Wednesday, September 1, 2010


   Lady Bathory, "Countess of Blood", the first female vampire, may have been the bloodiest of all.  She married into nobility and was the distant cousin of the vampire that started it all in modern time, Vlad Dracula, "Vlad the Impaler".  She lived a life of leisure and peace in her Hungarian castle home.
   That is until, so they say, a servant girl spilled a drop of her own blood upon her while bathing and grooming her.  The countess noticed how the young servants blood made her skin seem rejuvenated and fell in love with its hypnotic effect.
   Soon the countess was luring more and more local females to her mountain perch to be sacrificed to her.  When the local flesh started drying up, the countess started a so-called "finishing school" for daughters of nobility and continued her reign of terror until she was caught in the early 1600's.
   She devised many ways to make this harvest of blood more painful and efficient, she did this by including tools that pulled chunks of flesh from victims that were hoisted high above her bath.  She did this all with the help of her four loyal servants.
   Though there is some confusion on why she killed the girls, it was rumored that they were all killed so that the countess could bathe in their blood.  It was said that the town's people hated her so much that she seldom left the confines of the castle.
   When brought to trial most of her co-conspirators were found guilty and sentenced to death but Elizabeth because of her nobility was allowed to escape the executioner.  She died a couple of years later.  It is rumored that she was allowed to live out her life in the castle with no sunlight or mirrors and it was boarded up with only a small slot where food was placed once a day.
   Tales of the pealing of flesh from live victims and the feasts of blood have added much to folklore, movies and dime novels for centuries, how much if it is true is hard to say.
   Much of this tale is shrouded in folklore and fact, so details are hard to uncover, it is best just to say that the lady was truly depraved.


   She adds that it is also very likely that hemlock might have been used by oldern day witches, who might have referred to it as persil,  which by lots of other practitioners is often erroneously taken to be parsley.  But even so, they'd already be pretty scarily close to creating rather poisonous substances.  "Aconite was one of the best-known poisons in ancient times; indeed it was so extensively used by professional poisoners in
Rome during the Empire that a law was passed making its cultivation a capital offence.  Aconite root contains about .4 percent of alkaloid and one-fifteenth of a grain of the alkaloid is a lethal dose:, say Murray.
   If adiministered, the drug is not immediately similar to recreational drugs, yet it slows you heartbeat or makes it irregular and can kill you.  If belladonna is added however, the effects are likely to be more druglike, creating delirious consciousness.  Far most poisonous of the ingredients is hemlock, which contains alkaloid, only an imperceptible amount of which causes irrvocable death.
   There are other explanations too for the flying sensations experienced by people who were more often than not identified by others as witches, say Powell.  Before 1750, a peasant's diet consisted mainly of dark bread, which when moulded often lead to ergot poisoning.  "Bread with just a 2%  content of ergot, is pink and can cause ergot poisoning, which leads to hallucinations and muscle cramps, dry gangrene, and even death", say Powell.  It is a known fact that you can even create LSD from ergot.
   A man in London used several of the herbal ingredients and later wrote this of his experience "The unguent was rubbed on the pulse points of the hands and feet, after 5 minutes, a great feeling of tiredness and coldness overcame me and I lay down, my breathing slowed and I began to feel a bit panicky that I would die, however I convinced myself that if I did go into respiratory collapse or heart failure the instructions I had left with a friend who was attending me would enable him to provide artificial respiration and call an ambulance.  My understanding of time became impossible so I could not decide how long my experiences lasted.  Eventually I stopped being fearful and my mind seemed to be becoming detached from its normal state, there was still a feeling of coldness then I seemed to be floating upwards.  I found myself soaring above the rooftops of London and my body was no longer human it had become amorphous like a giant squid, with its tentacles streaming behind it.  With a little concentration I could change my body into virtually any shape I so desired.  I seemed to be heading West and eventually came to a hillside, there I met a number of other people who informed me that the meeting place was not on this world but in the stars.  I immediately shot into the sky towards a very bright star, I was not alone and as I flew towards the star many others were with me, our bodies seemed to melt into each other and I remember intense sensations of pleasure running up and down my body, which at the same was not my body but everyones, it's difficult to describe.  Eventually I came to an enormous hall and walked upon its cold floor towards a flight of steps, either side of the hall were enormous pillars that stretched up so high I could not see a ceiling.  As I came to the top of the steps I saw a hooded figure of a woman, she looked at me though her face was hidden by the hood.  I suddenly felt an incredible sensation of power emanating from the woman and I became very frightened.  The woman began to remove her hood and through fear I averted my gaze, a voice in my head told me to look up, I did and the face of the woman shone so brightly it hurt, not just my eyes but my whole body.  I then remember a sensation of falling and cannot remember anything else".
   The use of aconite might have also have had similar effects.  Irregular action of the heart in a person falling asleep produces the well-known sensation of suddenly falling through space.  If it was then combined with a delirifacient like belladonna the sensation of flying could have been very possible.