The truth about Elizabeth Bathory and Anna Darvulia

Elizabeth Bathory

So much has been written about Elizabeth Bathory. She murdered over 650 people. She bathed in the blood of virgins to stay young. And she was a sick sadist who got pleasure from torturing virgins.

How much of it is true? It’s not easy to separate the truth from the sensationalism. Therefore, let’s talk about what we really know.

Let’s talk about Anna Darvulia first

OK, first, let’s talk about Anna Darvulia because her place in history is pretty small. We know that Anna Darvulia was an accomplice of Bathory’s. We assume she’s older than Bathory. Also, we can safely assume she died before Bathory did as the historical records of her stopped before the trial began.

There are facts and there is the romanticized version of history. People claimed that Anna Darvulia was a witch. Later writers claimed that Darvulia heavily influenced Bathory, therefore deserving some of the blame in the murders. Writers also made them out to be lesbian lovers.

How much is true? Nobody will ever know, but it’s safe to assume she’s just an accomplice and she died before Elizabeth Bathory did. I know, boring. Thus, later writers added other details.

How did she die? Some people said she killed herself to avoid the trial. Some people said she died of natural causes.  I’ve read she died of a stroke in 1609.  And I’ve even read she was executed. However, there’s no record of her execution.

The Blood Countess – Elizabeth Bathory

A little background.  Elizabeth Bathory was a powerful noblewoman in the Kingdom of Hungary.  She lived from 1560-1614.

Bathory was born in Nyírbátor, which is still in Hungary.  She died in Csejthe in what is now Slovakia.  The Kingdom of Hungary was so large in that time period that today, that area comprises Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.

Had she not been a noblewoman, she would have been immediately sentenced to death.  She also would not have had access to all those little girls.

Bathory was arrested in December of 1610 and tried twice in January 1611.  She was put under house arrest at that castle where she eventually died in 1614.

How many people did Elizabeth Bathory kill?

Bathory’s own records claim 650. When authorities raided Csejte Castle in 1610, they found what was left of between 100 and 200 bodies. Keep in mind, they had been tortured and mutilated, and many have already been badly decomposed. At the actual sentence, they just said 80 because they could prove 80.

Now, this is me talking. I’m under the impression that the real numbers are closer to 650. Keep in mind, she had almost unlimited power over the peasants in Transylvania. We know what unlimited power can do.

Elizabeth Bathory was a sick sadist who derived pleasure from inflicting pain on girls. She not only killed at Csejte Castle, she killed in Vienna and some other places she visited. She and/or her servants got pretty good at disposing bodies.

Did she really bathe in the blood of virgins to stay young?

As a Metalhead, I really hate to say this. However, as an amateur historian, I have to tell what I think is true.

More than likely, no. The bathing in the blood of virgins to stay young story came considerably after the trial. My personal belief is that at the time, people didn’t understand psychology. The words “sadism” and “psychopath” haven’t been invented yet.

So people tend to go towards easy explanations of events.

“Why did Elizabeth Bathory torture, mutilate, and kill so many young girls?”

“Because she wanted to stay beautiful and bathing in the blood of virgins is great for your complexion.”

“Oh! That makes sense!”

It will be interesting to hear what later historians say about Bathory and of course, the lesser figure Anna Darvulia. There’s also a conspiracy that it was a power grab against the Bathory family, but I think that’s bullshit because there were too many witnesses and you can’t fake all those bodies. Family members of the dead girls came forward too. She was indeed a psychotic killer. That much cannot be disputed.


Roman is an artist, composer, writer, and travel junkie.

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