Ghastly Macabre

 Erzsébet Báthory, Hungary's infamous Blood Countess or Bloody Lady of Csejte, has been labeled the most prolific female serial killer in history, though the precise number of victims is debated. Her story results mainly from those who accused her in testimonies during her trials. Those transcripts were translated more than 100 years after her death. 

Between the years 1585 and 1610, she and several collaborators, Dorotya Semtész, Ilona Jó, Katarína Benická, and János Újváry ("Ibis" or Fickó), were accused of torturing and killing hundreds. Witness attributed to them killing anywhere between 30 and 650 victims, mostly young girls under the age of 14, almost all of them servants, some kidnapped, others brought into servitude from surrounding villages. And considering the number of bodies removed from Csejte and also from her properties in Sarvar, Nemetkeresztur, Bratislava (then Pozsony, Pressburg) and Vienna, and even between these locations, Erzsebet Báthory did indeed torture and kill hundreds more than the mere 80 counts she was convicted of. 

One witness at the trial spoke of a book with hundreds of victims names, supposedly penned by Báthory herself. This author would love to get her hands on that book, I tell you. Probably as allusive as the Marque De Sade's well hid paper and ink ramblings. 

Due to her rank, Erzsébet herself was neither tried nor convicted, but imprisoned on the day of her arrest in her own bed chambers within Csejte Castle in Upper Hungary, now in Slovakia. That was in December 1610, and she remained there until her death four years later on August 7th, 1560. 

During the Countess's reign, servants were considered personal property, no more than a useful piece of furniture, and law dictated ownership constituted the same cold callus propriety as given livestock. So using torture on servants that were said to be unruly was widespread, condoned, and even expected and respected among aristocrats. 

However, with the arrival of the dark witch, Anna Darvulia, (A little-known figure who died long before the trial) Erzsebet and Ficko's daily beatings became more profound, where blood was spilled for the sheer pleasure of spilling it, and death was merely a dispassionate objective—blood that Erzsebet believed would give her eternal life. And it did. She is known as one of the most sadistic woman murderers in history, and was even said to have inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula alongside of the horrendous Vlad the Impaler. 

Descriptions of torture from more than 300 witness accounts included:
Sever beatings over extended periods of time, often resulting in death.
Burning or mutilation of hands, faces and genitalia.
Biting the flesh off faces, arms and other body parts.
Freezing to death. Surgery on victims, often fatal, and starving victims. 

The use of hot irons, knives, cages, manmade devices of torture, pokers, and needles and thread were also mentioned by collaborators in court. Two witnesses (court officials Benedikt Deseo and Jakob Szilvassy) actually saw the Countess herself torture and kill young servant girls.

It was at the beginning of the 19th century it was contrived that sadistic pleasure was considered a far more plausible motive than punishment for unruly servants in Erzsebet Bathory's quest for longevity.
Having her walled up in her bedchambers, where some of the torture took place is what turned the corner of my lips up. Four years, at the mercy of the very servants who witnessed the attrocities committed by this woman—Karma at her finest. 

The Blood Countess was the inspiration for my Dark and Deadly series and therefore the historical protagonist shares billing with Lizzie, my fictional protagonist, in the first novella in the series:

An 80-year-old Kansas City woman accused in the baseball bat killing of her husband appears to be the oldest woman ever charged with murder in Missouri.

Prosecutors say, Annie Oliver’s diminutive 5-foot, 1-inch frame and frail health, didn't seem to deter her from beating her husband to death, so severely that his skull was exposed. That's the way authorities found Ronald Oliver inside the couple’s home.

Ronald's sister said,“She was a sick woman.” and was believed to be speaking of her sister-in-law’s health.

Before the bat beating, Ronald Oliver was said to be in good health and active; a retired truck driver and U.S. Army veteran. He always helped “anybody who needed help,” said the same sister.

According to court records, Annie Oliver told officers that she hit her husband with a baseball bat.

Police were called to the couple’s house just before 1 p.m. Wednesday by the victim’s granddaughter, who had received a call from Annie Oliver. Oliver had told her that she “hurt the victim pretty bad.” She also told her granddaughter that Ronald was helping her when he hit her on the hand and started “talking smart” to her. She “lost it,” hit him in the head with a bat and cut him with a knife.

The granddaughter and police found Ronald Oliver lying in a pool of blood. Blood spatter discolored the floor and wall. A baseball bat was propped upright against a dresser.

Police found Annie Oliver in another bedroom, getting dressed. She had blood spatter on her shoes and a piece of human tissue on her forehead. She had a cut in the webbing of her left hand, in between her thumb and forefinger. She told police she was “tired of the victim’s verbal abuse and him taking her clothing.” She was taken to a hospital before being transferred to jail.

Annie later declined to talk to detectives, instead requesting an attorney. The police had been to the house one other time in the past two years. According to police dispatch records, officers went there Feb. 25 to check someone’s welfare. It was unclear what prompted that call.

And, folks, Viola was born:
 Scheduled for release in November 2013

Herman Webster Mudgett's graduation portrait, 1884. (Image courtesy of Alan Glenn.)

Herman Webster Mudgett (AKA Dr. Henry Howard Holmes) has the dubious distinction of being one of America's first serial killers. He also doubled as a swindler, forger, arsonist, thief, kidnapper, and bigamist. Even today his monstrous acts are notable for their plenitude and cold-blooded efficiency. No one knows how many people he killed but estimates range as high as 200.

In Chicago at the time of the1883 World's Fair, Holmes opened a hotel which he had designed and built for himself specifically with murder in mind. It was the location of many of his murders. While he confessed to 27 murders, of which four were confirmed, his actual body count could be as high as 200. He took an unknown number of his victims from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, which was less than two miles away, to his "World's Fair" hotel. According to the 2007 Most Evil profile, Holmes father was a violent alcoholic. His mother a devout Methodist 

Mudgett claimed that, as a child, classmates forced him to view and touch a human skeleton after discovering his fear of the local doctor. The bullies initially brought him there to scare him, but there are speculatations that instead he was enthralled, and soon became obsessed with death.

  Holmes repeatedly changed builders during the construction of the Castle, so only he fully understood the design of the house. During the period of building construction in 1889, Holmes met Benjamin Pitezel, a carpenter with a past of lawbreaking, whom Holmes exploited as a stooge for his criminal schemes. A district attorney later described Pitezel as Holmes's "tool... his creature."

A Chicago newspaper ran these illustrations of Mudgett's "Murder Castle" upon his arrest. 

From the outside the building looked something like a Medieval fortress, complete with turret. On the inside it was a diabolical killing factory, a labyrinth of trap doors, secret compartments, and hidden stairways. The upper floors held soundproofed, airtight rooms with gas lines to asphyxiate victims. A Chute dropped to the basement where vats of acid stripped the flesh. The skeletons were sold to medical supply houses. Other corpses were dissected and offered to medical schools. The waste was either incinerated in a huge furnace or buried in pits of quicklime.

Quite dapper, isn't he? That's probably how he was able to lure young women into his employee, only to become victims later. He was also quite good at drumming up business for his "Hotel", and there where plenty of warm bodies to choose from during the Chicago World's Exposition of 1893.

However, as the Fair drew to a close, the Doc's business practices began to catch up with him. He fled the city with his new wife (while still married to his two previous wives) for a cross-country spree of unquestionable dealings and, of course, murder. A year later he was arrested for killing his henchman, Benjamin Pietzel, and three of Pietzel's children.

I found two things most amusing about his death at the gallows; it took him 15 minutes to die after the snap of the rope, and he somehow swindled whomever, to bury him 10 feet deep in a coffin encased in cement.

See, Herman W. Mudgett had a nightmare; being laid out on a dissecting table somewhere, heck, anywhere. Karma's a bitch, right?

Oh, damn, my muse is poking me again!



  1. I read once he had plans for a second castle to be built on the land in Fort Worth he swindeld from the Williams sisters. And I THINK it may have been put into construction but whether it was or nt I dunno for sure.

    1. I'll have to research that, but will probably not write a novella for my Dark and deadly series anytime soon. This is the 'Hotel' in this years American Horror Story television series. Who knew? Lol thanks for the visit and the comment.