The Countess Elizabeth Báthory-- AKA The Blood Countess-- is the inspiration for most of our favorite, fictional villainesses. The Countess spent her days admiring her legendary looks in a mirror, changing into new gowns and bathing in the blood of virgins.(Okay that last part is lore. But it did inspire some greats like Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty", the Evil Queen from "Snow White", and the witch in "Return to Oz.")
Elizabeth grew up in a royal family in a castle in Hungary. Wiki also included some info about how her cousin was an evil prince in Transylvania. Wow. I don’t know that I believe any of this.
When Elizabeth was 15 she married Count Ferencz Nadasdy, who took Elizabeth’s name because, at the time, her family was considered more noble than his. While her husband was away at war, Elizabeth managed the castle and practiced witchcraft. As the legend goes, she carried around a parchment made of the hide of a baby. Also she could read and write in four languages and was, by all accounts, an incredibly educated woman.
The Investigations of Elizabeth started in 1610. In a handful of years that followed over 300 witnesses testified that Elizabeth brutally murdered many adolescent girls from the town. According to testimony, some were peasant girls who had been lured into the castle by being offered jobs. Others came from noble classes and had been brought via their families to Elizabeth for etiquette lessons. Others were said to have been abducted. Elizabeth allegedly had many people working for her, bringing the young women. The number of women has been estimated to be as high as 650 girls.