Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed (17 August 1560 – 21 August 1614) was a countess from the renowned Báthory family. She is remembered in modern times perhaps the most prolific female serial killer in history. Purportedly, Báthory tortured and killed hundreds of girls and young women so that she could bathe in the blood of virgins to preserve her own youth. However evidence of her alleged crimes is scant and her guilt is debated. She was never convicted of any crimes (although some of her servants were), but she was imprisoned in the Csejte Castle, where she remained bricked in a set of rooms until her death four years later. Nevertheless, her reputation as the "Blood Countess" persists.
Elizabeth Báthory (or Erzsebet) died less than four years before the Thirty Years' War broke out. All accounts of her murders, including bathing in the blood of her victims, were true. Among her victims were serfs Barbola Harczy and her two sisters. Only Barbola survived Báthory's depredations. Barbola and her father fled to Bohemia during Elizabeth Báthory's arrest. Elizabeth was survived by her son, Pal Nadasdy, who was far more anxious to rehabilitate his family's good name than admit wrong doing.