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I would like to be very clear: there’s nothing wrong with being a virgin. You gotta do you, ya know?

Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary, the Blood Countess, was an infamous serial killer and sociopath and she inhabits an interesting space where history and folklore meet. There are many accounts given of Bathory’s brutality and in the end there were over 300 witnesses that testified against her. While it seems that tales of the Countess actually bathing in blood were added to the story later, that’s hardly the most terrifying part. The reality is far more gruesome.

Bathory was born of noble blood and given wealth, social standing, and education, none of which seemed to have an impact on making her a decent human being. After being married off at a young age, she took readily to managing the estates of her and her husband. It was at their various properties that she had torture facilities built to her specifications. At first, she began torturing and killing her own serving staff and those within the castle, but she eventually worked her way out to the local peasantry. Her bloodlust would later lead her to kill even the young girls of lesser nobles sent to her for education and training in social graces, a rather cruel irony. The things that she did to these poor young women were horrendous and don’t need to be recounted in this blog post, but suffice to say it was enough for her to be remembered and reviled even now, 400 years later.

Elizabeth Bathory and her accomplices were eventually accused and tried by the Royal Supreme Court in Hungary in 1611. There were enough witnesses and the physical evidence was clear enough for there to be no doubt. Due to her family’s standing, she was not executed but was instead kept in solitary confinement in her castle where she was under guard round the clock. Four years later, she was found dead inside her rooms.

While some of the more exaggerated bits of the story were certainly just local folklore, elements of Bathory’s tale have become part of popular culture, particularly with regard to vampires. Bathing in the blood of virgins to retain her youth as well as drinking the blood of her victims seem to have been rolled up into vampire lore that remains even to this day, a rather strange tribute to the brutality of a serial murderer.

ADDENDUM: Hey look at that! Two comics in one week and on time! WILD STUFF! Thanks again to everyone for bearing with me through so many difficulties. I hope that these comics help make up for it!

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