The Bisexual Examiner

There’s an interesting post from 2009 at Examiner.com: A history of vampires and bisexuality: the real-life inspirations. I’ve read it before, but stumbled across it again today.

The article makes a couple of questionable points. First about Erzsébet Báthory:

Countess Elizabeth Bathory is one of the real-life inspirations for the vampire legends, and she was indisputably bisexual. Even in the 16th Century, her conquests with men were legendary while her husband was away, but she also had a lust for women, and particularly their blood. History documents her bisexual interests and her torture murders of an estimated 600 girls.

That may be the legend, but if you want to know the truth about Erzsébet, then read Kimberley Craft’s astonishing and well-researched books about the Hungarian countess. Prof. Craft says:

In her own time, servants washed away her victims’ blood or covered it with ash; two hundred years later, German author Michael Wegener invented the story that she bathed in this blood as a magical means of sustaining her youthful appearance. History has painted the Countess as an insane murderess; yet original letters, trial transcripts, and depositions indicate a far more complicated figure…

I was profoundly moved by Infamous Lady: The True Story of Countess Erzsébet Báthory, and it was a major influence on my own recent novel.

Back to Mike Szymanski’s post at Examiner.com:

Then, there’s the creepy 15th Century Romanian Count Vlad Tepes, who liked to drive stakes through bodies and stick them upright as they died like human shish kabobs. He had sex organs cut off, and often had his victims impaled through the butt.

They were a bloodthirsty bunch, those warlords, and they were fighting a long, vicious campaign against the Ottoman Empire, which overran the Balkans for a long time. I don’t really know what inference is being made here, however. If you’re playing football with your enemies’ decapitated heads, and dancing with their corpses, why is cutting off their genitals suddenly noteworthy? Or… was it the ones who weren’t killed who had their genitals detached? I vaguely remember this being a practice by certain cultures, as a cruel way perhaps of making sure your defeated enemies didn’t go back and propagate a new army…

As for the staking… Ivo Andrić’s wonderful novel of the history of the town of Višegrad (in Bosnia by the Serbian border), The Bridge over the Drina, has a lengthy description of just such an impalement, the delicate, skewering penetration of human flesh over a period of hours, designed to keep the victim alive and conscious throughout. A good day’s entertainment.

There’s nothing remotely bisexual about this. I think Vlad was just saying, ‘See how you like it.’

Coda

I’ve discussed vampiric bisexual tropes elsewhere, but (since I’m in a linking mood) take a look at Brent Hartinger’s Why Bisexual Vampires Suck.

About Frank

A Sci-Fi & Fantasy author and lyrical poet with a mild obsession for vampires, succubi, goddesses and Supergirl.
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