1560 – Elizabeth Báthory born. A countess of the Báthory family of Hungarian nobility. Although the number of murders is debated, she has been labeled the most prolific female serial killer in history and is remembered as the “Blood Countess.”
After her husband Ferenc Nádasdy’s death, she and four collaborators were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls, with one witness attributing to them over 650 victims, though the number for which they were convicted was 80. Elizabeth herself was neither tried nor convicted. In 1610, she was imprisoned in the Csejte Castle, now in Slovakia and known as Čachtice, where she remained bricked up in a set of rooms until her death four years later.
Later writings about the case have led to legendary accounts of the Countess bathing in the blood of virgins in order to retain her youth and subsequently also to comparisons with Vlad the Impaler of Wallachia, on whom the fictional Count Dracula is partly based, and to modern nicknames of the Blood Countess and Countess Dracula.
1876 – Mata Hari born as Margaretha Geertruida Zelle , better known by the stage name Mata Hari, was a Dutch exotic dancer, courtesan, and accused spy who was executed by firing squad in France under charges of espionage for Germany during World War I.
1930 – The last confirmed lynching of blacks in the Northern United States occurred – in Marion, Indiana. Two men, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, were killed. They had been arrested the night before, charged with robbing and murdering a white factory worker, Claude Deeter, and raping his white girlfriend, Mary Ball. A large crowd broke into the jail with sledgehammers, beat the two men, and hanged them. When Abram Smith tried to free himself from the noose as his body was hauled up by the rope, he was lowered and then his arms broken to prevent him from trying to free himself again. Police officers in the crowd cooperated in the lynching.
1947 – Thor Heyerdahl’s balsa wood raft the Kon-Tiki, smashed into the reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands after a 101-day, 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi) journey across the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to prove that pre-historic peoples could have traveled from South America.
1965 – The infamous first Reyes party between Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters and motorcycle gang the Hells Angels took place at Kesey’s estate in La Honda, California introducing psychedelics to the gang world and forever linking the hippie movement to the Hell’s Angels.
1984 – Esther Phillips died. American singer, known for her R&B vocals, but she was a versatile singer, also performing pop, country, jazz, blues and soul.