While tales of parents disapproving of who their children date are common, none compare to the woman whose mother imprisoned her for almost 25 years. In 1876, Madame Louise Monnier held her 25-year-old daughter, Blanche, captive. Mademoiselle Blanche Monnier was a young socialite from a prestigious family in Poitiers, France. Madame Monnier, with the aid of her son, confined Blanche to her room for planning to marry a poor attorney.
The Blanche Monnier abuse facts are nothing short of horrific. The lovesick woman's kin locked her away in a filthy, lightless room for 25 years, forcing the woman to survive off table scraps. While she wasn't physically beaten, the psychological torture slowly drove Blanche toward insanity. Her screams went unheard or ignored for over two decades. Authorities rescued her 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, society held her family in high regard, and she was looking for a potential suitor for marriage.
However, she didn't just disappear - her mother, Madame Louise Monnier, had imprisoned her. 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 mentally ill family 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; she padlocked Blanche in a dark room with sealed windows. Blanche had no interaction with any other people, save for her mother, brother, and an occasional servant who would throw her table scraps. The household kept Blanche naked and sparsely fed, and they did not permit her any sort of basic hygiene.
For half her life, Blanche laid in her bed, which is also where she ate, urinated, and defecated. She never bathed. Slowly, she became progressively more malnourished. Filth piled up around her, and this attracted an assortment of pests, including rats and bugs.
Blanche Went Insane While In Captivity
25 years of solitary confinement would reduce anyone's mental capacity. When authorities rescued Blanche, they noted she was unable to speak properly and was completely delirious. The Poitier police interrogated Madame Monnier and her son, Marcel, who initially claimed Blanche was "foul, angry, overly excited, and full of rage," essentially justifying her extreme isolation.
When authorities took Blanche in, she didn’t exhibit any of those features - she was calm and happy when nurses gave her a bath. Eventually, after extended care, Blanche gained weight and could speak short phrases, but her imprisonment caused such deep trauma that she was unable to fully recover. She lived in a sanitarium in Blois, France, for 12 years until her death in 1913.
An Anonymous Letter To The Attorney General Was What Freed Her
In 1901, the Attorney General of France received an anonymous letter. The message detailed the fate of “a spinster” in the Monnier household whose family imprisoned her against her will.
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 community regarded the well-respected Monniers as a pillar of virtue and service. Still, officers went to the Monnier household to see if the anonymous letter held water. Police where appalled when they found Blache's forced living conditions.
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.