It gets gory here. The young women were beaten, starved and abused with needles and sometimes, sexually abused. Two court officials testified that Elizabeth sometimes tortured the girls herself, changing their dresses when they became blood soaked and starting again.
In the trial, there was the argument that the Countess was innocent and this was a political conspiracy, but that was not a popular view. In the end, Elizabeth’s servants, who were said to have helped with the murders, were burned at the stake. Elizabeth herself was sentenced to house arrest in a small room with only slit for food and drink. She died four years later.
Elizabeth’s story become a huge part of lore, usually meant to impart some lesson about the vanity of women. And maybe that is why I like reading about the real Elizabeth. Maybe she did believe that bathing in the blood of virgins kept her young, but it wasn't vanity that drove her to that. It seems more likely that mental illness did. (Which you may imagining me saying as I check my face in a compact.)