Ep 148: Blood Báthory Part 2

Above image: A likeness of Elizabeth Báthory created from her physical description found in historical records. Historical Mixed Media Figure of Elizabeth Báthory produced by artist/historian George S. Stuart and photographed by Peter d'Aprix, from the George S. Stuart Gallery of Historical Figures® archive (http://www.galleryhistoricalfigures.com). Used by CC BY-SA 3.0


“See my hands, how cold they are?” “It is nothing, my Lady,” the guards assured her. “Will you not now retire for the night?” The next morning, August 25, 1614, hearing no movement, the guards entered her chamber and found her lying on the floor with her feet supported by a pillow. She was dead.

Paraphrased from Tony Thorne’s book Countess Dracula, from Bloomsbury Publishing.



We love to hate our villains as much as we love to love our heroes. And many of us have a morbid fascination with some of history's most sinister characters, perhaps as a means of understanding the darkest aspects of human behavior. But as is regularly the case, the truth behind the real nature and actions of historical figures we can only glean from the reporting of others in that age and often many years after. Even official accounts are just a widely agreed upon set of assessments by a group of people, each with their own biases and personal opinions. In other words, one person's villain can be another's hero, or at least grossly misunderstood. In the case of Elizabeth Báthory, the authorities finally took action against one of their own, leveling upon her a judgment that could appear both lenient and harsh, but in either case, revealing an investigation that would forever brand her as one of the evilest people in antiquity with her name living on in infamy. Whether or not the testimony against her had any truth to it at all or what the real motivation for her incarceration was, is still debated by historians and researchers. What is clear is that misery, violence, and torture were part of the norm for her time. Some would argue that the stories about her were exaggerations, and her deeds merely accepted practice by the aristocracy of the day. But does normalcy justify a person's acts of any era? Where is the unacceptable line of behavior, regardless of the epoch or social status? History has judged Elizabeth Báthory. How will you?



Čachtice Castle (pronounced Chack-teet-seh or Chack-teet-ski in Slovak) where Elizabeth Báthory lived and carried out most of her alleged crimes, until she was reportedly bricked up in a few of its rooms until her death in 1614. First built in the mid-13th century, the castle had undergone several periods of transformation and renovation until it was captured in 1708 in an uprising against the Habsburgs by the Hungarian rebels of Francis II Rákóczi , theorized to be the father of The Count of St. Germain. Today, the castle ruins are a tourist attraction in present-day Slovakia.


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Episode 148: Blood Báthory Part 2.  Produced by Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess; Audio Editing by Sarah Vorhees Wendel; Sound Design by Ryan McCullough; Tess Pfeifle, Producer and Lead Researcher; Research Support from the astonishing League of Astonishing Researchers, a.k.a. The Astonishing Research Corps, or "A.R.C." for short. Copyright 2019 Astonishing Legends Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.