Astonishing Legends

Hosted ByScott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess

The world is more mysterious than most people are comfortable imagining. We cross paths with the mystical from time to time and may not even notice it. If we do, we quickly return to our usually mundane daily existence. But what if we not only acknowledged the unknown, we investigated it and spoke with those in the know? That’s what co-hosts Scott & Forrest, and their producer Tess Pfeifle do at Astonishing Legends. Over 85 million downloads and hundreds of thousands of listeners have shown that exploring and embracing the wonders of our world can be not only enlightening but exciting. Welcome to Astonishing Legends!

Blood Báthory Part 1

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Countess Elizabeth Báthory was a Hungarian noblewoman and one of the most wealthy and powerful aristocrats in eastern Europe during the late 16th and early 17th centuries.  Together with her husband Ferenc Nádasdy, a military hero known as the Black Knight of Hungary, Báthory held numerous estates, lands, and villages.  She also currently holds the Guinness World Record for being the most prolific female serial killer and most prolific murderer of the western world.  Báthory had been accused in the testimonies of over 300 witnesses and survivors of some of the most horrific tortures and murders imaginable before she was arrested, even by medieval standards.  Her victims were her maidservants and lesser noble protégés, all girls, with some as young as ten years old.  Years after her death, a legend had formed that Báthory had even routinely bathed in and possibly drank the blood of her virginal victims, believing that the pureblood had retained her beauty.  Some claim that Báthory’s story became the partial inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, along with her more famous sanguinary neighbor, Vlad the Impaler.  But were any of the accusations against Báthory true?  Was she merely a victim herself of a political and gender-biased conspiracy aimed at confiscating her riches and properties?  As we’ll learn once again, the truth behind our legends is often shrouded in a fog of conjecture misting through a forest of unknowns.  Join us tonight as we examine the case of Elizabeth Báthory who, regardless of her actual guilt or innocence, will be forever known as, “The Blood Countess.”

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