On this day, Dec. 26, in 1610, the bloodthirsty crimes of Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory were uncovered.
Bathory, who was born in Transylvania, is possibly the most prolific serial killer in history and has been compared to Vlad the Impaler of Wallachia, on whom the fictional Count Dracula is partly based.
Bathory stuck needles under the fingernails of servant girls, bit off flesh from her victims, forced one girl to cook and eat her own flesh. Bathory believed that human blood would rejuvenate her skin.
After members of the royal class began to disappear, King Matthias II ordered an investigation.
Bathory was suspected of hundreds of killings and found guilty in the death of 80 people. The "Blood Countess" was imprisoned in a bricked-in room and died four years later.
- Scott McCabe