Monday, June 18, 2012
From the enchanteddoll.com: The Bloody Lady Elizabeth Bathory. 2010 Sold One of a kind, porcelain, ball-jointed, costumed doll. A very complex costume is assembled from 23 separate, original Sterling Silver pieces with 24k gold plating and an Indian wedding saree skirt. All clothes and accessories are removable. Face is one of a kind. Removable wig is magnetic. This doll is based on a real historical figure of Transilvanian countess Elizabeth Bathory (17 August 1560 – 21 August 1614), from the renowned Báthory family. Allegedly Elizabeth was a sadistic serial killer who tortured and murdered as many as six hundred girls in a span of 20 years. Despite going down in history as the most prolific female serial killer with a kill rate of mythological proportions, there is very little historical evidence against her. In fact, when considered in a larger historical and political context, it appears that Elizabeth was a victim of an aristocratic conspiracy with a resulting mass hysteria, and that her original accusers were politically, financially and possibly, ideologically motivated. Regardless of evidence, history appears to be infatuated with the image of this woman as a ruthless murderer, even if this image is nothing but a myth. Her presence in history is as mysterious and secretive as her enigmatic smile, which could hide either a twisted sociopath, or an innocent victim of slander. Although we will never the truth behind the Bloody Lady Elizabeth Bathory, we must consider these following historical facts before condemning her: There is the lack of the most basic proof: the victim’s names. There aren’t any official names on record of Bathory’s alleged victims, or bodies for that matter. It was said that she had killed daughters of peasantry as well as lesser nobility. But who are these missing women exactly? The logistics of murder don’t make sense either. Elizabeth was accused of killing around 600 girls in 20 years. That means she killed 30 people a year. That’s 1 murder every 12 days. How could such a visible public figure get away with such an astronomical kill rate for 20 years, in a region with a population of much less than three hundred thousand people? Where was she getting all these women and why was virtually nobody noticing except for one single minister Istvan Magyari? One would think that if daughters were going missing left and right every month in villages, there would be some sort of a public concern and even a panic. Instead, the “rumors” of murders had began to spread only after the official investigation had already started. Another interesting detail is the fact that when King Matthias of Hungary ordered the investigation into the rumors of murders, he was heavily indebted to the wealthy and influential Elizabeth Bathory. Based on flimsy, hearsay witness testimony, King Matthis had her imprisoned without any formal trial, conviction or further punishment and avoided having to repay her the large sum of money for which he lacked sufficient funds. Elizabeth Bathory’s case happened at a time of religious upheaval and hostility in Hungary. As a Transilvanian Protestant aristocrat, she was a political opposition to King Matthis, who was an Austrian Roman Catholic. My final argument in favor of Elizabeth Bathory’s innocence is that her case shows evidence not only of political conspiracy, but also of the mass hysteria phenomenon, where a runaway public fear clouds all rational judgment, leading to escalating panic and severe miscarriages of justice. Such cases and trials are often characterized by absurd accusations, unfounded witness testimony, extremely biased public opinion, coercive interrogations and incompetent investigative techniques. I see a distinct parallel between Elizabeth Bathory’s murder investigation and the of mass hysteria of the famous Salem witch trials of 1692, the Kern County Satanic ritual child abuse hysteria of 1983 and the West Memphis Three murders of 1993, where all accusations began with one person and grew out of thin air into frenzied fear and everyone conveniently forgot that a person is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Friday, June 15, 2012
I think I know how Erzebet felt, alone in that tower for so long. She was alone, not in solitude. Alone, without family, especially without her mother, which counted for something even then, when so many family arrngements were political. When all is said and done, your mother is your mother. Hopefully, I can start a board for her on Pinterest, soon, with images and other things connected to her. Will be writing about The Little Match Girl, soon, and the fairy tales and legends by Andersen, Grimm, and others, take me back to legends of Erzebet. I hope to upload the teen novella I wrote about her, soon. Thanks to all who read this blog; there will be more soon, I promise.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Monday, June 4, 2012
Most are from The Crime Library, but some are also from older histories and documents, translated many times, and none really judged for the quality of their translation: "It was cold and the men had difficulty finding their way, even with a few torches. The talk around town was that the woman they sought would be having one of her late-night clandestine gatherings—a sight to behold if they managed to get that close, and probably incriminating—for witchcraft, at the very least. They hoped to catch her in a deviant illegal act. People down the hill in the village often claimed to have heard screams emanating from within this place, and they spoke of disappearing girls and of murder, but no one had dared approach the regal, 50-something countess until now. Word had come to the king that she had kidnapped or killed nine girls from good families." Notice the vagaries in this prose, it's dark, probably incriminating, claimed, no one dared approach to find out for sure, word had come, etc. From The Bloody Countess: "These men knew they had to be careful. The beautiful mistress of the manor, known for her lustrous black hair and pale skin, was of royal blood and was especially well connected. Once married to a warrior count known as Hungary's "Black Hero" for his bravery in battles with the Turks, she was related to princes and kings, bishops and cardinals, and she was the cousin of Prime Minister Thurzo—a member of the very party that approached her imposing domain that night with such stealth and trepidation. If she recognized his colors, she would let him in, but their preference was to arrive unannounced. The woman's uncle, Stephen Báthory, had been king of Poland. If the persistent rumors proved to be unfounded, she could be a dangerous political enemy. On the other hand, if they were true, then something had to be done to stop her."