The awful tale of aristocrat Blanche Monnier, locked up for 25 years
There are stories left and right of young women being locked up and kidnapped by men for their own torturous needs. But what if your kidnapper was your own mother? Aristocrat Blanche Monnier’s story may be over a century old, but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying.
Finally discovered when she was 50 years old, Monnier was only 55 pounds, laying in a hay bed covered in feces, urine, bugs, and food scraps. While calm during the rescue, it was clear Monnier suffered mental damage from the capture. What led her mother to lock her in such horrid conditions?
Love, the end all, be all
Like every other French socialite in 1876, Monnier was desperate for love. At 25, she was still unmarried and was desperate to move on with her life out of her mother’s home. There, she found love in the form of an older lawyer.
But her mother disapproved of the relationship. Still, Monnier’s heart was dead set on marrying this man, regardless of her mother’s wishes. That was her mistake though, as a vicious argument ensued. Madame Monnier forbade Blanche from seeing this man, and even went as far as to beg her to call off the relationship. But Blanche refused.
Locked up for love
From there, Madame knew Monnier would never give up her emotions on her own for this man. So she locked her daughter in the tiny attic room, with barricaded shutters preventing any light in the room. If Monnier wanted freedom, she would have to break off the marriage to this penniless lawyer her mother disapproved of.
But Monnier was in love, and even if that meant never seeing her love again, then she wouldn’t. Monnier stayed in the room, eating dinner scraps her mother would give her, and sleeping on a hay bed left upstairs. As Monnier laid captive in that tiny attic, she truly did never see her lover again, as he passed away in 1885. But Monnier was just as important in high society as her mother and brother? How did they get away with her sudden disappearance? By faking her death, of course.
Life as normal for the Monniers
In the public eye, Blanche Monnier was a dead woman, who her mother and brother would mourn at every chance to sell their story. Of course, no one doubted her death, as a young woman passing away unexpectedly was no raise for concern.
Her brother was also manipulated by their mother though, as well into his 50’s he was still at home. He never married, and stayed in the home with their mother, not questioning the situation with Blanche one bit.
An anonymous scribble brings Monnier to light
Finally, in 1901, French police received a note full of scribbles, claiming there was something strange occurring at the Monnier address. The note even claimed they could hear screams coming from a closed window. While police knew that Blanche Monnier was dead, they still went out to investigate to verify the claims were false.
But when they showed up to the house, Madame Monnier peeked her head out the window and ignored the door. Police kicked in the front door, and immediately were hit with the smell coming from Blanche’s room. There, they found the now 50 year old Monnier looking like a skeleton, smelling of her own waste.
No proper justice
After taking Monnier to the hospital, she was grateful for the treatment of the nurses giving her a bath and a proper meal. When interrogated by police, Madame Monnier claimed Blanche brought this all upon herself, being a woman with violent tendencies and a mentally ill woman since her younger years.
Her brother also agreed that Blanche did this to herself, claiming she could’ve left at any time and yet chose not to escape the torture chamber her mother locked her in. When it came time to face the court, her mother was given a longer sentence than her brother, but her mother died 15 days into her sentence.
The brother, being a lawyer, wormed his way out of his year long sentence shortly after appealing the charges. Yet Blanche was robbed of her life, and considering she was a 50 year old woman with nowhere to go, she was admitted into a psych hospital, where she lived for the remainder of her life. No justice was given to Blanche, as she lost over half her life thanks to her mother.
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