Kevin kindly invited me over to tell you about one of the evil reincarnated ghosts who features in my new supernatural novel, Through the Nethergate. Following the publication of two of my short stories in Dark Visions, an anthology of horror stories, edited by Dan Alatorre, in October 2018 and three of my short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery short stories, edited by Stephen Bentley, in June this year, I decided to write a supernatural novel.
The character of Countess Elizabeth Báthory is based on the real Countess who is believed to have inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
This post shares a bit about her real life story and an extract featuring her character from Through the Nethergate.
Thank you, Kevin, for hosting me today.
Who was Elizabeth Báthory?
Elizabeth Báthory has been described as the most vicious female serial killer in history.
Born in 1560, Elizabeth was a member of the Báthory family who ruled Transylvania as a virtually independent principality within the kingdom of Hungary.
Elizabeth grew up with torture and violence and, for a young age, she witnessed her father’s officers torture the peasantry that lived near her family’s estate. Most historical analysis of the Countess include her witnessing a captured thief being sewn into the stomach of a dying horse and left to perish. She is reported to have suffered from fits and outbursts of rage and possibly epilepsy.
At the young age of eleven or twelve, she was betrothed to Hungarian aristocrat, Ferenc Nádasdy. A few years later, it is believed that Elizabeth had a baby with a lower-order lover. Nádasdy is said to have had him castrated and then torn to pieces by dogs. Elizabeth’s illegitimate daughter was hidden away, and Elizabeth married Ferenc in 1575 when she was 14 years old.
The couple lived in the Nádasdy castles in Hungary at Sárvár and Csetje. Her husband was often away in his capacity as a soldier and it is generally believed that many of Elizabeth’s crimes were committed during his absences.
Elizabeth Báthory and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of young women between 1585 and 1609. The highest number of murders cited was 650 but this was never proved.
The stories of her sadistic serial murders were verified by the testimony of more than 300 witnesses and survivors as well as physical evidence and the presence of horribly mutilated dead, dying and imprisoned girls found in her castle at Čachtice when it was raided by György Thurzó, the Palatine of Hungary. Elizabeth’s torture methods included sever beatings, burning or mutilation of hands, biting the flesh off the faces, arms and other body parts, freezing or starving to death. The girls were also burned with hot tongs and then placed in freezing cold water. They are also covered in honey and live ants.
Despite the evidence against, Elizabeth, her family’s importance protected her from execution. She was imprisoned after her trials at her castle and held in solitary confinement in a windowless room until her death in 1614.
Connection between Elizabeth Báthory and Through the Nethergate
Elizabeth Báthory is one of the main evil characters in Through the Nethergate. She is reincarnated as a result of Margaret’s powers and has to face the ghosts of the girls she murdered in order to entice them into become part of an army of dark incarnates.
An extract from Through the Nethergate
“From a distance the ghosts looked like delicate waifs, but as the occupants of the coach ventured closer, Margaret could see the evil and twisted expressions on their darkly beautiful faces and splatters of blackness down the fronts of their thin white gowns. The moonlight itself seemed to quiver at the horrible sight and take refuge behind a mass of clouds. These girls were nothing like the children in Nabs Wood who had died unexpected but natural deaths.
These girls had suffered ghastly deaths at the hands of the countess. Margaret knew that they must have turned away from the White Light of redemption at the time of their deaths. By choosing to follow the path of revenge they had trapped their spirits in the twilight zone between Heaven and the Underworld as had the other ghosts Margaret had encountered. They were destined to wander the mountains and the ruins for all eternity, lamenting their past suffering and with nothing to look forward to other than this empty life of a ghost. They were deprived of the physical pleasures of a human and the spiritual pleasures of a soul. They were the lost. Somehow, for many of these ghosts, their experiences had turned them evil.
The effect of Margaret’s presence on the ghosts became noticeable as they took on a more tangible form, visually solidifying in the pale light. The number of girls was frightening, a couple of hundred, if not more. They were all damaged and some of their wounds cracked open and bled as they took on a physical form.
Stab wounds, cuts and burns were visible on exposed patches of skin and Margaret could see bite marks on some of their hands, faces and arms. Rows of stitches indicated that some of their lips were sewn shut. Sickness stirred in her stomach like a frightened bird.”
About Roberta Eaton Cheadle
I am an author who has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my young adult and adult writing, these will be published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first young adult supernatural novel, Through the Nethergate, has recently been published.
I have two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre as well as three short stories published in Death Among Us, a collection of murder mystery short stories by 10 different authors and edited by Stephen Bentley. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.
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Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.
In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.
With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.