I've been asked this question numerous times before and I've answered differently every time. At one time I would say Mozart and at another I would answer Leonardo da Vinci. I still want to meet them but sometimes priorities change. As does life. Today if I was asked, ""If you could meet one famous person, dead or alive, who would it be?" Today my answer is Erzsébet Báthory.
Countess Báthory was a 16th century Hungarian noble infamous for allegedly torturing and murdering over 650 girls. When I found out that piece of trivia I just wanted to know more. Who is this woman? I suppose it peaked a strange curiosity. I was in disbelief. How could one woman have access to that many women and be capable of killing them?
In some circles she is known as The Blood Countess. She has been written about and talked about over and over. People have been obsessed with her for hundreds of years. She is a fascinating case, murderer or not. What's even stranger is what people believe she did with the girls. For centuries there has been a myth that Countess Báthory bathed in the blood of virgins in order to keep herself looking young.
Little wonder why there have been so many people intrigued with her life. Yet after countless hours of research I discovered many interesting facts often ignored or dismissed. There is no proof she ever killed anyone. There is a lot of speculation from peasants and some finger pointing at a trial from "witnesses", but no proof. Even if you relied upon the witness testimonies, they were taken under duress and only named 32 possible girls. In fact, there's something else entirely that's important to consider. The Countess was incredibly wealthy. She had multiple estates and wielded more power than any noble, even the King. Her husband and her were of the highest status, he leading men into battle and her the toast of Vienna.
King Mátyás II owed the Countess money. After her husband died, she needed the money since there was no longer a steady income from pillaging. She repeatedly asked the King through letters and appearing in the royal court. He denied her every time. Eventually she was forced to sell some of her estates. Guess who purchased them? The King. Suddenly he had money to burn. Another key piece of evidence to know, the King asked nobles loyal to him to help usurp the Countess of her power and her land. He was plotting behind her back.
Why would I want to meet this woman? I would want to find out the truth once and for all. Was she really a murderous narcissist or did the King set her up to be destroyed? Unless time travel is an option, we'll just never know.
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