Her mother kept her locked up for 25 years

Her mother kept her locked up for 25 years and starved her so she wouldn’t get married: The tragic fate of Blanche Monier

Her mother kept her locked up for 25 years

“The unfortunate woman was lying completely naked on a rotten straw mattress. Around her there was a kind of crust formed from excrement and the remains of rotten food… The smell was so strong that it was impossible for us to stay longer and continue our investigation,” wrote one of the policemen who rescued Blanche from her mother’s house.

Her mother kept her locked up for 25 years and starved her so she wouldn’t get married: The tragic fate of Blanche Monier

Blanche Monier was a young girl from the French city of Poitiers. She was born on the 1st of March, 1849, and came of an old rich family of very good repute.

In her youth, the girl was recognized for her beauty and many boys wanted to marry her.

In 1874, when she was 25 years old, Blanche fell in love with an older lawyer and expressed her desire to marry him.

But her mother did not approve of this relationship because she believed that her daughter should not marry a “poor lawyer” and thus spoil the reputation of the family.

Blanche Monier in her youth
Blanche Monier in her youth

Mother tried to dissuade Blanche from marrying the lawyer, but all attempts proved unsuccessful.

Soon after, Blanche disappeared – none of her friends knew where she was. During that time, Blanche lived with her mother and brother, who pretended to be grieving for her.

Over time, the town forgot about Blanche, and in 1885, the lawyer she was in love with also died.

It was only in 1901, about 25 years later, that it became known that during this entire period Blanche was forcibly confined in a room in her house.

According to some sources, this is the house where Blanche was imprisoned
According to some sources, this is the house where Blanche was imprisoned

When her mother could not dissuade her from marrying the lawyer, she locked Blanche in a small cell in their home and did not allow her to leave it for 25 years and 2 months.

Probably no one would have ever thought to look for Blanche at her home until the police received a letter from an anonymous sender:

“I have the honor to inform you of a very serious situation. I’m talking about a woman who has been locked up in Madame Monier’s house, starving, and who has been living in filth for the past 25 years – in other words, living in her waste.”

Her mother kept her locked up for 25 years
The letter received by the police

The police immediately intervened and in the house they really found Blanche, who was already 50 years old.

The condition in which they found her was terrible – Blanche weighed barely 25 kilograms, the room was covered in rotten food and excrement, and there were many insects on the floor.

“The unfortunate woman was lying completely naked on a rotten straw mattress. Around her was a kind of crust formed by excrement, remains of a place, vegetables, fish and moldy bread… We also saw remains of shells and bugs moving around on Miss Monier’s bed.

The air was suffocating, the smell in the room was so strong that it was impossible to stay inside longer and continue our investigation,” wrote one of the police officers who found Blanche.

Her mother kept her locked up for 25 years
Blanche Monier after she was found

The whole world learned about Blanche’s tragic fate, and the story was shared by the New York Times.

“Time has passed and Blanche is no longer young. The lawyer she loved died in 1885. During that entire period, the girl was locked in a room, fed scraps from her mother’s table – when she got any food at all.

Her only company were the rats that flocked to eat the hard scraps she threw on the floor. “Not a single ray of light entered her dungeon and we can only imagine her suffering,” the article reads.

Her mother kept her locked up for 25 years
French newspaper clipping that shared the story – Blanche is called “The Lonesome/Lonely Woman of Poitiers”

After Blanche was found, the police immediately arrested her mother. But she fell ill and died 15 days later. According to some sources, before her death, a crowd wanted to lynch her.

Blanche’s brother, on the other hand, received a 15-month prison sentence, but was later released because “he did not take part in Blanche’s imprisonment.” He also stated that Blanche was not banned from going out and was locked up of her own free will.

Because of these statements, some believe that the brother is the person who sent the anonymous letter to the police.

Her mother kept her locked up for 25 years
German newspaper clipping introducing Blanche as “The Living Skeleton of Poitiers”

After the rescue, Blanche was taken to a mental institution. As a result of the torture she suffered, she suffered a range of mental health problems, including anorexia and schizophrenia.

Blanche’s condition never improved and she died in 1913.

Her mother kept her locked up for 25 years
Blanche in 1901, after she was rescued

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