1560 – Elizabeth Báthory, Nyírbátor, Hungarian countess and serial killer.
During the Christmas season in 1609 (or 1610), King Mathias II of Hungary�sent a party of men to the massive Castle Csejthe. He had heard rumors that several young women from the area were being held in the castle against their will, if not actually killed. In haste, he sent the team to investigate. what they discovered was beyond their imagination.
Bathory was already infamous in the area for her torture and murder of servants and peasants, but her title and high-ranking relatives had made her untouchable.
One of her uncles instructed her in Satanism, while her aunt taught her all about sadomasochism. At the age of 15, Bathory was married to Count Nadady, and the couple settled into Csejthe Castle. To please his wife, her husband built a torture chamber to her specifications.
Bathory’s torture included jamming pins and needles under the fingernails of her servant girls, and tying them down, smearing them with honey, and leaving them to be attacked by bees and ants. Although the count participated in his wife’s cruelties, he may have also restrained her impulses; when he died in the early 1600s, she became much worse. With the help of her former nurse, Ilona Joo, and local witch Dorotta Szentes, Bathory began abducting peasant girls to torture and kill. She often bit chunks of flesh from her victims, and one unfortunate girl was even forced to cook and eat her own flesh. Bathory reportedly believed that human blood would keep her looking young and healthy.
1950 – Rodney Crowell, Houston Texas, singer/songwriter.
One of the best songwriters of the past forty years, Crowell has had a long career, starting in the 1970s as part of Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band. He then began to record his own solo LPs, and became the hottest songwriter / producer in Nashville. His marriage to Rosanne Cash made them one of the royal couples of country music during the 70s and 80s. Between them, they wrote and recorded together dozens of Top Ten country songs and won several Grammy Awards. In 1988 Crowell managed to have five #1 songs off his LP Diamonds and Dirt.
During the 21st century Crowell has retreated from mainstream country music and has released a series of brilliant CDs and has become the elder statesman for the Americana music genre.