How does someone kill 650 women and then bathe in their blood? I mean, I understand how Elizabeth Bathory did it, though accounts vary. But I am baffled as to how – psychologically – one becomes the most prolific female serial killer in history.
Sometimes friends ask me how I decide which Shelved Dolls to do, and generally I say, “I roll how I want to roll, just like an armadillo.” Coincidentally, that is how armadillos escape tricky situations! By rolling!
But, if pressed, I’d say that it has to be a woman who is dead, who has an interesting life story, and was known for her fashion sense of beauty during her time. We stretch it sometimes, like with Dorothy Parker. Still. Weird fashion or beauty treatments are a plus.
“So,” they say, “are you going to do Elizabeth Bathory?”
I guess bathing in virgin blood was one of those beauty treatments that everyone remembers.
And so, since I started this series, I’ve been saying, “No, I have very little interest in profiling what I regard to be the evilest woman in history.”
But then I thought: how can you resist studying the evilest woman in history?
My main hesitation is that no reader would be able to relate to someone who seems to go so far beyond the realm of your garden variety psychopath.
However, I think it’s actually really interesting to understand the circumstances that, in part, caused her to commit such atrocities. Basically, I think we should try to do the – if not impossible – at least very, very difficult thing, here. We should see if we can even begin to understand where Elizabeth Bathory was coming from. And I promise I don’t mean that in a glib “who isn’t afraid of wrinkles!?” kind of way.