An illustration I created during the trial period for another project. She'll never see the light of print, but I thought I'd share her here and spill some bloody historical details on you for funsies.
Elizabeth Bathory, or the "Blood Countess." A pretty gruesome lady.
Not a vampire, though sure to have inspired their myth, but a serial killer. A Hungarian noble women, born in 1560, to a family line known for it's cruelty; she was vain, privileged, and easy to anger. One of the more appalling details of her legend involves bathing in the warm blood of virgins to restore her youthful beauty. Her victims were young peasant girls and the daughters of lesser gentry spirited away to her castle with promises of work or higher learning. Her bloody-bath was never documented in any official capacity; based on the evidence recorded it's more likely she gained sexual thrills through blood and torture.
Though she was formally charged with the torture and murder of 80 young women, other testimony puts the number as high as 650. The number most likely grew due to time and embellishment. Much evidence against her was gotten through torture, so there's no telling what is true in this story or how much was skewed for political or religious purposes. On the other hand, the documented testimonies from survivors, the multitudes of missing girls and the evidence of human remains on her property is stunning to say the least. Once finally arrested, she was bricked into a small room in her castle and fed threw a slot in the wall until she died 4 years later in 1614. Whatever the truth may be, Erzebet's legend is a macabre one and she has gone down as the most prolific female serial killer in history.
If you really want to delve further into this bit of crazy-horrificness, I suggest this lengthy article on Crime Library, and of course wikipedia for the short of it. You'll find the story is always a little different depending where you look.
*nom nom nom*
The illustration is from the bloody vampire perspective. But I'm thinking it would be fun to do a more realistic portrait in the future.