Elizabeth Bathory, a countess in Hungary, was born into considerable privilege and royal blood. She got married to her husband who was a knight. Frequently, the military would deploy him on the frontlines in the war against the Ottoman empire. In 1604, Bathory’s husband died and she became a widow at age 44.
Soon after his death, Elizabeth Bathory would lure serfs to her castle with the promise of improving their finances and cruelly tortured them. The legend says she also bathed in their blood, but I am not sure if this was metaphorical or if she really bathed in the blood of young virgins.
After years of cruelty, the Hapsburg monarchy finally sent an investigator to her fiefdom. Of course, there was the quest for political power and the Hapsburg monarchy saw Bathory as a threat. Also, Bathory held leases on aristocratic lands. Aristocrats, who didn’t particularly care about the serfs, used their plight because they were looking for a way to get those debts cancelled. Nonetheless, the sheer number of villagers who testified makes me believe that she was indeed very cruel to her servants. Eventually, the investigator ordered her arrest and she was imprisoned for the rest of her life.
400 years Later
We hear that of one Jeffrey Epstein. A billionaire with incredible power and connections who preyed upon young powerless girls with impunity.
Virginia Roberts was either fifteen or sixteen when she began working in Mar-a-Lago, the famous resort owned by the President. Her father was a day laborer in Mar-a-Lago. According to her testimony, she had already experienced periods of homelessness. Her family was struggling to get by, she hadn’t finished her GED yet, and she was trying to study for it.
Roughly two or three weeks after she took up a job at Mar-a-Lago, the heir to the British Newspaper throne, Ghislaine Maxwell ,approached Virginia with a job offer saying she knew someone was looking for a traveling masseuse.
Virginia responded with,"I don’t have any training or credentials.”
To which Ghislaine responded, “If the guy likes you, you know, it will work out for you. You'll travel. You'll make good money. You'll be educated and you'l finally get accredited one day.”
Of course, Virginia didn’t realize that she would be forced to engage in lewd acts with Epstein, and be forced to pleasure his wealthy friends. However, she did make enough money to get her own apartment and pay rent. According to her-then boyfriend, Virginia twice tried to quit. With minimum wage not being a living wage, she was unable to make ends meet and she was forced to continue.
Epstein’s money was able to buy him many things that kept his victims dependent on him. For example, when Virginia’s family had some legal trouble, Epstein called the Palm Beach police and made it go away. More curiously, it seems Epstein was able to fly 100s of girls all across the globe, passing country to country, without raising any red flags from any passport controls. No one asked him why minor girls were traveling with him or whether he had permission from the girls’ parents to take them abroad.
If you look at the legends of the vampires, it is always a noble or a royal who had serfs under their tenement. For example, Serbia had a “vampire scare” in the 1700s. Petar Blagojević, was a Serbian Knight whose family owned a large estate. He went off to fight in the front lines. When he came back, he was accused of murdering 9 girls in the village.
Catalina Rios y Lisperguer, a Chilean landowner from the 1600s. Records do show that Rios y Lisperguer tortured her subordinates cruelly. She even killed her own father.
Just like Epstein and Elizabeth Bathory, Rios y Lisperguer used her obscene wealth to avoid justice. She even donated a large portion of her estate to the Catholic Church to avoid legal trouble. Eventually, after decades of cruelty, Rios y Lispergeur was finally arrested and died before she had a trial.
Vampires, in a way, through their legends betray a truth about an exploitive economy. The serfs worked hard day and night for the estate. They received little compensation and their conditions were so ghastly, that indeed, the noble sucked their life blood to maintain their wealth. On top of that, many of these nobles were outwardly cruel and could buy their way out of consequences, which could explain why it is so hard to kill a vampire.
Abuse of wealth and power has been going on as long as humans have had disparate wealth and power. We may dismiss these stories as myths and legends from superstitious peasants of yesteryear. But, we ought to take it seriously to understand what these legends meant to communicate: We are blind to the vampires in our society. We don’t see their reflection, despite touching everything from our food, schools, work and healthcare. Their wealth gives them the ability to avoid any consequences, so they keep reanimating repeatedly.
Addendum: I can’t believe I forgot to include Peter Thiel and his start-up Ambrosia which uses blood of young people.
To the reader: Let me hear your opinion on my analysis. Normally, I do try to stick to pure historic fact, but this one seemed to be ripe for understanding and analyzing historic fact along with folkloric myth.