Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed (7 August 1560 – 21 August 1614) was a Hungarian noblewoman and a serial killer. She has been labelled by Guinness World Records as the most prolific female murderer.
Báthory and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of young women. The highest number of victims cited during Báthory’s trial was 650.
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.
She is often compared with Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia.
According to all testimony, Báthory’s initial victims were the adolescent daughters of local peasants, many of whom were lured to castle by offers of well paid work as maidservants in the castle.
Abductions were said to have occurred as well. The atrocities described most consistently included severe beatings, burning or mutilation of hands, biting the flesh off the faces, arms and other body parts, freezing or starving to death. The use of needles was also mentioned by the collaborators in court.
According to the testimony of the defendants, Elizabeth Báthory tortured and killed her victims not only at Csejte Castle (her wedding gift from her husband) but also on her properties in Sárvár, Németkeresztúr, Pozsony (today Bratislava), and Vienna, and elsewhere.
She was imprisoned in December 1609 within Csetje Castle, Upper Hungary (now in Slovakia), and held in solitary confinement in a room whose windows were walled up where she remained imprisoned until her death five years later.