Russian serial killer Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova was the ultimate woman scorned.
While some women may seek revenge on a cheating lover by cutting up his clothes, or broadcasting his infidelity, Saltykova took her rage to extreme levels – by murdering women and girls who crossed her path.
The noblewoman who claimed to be a devout Christian certainly embodied everything about the phrase "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."
Nicknamed Saltychikha, she was a noblewoman from Lubyanka in Moscow who slayed more than 130 servants during the 18th century.
She was a sadist who took great pleasure out of tormenting and mistreating the serfs or peasants on her estate and especially women and young girls – some as young as 10.
Born in 1730 she appeared outwardly to be a well adjusted individual and didn't exhibit odd behaviour as a child or young adult that would materialise into a life of torturing and murdering victims.
She was married young to Gleb Saltykov who was a captain in the royal guard but he died in 1755 when Saltykova was only 26.
This left her with huge wealth and land and 600 serfs which proved a powerfully corrupting cocktail for her.
In around 1762 she was spurned by her lover, Nikolay Tyutchev who left Saltykova for another younger woman. Saltykova was enraged when she discovered that her lover had wed a younger woman.
At one point, she attempted to kill him leading Tyutchev and his bride to flee Moscow in terror. This was a catalyst for Saltykova to embark on her brutal killing spree taking it out on the women who worked on her estate.
Perceiving them as rivals, she victimised over one hundred women, including pregnant mothers and young children.
Her crimes were brought to life on screen by Actress Yuliya Snigir who played Saltychikha in the TV series Blood Lady back in 2018.
Although the story told is similar to what happened in real life, it is much softer because the director feared filming the worst of atrocities would likely see the movie banned.
The real-life Saltykova tortured her victims in various ways, including beating them with a log, breaking their bones, pushing them outside in the winter while naked and pouring boiling water over them.
She had people flogged, sometimes even to death. Saltykova gradually acquired a taste for this gruesome punishment and began perfecting the tortures. She could rip off a person's hair or set it on fire, or scald people with boiling water.
Her servants began complaining to the police and to the Moscow governor, but Saltykova was well connected at court.
Her influential friends and relatives would get her out of trouble time after time and bribes also helped.
Years passed before a petition finally make it into the hands of Empress Catherine the Great who ordered a trial.
Only 38 deaths were verified but that was more than enough for a guilty verdict.
Saltykova was sentenced to life in prison in 1768 following a public beating in Red Square, Moscow.
She was chained to a platform and was forced to wear a sign around her neck that read, "This woman has tortured and murdered."
Saltykova was sent to serve her time in the Ivanovski Convent in Moscow. She was kept in the equivalent of a maximum-security prison. Saltykova was chained up in the monastery's dungeon and kept in the dark for 11 years in a lightless cellar.
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She was also proclaimed a man, because the Empress judged her unworthy of being called a woman.
After 11 years in the cellar, Saltykova was moved to an outbuilding.
Curious Muscovites would crowd outside her window as Saltykova swore and spat on them. She lived in confinement for another 33 years before her death at the age of 71 on November 27, 1801.
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