The Miserable Incarceration of Blanche Monnier
A Truly Sad, Despicable, Wretched Story about a Poor Young Woman
Do you ever feel a little bit claustrophobic from sitting the office a bit too long?
Now, imagine you were confined to a room smaller than your cubicle for 25 years. There is no light, no central heating or air conditioning. The only food you eat are scraps from someone else’s table and your only friends, the rats who scavenge what little crumbs that fall to the stony floor. Mademoiselle Blanche Monnier experienced this for a quarter of a century. The most shocking thing about this? It was Blanche’s mother who imprisoned her.
While it looks like something from an old horror movie, the above is a real photo taken in 1901 of Blanche Monnier, a French woman who was imprisoned in a padlocked room for 25 years prior to being discovered. Monnier was initially imprisoned by her mother and brother because they didn’t approve of her marrying an attorney she was in love with. Years later, even after the object of her affection had died, the mother and brother still refused to free her.
May 23, 1901, following a denunciation by an anonymous letter, the Attorney General of Poitiers ordered a search of Louise Monnier, widow of a former dean of the Faculty of Letters. On the second floor of a mansion from the city center, the central Commissioner discovered a skeletal woman, completely naked, lying on a rotten bench amid his excrement. This is White’s daughter, Mrs. Monnier. It would be sequestered by his family for twenty five years…
This discovery ignited the city. How, indeed, imagine that a mother can have the barbarity of locking his daughter to abandon the hunger and suffering? How imagine that such torture can last a quarter century without anyone cares? What crime had committed the unfortunate to suffer such a punishment?
The press immediately seized of the news. While different organs Republicans and monarchists take the opportunity to settle accounts, a journalist from the local press overcomes their quarrels to conduct its own investigation.