THE ATTACK OF THE REd

White and Red.

White-

The color of purity,

The color of death,

The color of peace,

The color of nobility,

The color of the absolute monarchy that oppressed, conquered, nurtured and protected people of a primitive race that were children of ice and snow.

White and Red.

Red-

The color of blood,

The color of war,

The color of love,

The color of hunger,

The color of the change that brought a tradition of centuries to its knees and stained its existence forever.

White and Red.

Red and White.

Old and New.

Contradiction, overlapping.

“we’ve got to move into the modern world,

We’ve got to protect ourselves from the epidemic of evil.

The evil shall not penetrate”

Faces blur.

Bodies pile.

Screams and chants echo-

Who are you?

What is your cause?

Where does your loyalty lie?

The Tsar is the Father.

The Tsar is the leader-

Eternal loyalty now questioned,

After centuries of blind faith

France and an unknown continent inspired,

A new empire born,

They screamed out questions-

Questions that were never asked.

Questions that had no answer.

Faces fade,

Words echo,

The dead come and the dead go

Where are the answers?

Who asked the questions?

Confusion is the permanent state of mind.

Determined not to relieve the bloody change of an allied empire,

They’re on their knees.

Children slaughtered in a misunderstood war-

Fight for your nation,

Fight for your Tsar,

Fight for your pride.

Children stolen,

A generation murdered

Where did the time go?

Confusion is the permanent state of mind.

I am a socialist.

I am a communist.

I am a royalist.

Where does your allegiance lie?

Kill the revolution.

Silence the change.

Save the Tsar.

Kill the Tsar.

Change is good.

Silence his supporters.

Inequality is bad.

Promises-

Hollow words-

Equality for all

Food for all

Clothing and shelter

Equal pay

Rewards are tempting.

Stop the war.

Stop the systematic slaughter.

Run away.

Save your children.

Oppression shall not prevail.

New world, New order, New society.

White and Red

Red and White

Old and New

Who are you?

What is your cause?

Where does your loyalty lie?

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Part Three: Palinoia

Its full.

Its all filled.

Traditionally, Frejya and the Valkyrie picked up the bravest off the battlefield and escorted them to Valhalla.

The ancien regime died with the French revolution.

When the bullet rips through the ripe flesh of the adolescent teenager who was cheated by society and forced into war,

There I s no redemption.

“Keep calm and carry on,”

That’s all you can do.

There is no escape.

Societies destroyed, families shattered, shards of bone and severed limbs.

The soil is scarlet. Crimson. Red basically.

When the bullet rips through the muscle of the beating heart into two, that’s it.

Death overcomes you.

Don’t fear her. Let her take you. She makes life so much sweeter.

It’s a culture dedicated to warfare.

After all, torture is a form of communication.

This is not bravery. It is insanity.

Valhalla is for the brave, not for the insane.

The ancien regime died with the Russian Revolution.

Heaven died when humanity was born.

Juana La Loca

Mental illness is defined most commonly as ‘a condition which causes serious disorder in a person’s behavior or thinking’. Insanity is the point when the existing mental illness in a patient reaches an extreme level. Most mental illnesses are inherited. Just because they do not bluntly appear at birth and are developed at a later age does not mean that they never existed before. It simply means that the existing condition was dormant, just as several volcanoes peppered along the earth’s crust are. Sometimes, mental illnesses are openly visible but their symptoms are severely misinterpreted for normality. For example, extreme love of solitude at times can be interpreted for royal dignity which, is a trait that is very much acceptable and desired in a royal household. Or sometimes, the very thought of having a mental illness might be bluntly ignored by those around you because it is an absolutely unacceptable thing to suffer from. Thus, the symptoms might be bluntly ignored, and a state of delusion might be created. For example, in Tennessee William’s ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, Blanche DuBois is very evidently suffering from a mental breakdown, which, is simply ignored by her sister and her brother-in-law, along with everyone that she interacts with. This is mainly because she is absolutely unwilling to accept that she suffers from a mental illness herself and does her best to create a façade of normality, which eventually does fail as she sinks far too deep in her own delusional world, unable and absolutely refusing to accept reality no matter what.

If this is the case for a normal individual in the 20th, supposedly ‘modern’ century, it was a million times worse for the heiress to one of the most important thrones in Europe in the 15th century. Simply accepting that there was something wrong with you at that time was absolutely unacceptable because it could possibly threaten the legitimacy of the throne itself. While, in this case, it would be very favourable to most, it could have caused absolute outrage. Moreover, with the context of the middle ages and the fact that it was Isabella I of Castile that introduced the infamous Spanish Inquisition in Spain, actually admitting that even a slight possibility of mental illness did exist would result in absolute death or torture of ‘purification’ for both the victim as well as the one who diagnosed her. Thus, it was absolutely unacceptable to even suggest such a thing. Thus, the delusion of normality and the absolute ignorance of everything and anything else was a much safer route to take. As humanity tends to gravitate towards the easier and safer route, it is not all that surprising that many historical personas who did suffer from mental illnesses have been diagnosed in the present or the 20th century that actually allowed for the possibility of insanity as well as the gradual cure for it to exist.

Juana was born on November 6, 1479, as the second daughter of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. Their marriage had united Spain. As a child, she was a quiet soul, preferring quite clearly solitude and silence over the rather strenuous lifestyle of the imperial court as most royal would indulge themselves in. This however, was appreciated as it was interpreted by most as ‘royal dignity’. This also suited her rather intelligent and intellectual aura that she had developed from being taught rather well by the famous Italian humanists Antonio and Alessandro Gerardino. She was intelligent, serious, hardworking and pious and she read a lot of books.  She conversed fluently in Latin, danced gracefully and played clavichord and guitar. Thus, in many senses, she was the perfect princess but that is to be expected. After all, Queen Isabella I of Castile at the time was one of the most respected monarchs of Europe, well known for accepting nothing less than absolute perfection down to the smallest details. Off course, this extended to her own children, who, from a young age were specifically groomed to expand her own kingdom.

At the age of 16, she was betrothed to Philip “The Handsome” of Austria (1478-1506), only son of the Emperor Maximilian I. In 1496, after a rather dangerous journey on which she was accompanied by 22,000 people, Juana finally did arrive in the Low Countries, that the 18 year old Philip was already the ruler of. After a rather dangerous and strenuous month at sea, she finally disembarked, suffering from seasickness and a severe cold. Her to-be-husband was nowhere to be seen. Clearly he was not all that interested in meeting her and thus, she was greeted by his sister, Margret. But when they did finally meet, both sides experienced lust to such an extent that both ordered for the closest cleric and forced a ceremony and a day later, they were officially married in public. However, neither of them was taken by each other’s personality. They simply wanted to consummate the marriage as soon as possible and thus, in great haste, they were married. By all means, both of them could not have idealized their teenage years in any better way.

Both were far too careless to begin with and thus, it should not be a surprise at all that both suffered a rather unhappy life. However, Philip was attracted to her, acting upon his own carnal desires. Juana on the other hand, became absolutely infatuated with her husband, both for his cheerful, boyish personality, which would have been rather refreshing for her as she was used to her mother’s regime of frozen perfection. She was also infatuated with his physical appearance that she found rather appealing. She was not the only one though. One of Philip’s greatest pass times were chasing after the women in the Court. Therefore, his tall, athletic build as well as his long blonde hair would have been appealing to more than just a few. Interestingly enough, he was only nicknamed Philip ‘the handsome’ after his death, never once during his life. Philip had absolutely no intent on amending his philandering ways. However, Juana had inherited her mother’s perfectionist ways and expected a much more composed and scrutiny-free marriage. At this point itself, it is evident that their reckless wedding would cause both of them severe unhappiness till their death.

His flirtations set off her jealous rages, which would be a constant theme in their through the course of their married life, as well after his death. Philip was lazy and irresponsible, and he detested arguments. Juana was irritable, haughty, touchy, and moody. Often, she was depressed and suffered from nervous fainting fits. Each time they had quarreled, Philip punished his wife by avoiding her bedroom for days. Juana would then cry the whole night and bump up against the wall. Still, despite Philip’s flagrant unfaithfulness and the way he was treating her, Juana remained madly in love with him. It was quite clearly an unhealthy relationship.

Juana gave birth to Eleanor in 1498 and Charles in 1500. The heir’s birth was celebrated with great splendor and after 12 days he was baptized. In the period 1497-1500, Juana’s elder siblings, Juan and Isabel, and Isabel’s baby son, all died, leaving Juana as heiress of Spain, Mexico, Peru and the Caribbean islands. Therefore, Juana and Philip were requested to visit Spain. On arrival in Toledo, Juana threw herself in her father’s arms, and hugged and kissed him. Queen Isabella I, however, was too devout and too self-disciplined to feel much sympathy for either her overwrought daughter or her pleasure-loving son-in-law. Due to her mother’s chilly treatment, Juana’s nervousness increased. Cheerful Philip found the grim court life in Spain both tedious and trying. The sequence of religious services seemed endless, and the summer heat blazed like a furnace. To his abhorrence, the Spaniards either kept their women hidden or used formidable chaperones. Philip got the measles, too. Once he was recovered he wanted to leave as soon as possible, but Juana was pregnant again. After a violent quarrel in December 1502, Philip left Juana behind. When she learned of it, she went berserk. Juana wanted to ride after him immediately, but her mother had her locked up in castle La Mota. Juana lapsed into brooding silences, knowing that Philip, back in Flanders, would surround himself with Austrian beauties. She refused to come back inside for 36 hours, despite the fact that it was freezing outside, demanding to follow him, her choices fuelled by her obvious irrationality. She ‘threw herself at the iron bars of the gates until exhaustion overcame her’ and even went as far as to threaten the bishop with life imprisonment and torture if he did not allow her to leave. When her mother did come to visit, Juana insulted her with a particularly foul language. At this point, she was clearly not within the realm of ‘normality’ which had been narrowly and sharply defined by the social convention of the time.

Naturally, when she did return to Flanders, the infamous incident of Juana cutting off Philip’s mistress’ hair, followed by a series of long quarrels which lead to her protests involving hunger strikes and then her infamous indulgences in love potions and sorceries under the influence of her maids followed. Disgusted, Phillip had the girls dismissed and had Juana confided to her room. Post this; their quarrels became more and more intense. It is reported that she would lunge at the people around her with a broom stick. Her descent into her supposed insanity had now begun clearly.

In 1504, Queen Isabella I of Castile officially died and that was the point when Juana’s life was thrown into absolute chaos as no longer there was any strong, demanding woman to dominate the men around her into acceptance. Amusingly, she had left the throne of Castile to Juana alone. As for Aragon, they would not accept a female ruler and thus, the throne returned to her father. However, the men around her were greedy, clearly not content with the fact that now she ruled over one of the most powerful empires of Europe. Phillip was not content in being King Consort. He simply had to rule as King of Spain but her worst betrayal came from her own father who asked the Spanish Treasurer in Flanders to read out his notes about her insanity to the Cortes. Worried, they proclaimed Ferdinand II of Aragon as curator. The problem was, her mother’s will allowed for Ferdinand to rule Castile if she was unwilling to do so or in her absence. However, for as long as Juana did rule, Ferdinand was not allowed to be the King of Castile. Overcome by greed, he chose to claim the throne for himself, regardless of his daughter’s existence and claim to it.

In 1505, Juana gave birth to a daughter, Mary and the following year in 1506, Philip and Juana set sail for Spain to claim her inheritance. Upon their arrival, Philip and Ferdinand used a mediator to negotiate an agreement for the government of Castile, without consulting Juana even the slightest. Naturally, she reacted furiously and they exploited this to make her seem far too incompetent to rule. The following month, Phillip came down with a fever and chills. Within a few days, he was unable to swallow and speak, all while he suffered from profound sweating. Pregnant again, Juana stayed by his side constantly and within 6 days; he was officially proclaimed to be dead. Several claim that it was Ferdinand II of Aragon that had him poisoned as a way to appease his daughter who was engaged in constant and violent quarrels with her husband prior that. Another thought expresses that Ferdinand did poison his son-in-law but only to reduce a future competitor to the throne and this is the thought that I am inclined to agree with, especially considering he really was not too bothered about his daughter’s very existence if he could not accept her to be the future ruler of Castile.

Whatever happened, most would expect her to be much happier as one major threat to her throne had vanished. Moreover, she would not have to be thrown into violent arguments with him any longer. Most would expect her to be rejoicing at her long awaited solitude. But that never happened. In fact, quite the opposite happened. After his death, Juana gave birth to a girl child who she named Catalina after her sister. Heavily pregnant and grief-stricken, Juana clearly lost her clear thought process. While accompanying his body to Granada for the burial, she demanded that the casket be opened. She demanded that they travel at night to avoid women being tempted by his remains. It is reported that she would stroke his remains and it is unclear as to how much of this is actually true and how much was simply fabricated by her father who used her behavior as the perfect opportunity to steal Castile from her and locked her up in a castle, where she would remain until her death. If she was not insane before, she would clearly be insane now and off course, insanity did run and quite evidently that too in her blood, both Hapsburg and Trastamara. Her maternal grandmother, Queen Isabel of Spain was considered to be insane and was as well, locked up for years. Here, Juana is said to have developed a series of mental illnesses such as Manic-depression or bi-polar disorder as well as Post-traumatic depression. As for Ferdinand, he remarried to Germaine de Foix, the niece of the King Louis XII of France, Spain’s traditional enemy and lived a life plagued by series paranoia. He never did have the son he hoped to have.

After his death, Charles, Juana’s son became the King of Spain as Charles V of Spain. Briefly, she was released from her 11 years of prison and she was absolutely disoriented, completely unaware of what was going on. She had no idea that her father was dead and that her son was now King. However, according to Castilian law, Charles would not fully be recognized as King until Juana’s death, and he refused to release her from her imprisonment. He finally abdicated in 1555, retiring to a monastery, dying three years later. His son became Philip II of Spain, husband of Mary Tudor, who ushered in Spain’s Golden Age. Juana’s other son, Fernando, inherited the Holy Roman Emperor. Juana’s youngest daughter Catalina remained at Tordesillas with her mother for sixteen. However in 1625, Catalina was stolen away in the night and married off to King Juan III of Portugal. Juana was plunged into deep despair at losing her last child. After forty-six years of captivity, Juana of Castile died at the age of seventy-six. She was buried beside her husband Philip in the cathedral in Granada, across from the tombs of her parents Ferdinand and Isabella.

The question however remains; was Juana of Castile sane or not? Mental illness seemed to run in the Trastamara and Hapsburg dynasties, which can be attributed to the tradition of incest that seemed to run strong, not only in those dynasties but in most royal dynasties. After all, the aim of all royal dynasties was to keep the money and influence within the family and not to butcher it between different individuals. Juana was either schizophrenic or bi-polar. It should also be noted that ‘insanity’ was an all purpose diagnosis used to control women who were considered out of hand, too intelligent, or dangerous. Could she have ruled her country? Historians have been debating this question for centuries. Since she never got the chance, the world will never know what Juana might have been capable of but it seems clear given how her sister Catherine fought against Henry VIII’s attempts to divorce her that the women of Castile were absolute warriors. Moreover, similar traits have been observed between Queen Isabella I of Castile and Juana, her second daughter. Thus, if she was allowed to rule, perhaps she would be as great as her mother, despite the fact that her mother did introduce the Inquisition in Spain. Nevertheless, she was betrayed by the men around her- her father, her husband and then, even her own son.

Elizabeth Báthory: The Blood Countess

In 1545, Hungarian society was transfixed in a period of constant war and revolution- constantly at war with the Ottoman Empire on its borders with Transylvania. At the same time, rumors began to spread of the merging of Hungary into the Holy Roman Empire. The society was a war-obsessed society to say the least. It was a society that glorified the warrior and created him to be the ideal standard of manhood. It was a society in which, one’s manhood could only be tested and proved on the battlefield and nowhere else, mirroring the beliefs of several war lords, warriors and people of the times.

This can be seen through works of great literary personas such as Shakespeare through his play ‘Coriolanus’, where, he expresses the general trend of the time-the trend of war being the only noble test of manhood. For this reason, being a warrior was a great symbol of pride and a great social booster. However, for the women, who could not work and had almost non-existent rights of feminist equality with the men of their times, the only way to climb the social ladder was though the profession of the men in their family and their husbands. In medieval Hungary, two families ruled the country and the society since its very formation. The House of Báthory was one of these families. Their name comes from the Hungarian word that very literally in Hungarian translates to ‘brave’ was a war-obsessed noble family who held high military, administrative and ecclesiastical positions in the Kingdom of Hungary and ruled over Transylvania in particular. As for the Nádasdy Family, it was the only equal in terms of social status to the Bathory Family and thus, it was only expected when the engagement of Elizabeth Bathory and Ferenc Nádasdy- both teenagers at the time. At the age of 15, she was married to him and she was plucked out of the socially exciting society of Vienna and was forced to live in Transylvania’s barren and isolated kingdom, cut off literally from the rest of the world. Both families had one practice in common- interbreeding. Possibly to keep the wealth and influence within the family, this practice was continued, a rather common practice with nobility and monarchy throughout time. The product of this was rather malicious personalities that would be considered in modern pop culture as ‘evil genius’ forming in both families. Elizabeth Báthory and her husband were both products of this.

Married at the young age of 15, she was determined to be a ‘good’ wife and woman to society. However, this resulted in her giving up her education and social life all together. After all, Transylvania was literally cut off from the word and through her wedding, she owned Transylvania in entirety and her family at the time, owned more land than the king of Hungary himself. At first, she had a rather fair reputation- providing a medical service to the villages in her territory and often carrying out negotiations with the Turks when people of her villages were harmed. Instances have been recorded when she negotiated on the behalf of a family in one of her villages where one of the girls was kidnapped and raped by Turkish soldiers. This shows how highly she was educated at the time and for this reason, she is often considered to be one of the most influential women of her times. As for her husband, he was often considered to be one of the greatest warriors of his time, often spending 10-11 months in a stretch away from home. Almost instantly after their wedding, he left to Vienna to pursue his education whereas; she was left in Transylvania, cut off from her social circles.

Despite all of this, she was considered to be a devoted wife and a good mother. Before their wedding, around the age of 14, Elizabeth became the mother of an illegitimate daughter- Anastasia, through a manservant. When her husband did find out, the servant was promptly killed and as for Anastasia, she was given to peasants to raise in the countryside, away from the family. However, she would be allowed to adopt the name. This was the first and the last time she was ever unfaithful to her husband.

After a few years of executing her social responsibility, like any other person, Elizabeth began to grow bored of her lifestyle. Disconnected from her social society, she felt isolated from the world. While they were several villages that she did own, none of those people were of the same social status as she was. After all, under the feudal laws of that time, she owned them. Thus, she was lonely and bored out of her mind; she began her illustrious streak of torture that she would be infamous in history for. It is unclear as to who exactly prompted her into this. Some claim that it was her aunt who suggested this to her as an amusing recreational activity. However, some claim that it was because of her husband. Known quite well for his cruelty both in and outside the battlefield, he had quite a reputation. Thus, it was not long before both husband and wife began these practices.

Their preferences were young virgin girls of the villages they owned and eventually, the student surpassed the master. At first, this was a simple means of amusement. She would recruit her maids from the neighboring villages, luring the young girls in with the promise of teaching them the ways and mannerisms of the Court. After all, she was famous for having a rather sophisticated and impressive court in her favorite castle in Cachtice. It was thus, not surprising that so many girls did come. She would torture them, often beating the girls down to bloody pulps. Her husband’s methods often included soaking the servant girl in honey and forcing her to stand outside naked to be stung by bees and wasps. Another favorite of her methods was one that she inherited from her husband- star kicking. Strips of paper would be soaked in oil and placed between the toes of the servant girl. They would then be lit. Out of pain, the servant girl would kick violently and she would see stars in her eyes because of the unbearable amount of pain. She was a cruel mistress as well. Supervising the work of her servants on a daily and personal basis, she would tolerate nothing but absolute perfection. Records do show that she was rather cruel to her servants. If a servant did not iron her clothes to her liking, she would stamp their face with the heated iron, scaring them for life. Because of the magnitude of servants, her role has often been considered to that of a CEO of a multinational company- that would be her position in the modern world. Off course, she would not be allowed to be this harsh. But at that time, laws did not protect the peasants. They were viewed as discarded property. Thus, they had little or no rights. No one could protest against her and no one could supervise her. Thus, she is infamous in history, not because she tortured her servants. She is infamous because she tortured them to an extent no one else ever dared to do.

After her husband’s death, her reasons for torture changed. She soon became very concerned with her physical appearance. She would often bathe in blood; drink it straight from the veins of the girl if the servant was beautiful as well. Although, there is not enough documented evidence to actually prove this. Nevertheless, she became very concerned with her physical appearance and would do anything and everything to protect it. Moreover, with the death of her husband, she had almost no one else to turn to anyway. In an already lonely life, she was abandoned yet again. For this reason, it is often suggested that she wanted to be caught. As the Christmas season of (crime library) 1609 approached, she was already a great suspect. Four bodies had been thrown off the balconies of her castle and villagers had noticed. This is what ultimately sparked off the investigations into her crimes. Off course, it was mainly because of the letters of the Lutheran Minister István Magyari addressed to her, regarding her crimes. This shows clearly how bad the situation was already. After all, for a Lutheran minister to actually compose a letter accusing her of her harsh attitude towards her servants, the situation must have been absolutely horrid.

However, for a woman who had survived her entire life, torturing peasants and had escaped it, it made absolutely no sense for her to simply become careless. In my personal opinion, she was simply bored with her life. Her children had left her- married and living their own lives. Her family and her social circle were absolutely out of her reach. Moreover, she was suffering from a personal age crisis. She simply could not accept growing older and this is quite obvious from the way she was willing to do almost anything and everything to maintain her youth. The rumors of her bathing and drinking blood also gave birth to the common misconception of her being the first Vampire. This would later be one of the reasons as to why she was nicknamed the ‘Tigress of Cachtice – one of the many nicknames she would acquire over time.

She was tried and put under house arrest. She was never tried publically because of the sheer influence of her family. . Through her mother, Elizabeth was the cousin of the Hungarian noble Stefan Báthory, King of Poland and Duke of Transylvania. For this reason, she was never publically tried, nor was she publically executed. Instead, she was simply placed under house arrest in her castle in Cachtice, where she would spend the next four years, until her death. However, even by being sentenced to house arrest, she was confined to a single room in the vast castle. By this time, through several witnesses, survivors and detailed journals of her torture practices, about 600 cases had been documented and confirmed. Elizabeth Báthory, therefore, earned the title of the ‘most dangerous woman in history’ as she was now responsible for the death of 600 virgin peasant girls, all with the aid of 4 servants. On August 21, 1614, she was found dead in her room. Found by a guard when he was delivering her food, it is unclear exactly when she died. Plates of untouched food remained in her room, suggesting that she starved herself to death.

Much of her life still remains a mystery. The largest source of information about her comes from the national archives of Hungary and because of this, several inaccuracies are present. One of the greatest inaccuracies is of the very crime she was accused of. At the time she was alive, she was often considered to be one of the most influential women in the kingdom because of her education. At a young age, she learned to fluently speak Latin, Greek and German. Although it is a rather unpopular view, some people do believe that she was the victim of conspiracy theories. László Nagy, one of the supporters of this view, argues that at the proceedings were largely politically motivated. The theory is consistent with Hungarian history at that time, which included religious and political conflict, especially relating to the wars with the Ottoman Empire, the spread of Protestantism and the extension of Habsburg power over Hungary. As a Protestant, it was a clear threat to even have her alive and thus, she had to be removed and the best way to reduce her influence would be to absolutely demonize her. The fact that Báthory herself was never put to death, despite the personal requests of King Matthias of Hungary simply strengthens these theories. After all, her husband had been for almost 10 years at the time. She was technically richer than the king himself- owning far more land than he ever did. Thus, her death would benefit him and it did. The moment she was arrested, her children were exiled from Hungary and her land was confiscated, supporting further this theory.

However, few do believe her to be absolutely innocent. This, in my opinion is not possible as over 300 witnesses and survivors did testify, at the rate of 35 per day at the testimonies of her accomplices. Moreover, the corpses of dead girls strewn inside and around the castle would also have to be discounted. Thus, her absolute innocence is impossible to establish. However, few do dare to view her as a feminist as she was one of the few influential women of her times. Off course, she was not the only one- Queen Elizabeth I, after all was her contemporary. Never the less, she had significant political influence, even as a women that would be a significant threat to more the men of her times as she was one of the richest and most well educated women of her time.

Personally, I believe that she was guilty of her crimes. However, it was not her singular fault. The social trend was the abuse of the peasants. She would also treat the nobles below her rank with absolute indifference, indicating how classist Hungarian society really was at the time. Other land owners off course, did torture their employees, as did she. However, she was scrutinized for the extent of her torture. It was prompted by her family, her husband and her society in general but reached the absolute panicle after the death of her husband. This was when the torture was the worst, suggesting her sheer loneliness and her struggle to actually reconnect with society. She was a heartbroken woman and although that hardly pardons her sins, it prompted it. She longed for attention, which she lacked from her family and her husband due to his continuous absence and sought to replace it through recreations such as the torture of her servants. It is all this that earned her the nickname of ‘Countess Dracula’ and eventually would be one of Bram Stoker’s inspirations for his book, ‘Dracula’.