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lanche Monnier was a gorgeous girl from France who ended up having one of the most tragic lives. She was born on the 1st of March, 1849 in Poitiers, France in what was thought to be a wonderful family at the time. Her beauty, physical appearance, and good nature attracted a lot of attention, and most importantly many potential suitors for marriage. Her parents were aristocrats and very reluctant when it came to their beautiful daughter getting married.

At the peak of her teenage years, she was attracting many suitors from the high society as she was receiving many letters. This reached a point where it made Louise Monnier (her mother) very angry as she was with the idea of her daughter being too precious for marriage. Since that day Blanche just vanished from Paris, or did she?

Isolated from everything and everyone

Louise Monnier had locked her daughter in her room for good, boarding the windows so that no sunlight, and most importantly no one can see her. This left Blanche isolated from the whole world apart from her parents, brother, and servants around the house. She was not allowed to get off the bed in her room nor was she allowed any sort of basic hygiene. For half of her life, Blanche lay in bed where she ate, urinated, and defecated.

Blanche Monnier, shortly after being discovered in her locked room in 1901(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Blanche’s parents told her friends and relatives that she was sent to some sort of Boarding school in the United Kingdom and due to her schedule she was not able to come back home very soon. At the point where she was supposed to finish her study, the lies advanced to Blanche making a life of her own in Scotland, which separated her from any relatives in France.

The Horrific Discovery

After 25 years, on the 23rd of March, 1901, the attorney general from Paris received an anonymous letter stating that a well know family from Paris is hiding something behind closed doors. Even to this day, the author of the letter is still unknown, however, historians do believe it was one of the servants.

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 Monnier family was seen as highly regarded in the Parisian community which made the authorities reluctant about the claims made in the letter, but nevertheless, the authorities went to investigate the Monnier estate. At first glance, the property looked “clean”, until the investigators noticed a rotting smell coming from one of the rooms. =

French Newspaper from 1901 telling the tragic story of Blanche Monnier (Source: Rare Historical Photos)

Upon reaching the room from which the rotting smell was coming, the investigators noticed that the room has been locked for years as the padlock seemed rusty. The authorities smashed the padlocked and barged into a room full of horror. The authorities had written a grim report based on their findings, here is a paragraph from those reports, summarising their findings:

The woman looked extremely malnourished whilst lying completely naked on a rotten mattress. All around her formed a crust made from excrement and fragments of food… We also saw bugs running across Mademoiselle Monnier’s bed. The air inside the room was so unbearable, it was impossible for us to proceed with our investigation any longer.

Image of Blanche Monnier upon her discovery in 1901 (Source: Rare Historical Photos)

The room was so dark the investigators broke the barricades from the window, that was the first time that Blanche has seen the sunlight after 25 years. She told the investigators that she was chained for 25 long years and offered the bare minimum to survive. Her health condition was so bad that she weighed only 25 kilograms and she did not have the power to stand up on her own feet.

Once she was transported to the hospital she mentioned how wonderful it is to smell the fresh mesmerizing air. The doctors have mentioned how incredible it is that she managed to survive in such an atrocious condition with no movement for so many years.

Justice served

A big case took part where all of the Monnier family was interrogated. Louise Monnier was arrested but died 15 days after her imprisonment from what the authorities think was a heart condition, but many assume she drugged herself. Marcel Monnier, Blanche’s brother tried to defend himself by saying his mother was in charge of this crime. Despite the evidence that was provided, Marcel was sentenced to 15 years for playing a role in Blanche’s mistreatment and imprisonment.

Even if now Blanche was free, life wasn’t easy for her. Because of the 25 years of imprisonment, Blanche developed major mental issues and health problems such as coprophilia, exhibitionism, and schizophrenia. Due to all these problems, she was commissioned to a psychiatric hospital where she died in 1913.

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