Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed (Báthory Erzsébet in Hungarian; 7 August 1560 – 21 August 1614) was a countess from the renowned Báthory family of nobility in the Kingdom of Hungary. She has been labelled the most prolific female serial killer in history, though the precise number of her victims is debated. Báthory and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls (a list of 640 names was found later) between 1585 and 1610. Despite the evidence against Elizabeth, her family's influence kept her from facing trial. She was imprisoned in December 1610 within Csejte Castle, Upper Hungary, now in Slovakia, where she remained immured in a set of rooms until her death four years later.
The stories of her serial murders and brutality are verified by the testimony of more than 300 witnesses and survivors as well as physical evidence and the presence of horribly mutilated dead, dying and imprisoned girls found at the time of her arrest. Stories which ascribe to her vampire-like tendencies (most famously the tale that she bathed in the blood of virgins to retain her youth) were generally recorded years after her death and are considered unreliable. Her story quickly became part of national folklore, and her infamy persists to this day. She is often compared with Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia, on whom the fictional Count Dracula is partly based, and has been nicknamed The Blood Countess and Countess Dracula.
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