Who was the Viennese blood countess?

Who was the Hungarian Countess Elisabeth (Erzsébet) Báthory-Nádasdy (1560-1614)? Why did she become popular in the history as the Viennese blood countess? Where was she born and where did it all happen?

Elisabeth was born in 1560 in Transylvania to the noblemen Georg Bathóry and his wife Anna. At the age of 11 she was engaged to Franz Nádasdy of Fogarasföld. He was nicknamed the Black Knight because of the cruel treatment of his enemies.

The couple had five children and lived in the castle in Čachtice (today Slovakia). When her husband died in 1604, she inherited his entire fortune and owned castles from Transylvania to Austria. In Vienna her place of residence was at Augustinerstrasse 12, opposite the Augustinerkirche.

Horrible, bloodthirsty scenes are said to have occurred in this place and in many others. She constantly brought young maids to her castles and tortured them with the worst torture methods until they literally bled out in the torture devices of the "Iron Maiden".

It was a kind of closet case, in which there were nail tips and the girls impaled on them. She then supposedly drank the virgin blood and bathed in it because she hoped for eternal beauty and youth.

As long as they were girls from peasant families, the loss did not crop up because they were suspected of being in good hands in the city. However, if the girls came from middle-class families, the loss was more noticeable. The dead girls were burried in the basement, later even dumped in the city moat, which made the population suspicious.

In 1611, the gruesome activities came to an end when the Čachtice Castle was stormed and everything was discovered, including what happened in Vienna's Augustinerstrasse. Elisabeth Báthory-Nádasdy was convicted of murdering over 600 young girls. She herself was walled up in her castle, where she died in 1614.

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