Long before the myths of undead blood drinkers came to the western Europe, Transylvania (modern day Romania) and the surrounding territories were in the grip of constant wars and Slavic folklore tales that birthed the most influential legendary creature known to man - vampire. In such environment, the lives of famous people and rules had a great impact on the creation of such tales. Worldwide known Vlad the Impaler (also known as Dracula or Son of a Dragon) had great influence in creation of modern vampire myth, but one hundred years after his death another Transylvanian royalty managed to shock the world with her cruelty, insanity and thirst for blood that remains unmatched until this day. Her name is Elizabeth Bathory.
Born as Erzsébeth Báthory in Nyírbátor, Hungary on 7 August 1560 she spent her entire life near very influential royal family who ruled over Hungary and Transylvania. At the age of 14 she married Ferenc Nádasdy, with whom she remained in marriage for 29 years until his death of battle wounds. During her life she obtained control over Transylvania and reigned from her Sárvár where she first exhibited her fascination with violence, torture and blood. Between 1602 and 1604 first rumors started reaching the Italian courts and religious and royal leaders started suspecting that there is something strange happening on the court of Elizabeth Bathory. When the rumors of excessive disappearances and death among castle staff in Transylvania reached King Mathias, ruler of Austria, Bohemia and Hungary he finally dispatched official investigators who personally reviewed the state of Elizabeth Bathory's affairs. When it was clear that there was definite proof of mass murder on the scene, King Mathias and the remainder of Bathory family convened to resolve situation. Even though Elizabeth's crimes were undisputed and deserving of death penalty, impact of her death had a potential to undermine the ruling families in Hungary. Therefore they decided to keep her in strict arrest until her death. On 30 December 1610 Elizabeth Bathory and four of her servants were arrested, Elizabeth was taken to her castle, bricked to the set of rooms and kept there until her death 21 August of 1614.
Her accomplice servants went to a very public trial in which many local people and members of court told their accounts of the murders, although majority of their reports were second hand and exaggerated. In the end, all four accused servants were sentenced to be guilty for the murder of 80 women (although there were speculations that the number was 5 to 6 times higher). Two of them were bonded to a stake and burned alive after their fingers were severed with hot iron pokers, one was beheaded before burning, and one servant girl was sent to life imprisonment.
Hundreds of dead by the hand of Elizabeth Bathory, her consummation of blood and search for eternal youth to this day fill the imagination and folklore tales of those parts of the world, and her close relation and savagery to the Vlad the Impaler gave her the nickname Countess Dracula.