Even though it sometimes seems that the 24-hour news cycle is fed primarily by grim stories of violence and the ugly side of human nature, we know that such behavior did not start the moment CNN took to the air. There have been sick individuals who have been committing awful acts against those around them since people first came in contact with one another. Jack the Ripper managed to do some heinous acts before the days of the internet. And if you go back in time even further, you will find someone who still holds the record for number of murders committed by a woman.
Countess Elizabeth Bathory lived four hundred years ago as a noblewoman and ruler over a part of Slovenia. In addition to her work in governance, following the death of her husband she apparently had a mental breakdown and went on to torture and kill somewhere between 100 and 650 girls from surrounding villages. (I would guess there were some psychological issues at play prior to her husband’s death.)
It is unclear why Bathory focused her evil acts on girls and young women, but the rumor is she believed that she could maintain youthful-looking skin by bathing in the blood of virgin girls.
The countess was never convicted of her crimes, even though the servants who helped her were tortured and burned at the stake, but she was walled into her castle and forced to live out her days in isolation.
When we watch the nightly news and see report after report of violence taking place across the globe, it is easy to think the world is a more evil and dangerous place than ever before. But history shows us that serial killers and torture and depravity are, sadly, nothing new.
What do you think? Is the world more violent and filled with people intending evil than in previous generations, or are we just more aware of these events as technology shrinks our world?
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