This beautiful piece of Oriental jewellery is known as the “Bathory Bracelet”. It supposedly belonged to the Bloody Countess herself, Elizabeth Bathory; a Hungarian noblewoman who had her reign of terror from 1578 to her trial in 1608. Her crimes are famous in history for their violence and cruelty, a variety of sadistic tortures and punishments inflicted on young women from throughout her province. It is even rumoured she bathed in the blood of virgins in order to retain her youthful looks and beauty. However, she is not the main focus of our story, for this bracelet was a gift from her close friend and criminal accomplice, Anna Darvulia.
Very little seems to be known about Anna’s past. After the death of Elizabeth’s husband Ferencz Nasady, she was taken under the Countesses’ wing and quickly became the most active sadist in her group. Elizabeth had already invented a number of punishments for her servants, but it is widely accepted that it was under Anna’s tutelage that her tendencies became ever more evil. Indeed, it is rumoured that Darvulia was the one to reveal the secret of the blood-bath’s rejuvenating powers to Elizabeth. She has been cast as a merciless killer, a powerful witch and even Elizabeth’s secret lover in the various histories of the event (not an entirely far-fetched theory; Bathory was already rumoured to be open about her sexuality and her aunt, who influenced her growth a lot, was known to be bisexual).
But this bracelet may reveal more. It has a date on it marked 1608, one year before Darvulia supposedly died of a stroke. It is inscribe on the underside with “Mea Puer, Cambion” which translates as “My Child”. A Cambion is generally considered a half-human, half-demon offspring, generally produced due to the seductive actions of a Succubus. The word Cambion is highlighted in red. According to her investigator, Gyorgy Thurzo, this was the bracelet worn whilst Elizabeth was bathing and thus the highlighting may be a result of the text somehow retaining the blood it was submerged in. What Darvulia’s relationship with the Succuba could be is unknown, but her mysterious disappearance once she gave the bracelet away is strangely unnerving. Perhaps she knew something about Elizabeth’s parentage that even Bathory herself did not know. Bathory had the piece confiscated from her when she was imprisoned in 1611. She died four years later, though when exactly it happened is unknown, and it is still rumoured today her death was a result of her losing her ill-gotten vitality. Perhaps the causes run deeper.