We all may have tales of parents disapproving who we date, but none of them compare to the woman locked up for 25 years by her parents. In 1876, Mademoiselle Blanche Monnier became one of the unfortunate people who were imprisoned by their families. Mademoiselle Blanche Monnier, a young socialite from a prestigious family in Poiters, France, was locked up by her mother and brother at the age of 25 for loving a poor attorney.
The Mademoiselle Blanche Monnier abuse facts are nothing short of horrifying. The lovesick woman was locked away in a lightless room for 25 years, surviving off table scraps. While she wasn't beaten or physically abused, the psychological torture of being locked in a room where her screams went unheard slowly drove her to insanity. She was rescued in 1901, but by then, the damage to Blanche Monnier's psyche was permanent.
Her Mother Locked Her Up And Told Neighbors She Was Insane
Blanche Monnier was a beautiful French socialite living in Poitiers, France, a mere 4 hours away from Paris. In 1876, when she was just 25 years old, she simply vanished from the public eye. Many found this strange - after all, her family was kept in high regard, and she was looking for a potential suitor for marriage.
But she didn't disappear; she was imprisoned by her own mother, Madame Louise Monnier. Allegedly, the neighbors knew of Blanche's imprisonment, as they often heard her screaming in her room. If anyone ever asked Madame Monnier what was going on, she claimed Blanche had gone insane. At the time, it was standard procedure to keep insane members under lock and key, so no one pressed the issue.
Blanche Lived Amongst Rats, Bugs, And Her Own Excrement
Madame Monnier did not simply keep Blanche out of the public eye. Blanche was padlocked in a dark, windowless room. She had no interaction with any other people, save for her mother, brother, and occasional servant who would throw her table scraps. Blanche was left completely naked, was sparsely fed, and was not permitted any sort of basic hygienic routine.
She laid in her bed for most of her life, which is also where she ate, urinated, and defecated. She never bathed. Slowly, she became more and more malnourished. Filth piled up around her, and this attracted rats and bugs, her only true companions for 25 torturous years.
Blanche Went Insane While In Captivity
25 years of solitary confinement would reduce anyone to a gibbering mess. When Blanche was rescued, authorities noted she was unable to speak properly and was completely delirious. They interrogated both Madame Monnier and her son Marcel, and they both said Blanche was insane: "foul, angry, overly excited, and full of rage."
Except when authorities took Blanche in, she didn’t exhibit any of those features - she was calm and quiet, and even registered joy when she was given a bath. While she did gain back some weight and was able to speak some phrases, Blanche was so deeply traumatized by her imprisonment that she was unable to fully recover. She lived out the rest of her 12 years in a sanitarium in Bois, France, in relative peace.
An Anonymous Letter To The Attorney General Was What Freed Her
In 1901, the Attorney General of France received an anonymous letter that went into some detail about the fate of “a spinster” in the Monnier household who lived under lock and key.
"Monsieur Attorney General: I have the honor to inform you of an exceptionally serious occurrence. I speak of a spinster who is locked up in Madame Monnier’s house, half starved, and living on a putrid litter for the past twenty-five years - in a word, in her own filth.”
The letter prompted an investigation of the Monnier estate. At first, police were skeptical - the Monniers were a well-respected family, a pillar of virtue within the community. Still, officers went to the Monnier household to see if the anonymous letter held water. Police found the room where Blanche was being kept and were disgusted and horrified at what they found.
To this day, the identity of the letter’s writer remains anonymous. Some have theorized that it was Marcel Monnier - Blanche's brother - who wrote it, while others believe it was the partner of one of the family’s servants.