The Bloody Queen of Slovakia - Halloween-Type Stories from Central Europe (II)

2. The Bloody Queen of Slovakia

This is a very disturbing but real story. I heard about this historical fact from a guide during a trip from Krakow to Vienna. On the way between Krakow and Vienna, many beautiful castles were built in order to protect the area from the foreign invasion (build after Tartars attack).

Among the castles are ruins of Cachtice in Eastern Slovakia where Elizabeth Báthori, "The Blood Queen of Slovakia" lived at the turn of the 17th century. During this time, her uncle, Stephan, became king of Poland. He was recognized as one of the best Polish kings. In contrast Elizabeth was weird, insane and cruel. Maybe her strange behavior was caused by a fact that she was a result of inbreeding in Báthori family. She was an educated lady and was married in the age of 15 to Ferenc Nádasdy.

Cachtice, Ruins of the castle

Her husband always was fighting against the Turks and other enemies, and she was getting bored living in the castle. So she made her life more interesting by taking a (lesbian) lover and surrounding herself with magicians, fortune-tellers, witches etc. Encouraged by her maids she tortured servants for entertainment by dousing them with cold water and freezing them to death outside in the snow.

When she became a widow (over 40 years old), she decided to bath and also drink a blood of virgins in order to rejuvenate her body. For drawing blood, special spiked cages that slowly pierced the body. Girls from the surrounding villages were called to the castle - they were hang upside down by chains wrapped around their ankles and after slashing their throws their blood was drained. Allegedly 600 girls were killed during 5 years but Elizabeth was not satisfied with her skin complexion. She was advised to use girls of the lesser nobility since their blood is better. Elizabeth became also careless and some of the drained bodies were found outside the walls and identified.

An angry mob came up from the village. The information about Elizabeth's habits reached even Hungarian emperor who ordered public trial. Elizabeth could not be executed because of her status but she remained imprisoned in her castle until her death 4 years later in 1614 in age 54.

Torture tools that she was using disappeared during the WW II and her only portrait was stolen in 1990. Her grave was removed from the Catholic graveyard due to the protests and moved to a family tomb.

Read Part I about Miner's Guardian - Skarbnik. Part III describes a history of a Lady of Teutonic Castle.

Check Polish Tales - bilingual edition - written by famous Polish writer - Ignacy Krasicki:
Polish Fables: Bilingual

I recommend a book written by F. C. Anstruther, J. Sekalski, F. C. Anstrother (Editor), entitled:
Old Polish Legends

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