The Bloody Lady Elizabeth Bathory

2010

Lady Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed was a wealthy Transylvanian Countess in the 15th century from the renowned Báthory family. It is alleged that she murdered as many as 600 girls in a span of 20 years. Despite being labeled as one of the most prolific female serial killers with a murder rate of mythological proportions, there is very little historical evidence that justifies her reputation. When considered in a larger historical and political context, it appears that Elizabeth was simply framed by those who stood to gain from her downfall. Consider the following facts before condemning her.

First of all, there is the absence of any physical evidence. No bodies or even names of her victims were ever found. The only witness testimonies were extracted from her servants under torture.

Secondly, the math does not add up; 600 victims in 20 years means that she would have killed 30 people a year, which is 1 murder every 12 days. How could such a public figure in a fairly secluded region with a population of less than three hundred thousand people get away with such a consistently astronomical murder rate for 20 years?

Furthermore, rumours of murder began to spread not before, but after an official investigation had already started, following the complaints of just one local Minister, Istvan Magyari.

Additionally, the trial took place at a time of religious upheaval and hostility in Hungary. As a Transylvanian Protestant aristocrat, Elizabeth was in political opposition to the reigning King Matthis of Hungary, who was an Austrian Roman Catholic.

Finally, at the time of the investigation, King Matthias was heavily indebted to the wealthy and influential Countess, but did not have the resources to repay her. Based on flimsy hearsay and likely fabricated evidence, he had her imprisoned without a formal trial, after which he confiscated all of her property and avoided repaying his debt.

 

Materials:

Corset, sleeves, headdress, collar and shoes are cast in sterling silver in 23 separate pieces and plated with 24 karat gold. Skirt is made from an Indian wedding sari; magnetic wig, porcelain, china paint, industrial springs. 13.5” (34.5cm) tall.

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