Countess Elizabeth Bathory de Ecsed, known as The Blood Countess, has been labelled by Guinness World Records as the world’s most prolific female murderer.


Elizabeth Bathory was born on August 7, 1560 in Hungary to a well-established and privileged family. Her relatives were the most powerful people of that time, including Kings of Transylvania and Poland.


Reportedly, little Countess was described as a stubborn and aggressive child with frequent fits of rage. It is said, she was a tomboy and even dressed like a boy and all of her activities consisted in the boy sports or games whereas her favorite was fencing.

She also demanded to be treated like her male companions in any event. Elizabeth was an independent girl with a genuinely high opinion of herself and her skills, but deservedly. She was very beautiful and highly educated, speaking and writing fluently in Hungarian, Greek and Latin. Her intelligence was her strongest tool and even stood out from all the men of her times who were definitely less educated than her.


At the age of 15, she was, for political reasons, married to Count Ferencz Nadasdy. But as Elizabeth’s social standing was higher than that of her husband, she not only refused to change her last name but also achieved that Ferencz became Ferencz Bathory-Nadasdy. After marriage, she moved in the Nadasdy Castle and took care of the whole estate.

Even though the marriage of Elizabeth and Ferencz was arranged, they had one thing in common: a treat in cruelty. They both were cruel masters. Their cruelty toward servants was a commonplace in the Nadasdy’s household. It seems, the Countess gave birth to many children, and not all of them were from her husband. Since Ferencz was constantly away, she had many lovers, as men as women.

Ferencz Bathory-Nadasdy died in 1604, at the age of 48.


Between 1602 and 1604, the rumors of Bathory’s atrocities spread through the kingdom but nobody considered them truthful until finally, in 1610, King Matthias II assigned Gyorgy Thurzo to lead the investigation into Elizabeth crimes. She was accused of torturing and killing hundreds, the highest number was cited 650, of young women between 1585 and 1610.

Her guilt confirmed more than 300 witnesses and survivors. At the time of her arrest were found ghastly mutilated dead bodies and imprisoned girls. She was immured in December 1610, within a Csejte Castle, Upper Hungary, today’s Slovakia, where she remained locked in a set of rooms until her death four years later.

Film Bathory: Countess of Blood

A 2008 film Bathory,by Slovakian director Juraj Jakubisko and starring Anna Friel, shows Countess as a healer who conducts medical experiments in a “hospital” beneath her castle. “It is a story of a woman, Elizabeth Bathory, who,in short, was unfortunate to have been born at the wrong time in history,” described his point of view, Jakubisko.

Several authors have argued that Elizabeth Bathory was just a victim of a conspiracy and investigated not because of her crimes but because of her family finances.