally caught, she is walled up in her own castle. There, ever young and beautiful, she is denied the love and adoration she so craves. Then a young priest, looking for fame and advancement, comes to save her. Will her need for his flesh be stronger than his need for her soul? [A play in five scenes and based on a true story | Elizabeth Bathory is widely considered to be one of the inspirations for Bram Stoker's DRACULA.
Elizabeth Bathory: Evil Beauty, Brian Montgomery, 2011.
Synopsis: A screenplay about the most evil woman to ever walk the Earth - Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Based on the life of Elizabeth Bathory, the Transylvanian countess who inspired the Dracula legend. Fact based fictionalized account of the woman who murdered (and drained of blood) over six hundred young girls in the late 1500's. This story follows the countess from her early years to her ultimate punishment after being caught and tried for the murder of over 600 young girls. In remaining true to the incredible true story, this script is filled with dramatic and horrific details of a story that has never been told in depth. You will be amazed that you have lived your life without ever hearing about this fascinating and gruesome tale.
Article: Literary Origins

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Notes
  1. Ladislao Turocius [Lat.], Ladisalav Turčianský [sk.], László Turóczi [hu.]
  2. Matthias Belius [Lat.], Matej Bel z Očovej [sk.], Mátyás Bél de Ocsova [hu.]
  3. Alojz Medňanský [sk.], Alajos Mednyánszky [hu.], Alois Mednýanszky [de.]
  4. Jozef Hormayr [sk.], József Hormayr [hu.], Josef Hormayr [de.]
  5. Turóci, Ladislav. Ungaria suis cum regionibus, ceterisque terrae dotibus : Reges item Ungariae cum accurata singulorum genealogia compendio dati / Studio R. P. Ladislai Turoczi, e Societate Jesu Tyrnaviae : Typis academicis Soc. Jesu per Fridericum Goll. 1729.
  6. Fear gripped the superstitious as well as pious because it was the time of the Szeged Witch Trials of 1728-1729. These took place in the city of Szeged, Hungary. The witch hunt was initiated because there was a bad drought and famine which gave rise to widespread and deadly epidemics from which thousands died. Naturally, the clergy reasoned that it must have been because some fraternized with the Devil. It became the height of the witch hysteria and was the largest witch hunt ever, culminating with the death of 14 people burnt alive at the stake.
  7. Bél, Mátyás/Mikoviny, Sámuel. Notitia Hungariae Novae Historico Geographica Divisa In Partes Quatuor, Quarum Prima, Hungariam Cis-Danubianam; Altera, Trans-Danubianam; Tertia, Cis-Tibiscanam; Quarta, Trans-Tibiscanam: Universim XLVIII. Comitatibus Designatam, Expromit. Regionis Situs, Terminos, Montes, Campos, Fluuios, ... Singulorum praeterea, Ortus & Incrementa, Belli Pacisque Conuersiones, & praesentem Habitum. Fide optima, Adcuratione summa, Explicat Viennae Austriae. 1736.
  8. Krejcí, Oskar. Geopolitics of the Central European Region: The View from Prague and Bratislava. VEDA Publishing House of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. Bratislava. 2005. p.279
  9. Turóci, Ladislav. Ungaria Suis Cum Regibus Compendio Data: Dum In Aula Almae, ac Celeberrimae Archi-Episcopali Soc. Jesu Universitatis Tyrnaviensis, Annô M.DCC.XLIII. Trnava. 1743.
  10. Turóci, Ladislav. Ungaria Suis Cum Regibus Compendio Data. Novissima Hac Editione Aucta, Elimata, Et Ad Nostram Usque Aetatem Producta. Collegii Academici Societatis Jesu. Trnava. 1768.
  11. Mednyansky, Alois Freiherr von. Eine wahre Geschichte. Hesperus: Ein Nationalblatt für den gebildete Leser, Nro. 59. Prag: 1812. pp. 470-472.
  12. Herausgeber (Editor):Christian, Carl Andre. Abschrift des Zeugen-Verhörs in Betreff der grausamen That, welcher Elisabeth v. Bathori, Gemahlinn des Grafen Franz Nadasdy beschuldiget wird. (1611). Hesperus: Ein Nationalblatt für den gebildete Leser, Nro. 31. Prag: 1817. p. 241-248, Hesperus: Ein Nationalblatt für den gebildete Leser, Nro. 32. Prag: 1817. pp. 270-272.
  13. Paget, John. Hungary and Transylvania: With Remarks on Their Condition, Social, Political, Economical, Volume 1, London, John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1839.
  14. Bornschein, Johann Ernst Daniel. Isidore Grafin von Nadasdi, Vicekonigin von Hungarn, zwolffache Morderin auf Eitelkeit und Liebe. Eine wahre furehtbare Begebenheit des 17 Jahrhunderts. Eisenberg. 1852.
  15. Paget, John. Hungary and Transylvania: With Remarks on Their Condition, Social, Political, Economical, Volume 1, London, John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1839. pp. 67-70
  16. Baring-Gould, Rev. Sabine. The Book of Werewolves, 1854. Egregore Press, Denver, CO. 2007. p. 109, pp.115-116
  17. Ibid.