Descended from one of the most ancient aristocratic families of Europe, Erzsébet Báthory bore the psychotic aberrations of centuries of intermarriage. From adolescence she indulged in sadistic lesbian fantasies, where only the spilling of a woman's blood could satisfy her urges. By middle age, she had regressed to a mirror-fixated state of pathological necro-sadism involving witchcraft, torture, blood-drinking, cannibalism and, inevitably, wholesale slaughter.
These years, at the end of the 16th century, witnessed a reign of cruelty unsurpassed in the annals of mass murder, with the Countess' depredations on the virgin girls of the Carpathians leading to some 650 deaths. Her many castles were equipped with chambers where she would hideously torture and mutilate her victims, becoming a murder factory where hundreds of girls were killed and processed for the ultimate, youth-giving ritual: the bath of blood.
The Bloody Countess is Valentine Penrose's true, disturbing case history of a female psychopath, a chillingly lyrical account beautifully translated by Alexander Trocchi (author of Cain's Book), which has an unequalled power to evoke the decadent melancholy of doomed, delinquent aristocracy in a dark age of superstition
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About the Author
Alexander Trocchi (30 July 1925 - 15 April 1984) was a British novelist and heroin addict. He wrote several erotic novels for the Olympia Press, and was also considered amongst the few British Beat writers.
Read an Excerpt
This is the story of the Countess who bathed in the blood of girls. An authentic story, hitherto unpublished in its horrific entirety anywhere. The documents concerning it are extremely difficult to get hold of, for it all happened more than three and a half centuries ago in a savage Hungary which today lies behind the Iron Curtain. Relevant documents passed from one archive to another. No one knows what has happened since 1956 to the Hungarian archives which were kept in Budapest Castle. Where would one go to see the sombre portrait with the haggard eyes of the very beautiful Erzsébet Báthory? For the last two hundred years Csejthe Castle has lain in ruins on its rocky spur of the Lesser Carpathians on the frontier of Slovalda. But the ghost and the vampires remain, and so does that earthenware pot which used to contain the blood which was about to be poured over the shoulders of the Countess; that is still there in a comer of the cellars.
The Beast of Csejthe, the bloody Countess, still shrieks in the night, in that very room whose door and windows were, and still remain, walled up.
There is every indication that she was a female Gilles de Rais; even the hasty trial in which, out of respect for a name illustrious since the birth of Hungary, and because of those services rendered by her family to the Hapsburgs, so many facts were suppressed. It was even judged imprudent to interrogate her personally.
The minutes of the trial were discovered in 1729 by a Jesuit Father, Laszló Turáczi, who wrote a monograph on Erzsébet Báthory, to be published in 1744. He gathered together a story that no one in the region of Csejthe has ever forgotten.
Moreover, Turáczi had access to documents first preserved in the archives of the Court of Vienna and then sent to Budapest, those relating to the interrogation conducted by the Palatine Thurzó at Bicse (then Bittsere) at the very beginning of January 1611, and was thus able to take into account the reasons adduced as well as the order for the execution of the Countess's accomplices, dated 7th January.
Until the beginning of the twentieth century, this work in Latin was our only reference. Then, in 1908, a writer, himself born in Csejthe (now Csachtitz, six kilometres to the south-west of Vág-Ujhely... Neustadt), Dezsó Rexa, who had been a pupil at the local school and had played as a child around the haunted ruins, again took up the story of Erzsébet Báthory; .........