Blanche Monnier, 25, was a typical socialite in Paris in 1876, scrambling to find a suitor before it was too late. She fell in love with an older, broke lawyer whom her aristocratic mother despised and resolved to marry him.
Blanche was forbidden from seeing the man by Madame Louise. Blanche refused, causing her mother to plead with her daughter to end the relationship. Blanche refused once more. Madame Monnier locked Blanche in a tiny room after realizing she would never be able to persuade her to leave the unwealthy lawyer.
She told her daughter that the door would be locked until Blanche agreed to end their relationship. Madame Louise was convinced she had discovered the ideal solution to her problem. Blanche would undoubtedly give in. Blanche, on the other hand, refused to give in.
As a result, Madame Louise held her daughter prisoner. Blanche lived on scraps from her mother's meals for 25 years. Blanche's lawyer lover died in 1885 as she grew older.
Blanche had simply vanished. Nobody saw her in public again in France. Her mother and brother grieved for her but carried on with their lives. They were concealing a terrible secret behind their outward appearance.
The Attorney General of Paris received scribbled text describing the ghoulish events of a house in Poitiers, France, in May 1901. According to the anonymous letter, a woman had been held captive for 25 years at 21 rue de la Visitation in terrible conditions.
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.
Madame Louise Monnier Demarconnay was a respectable member of society. She and her son, Marcel, lived in a wealthy neighborhood. Emile, her late husband, was the dean of a local arts college. Marcel was a former administrative official with the Puget-Théniers commune and a law school graduate.
The allegations in the letter were met with skepticism by the police. Nonetheless, they remembered the Monniers' daughter Blanche's disappearance from the public eye 25 years ago. Perhaps the letter was a bizarre hoax, but what if it was real? Police decided to look into it.
When authorities arrived at 21 rue de la Visitation, the door was locked. When no one answered, they forced the door open, only to be greeted by a foul odor. The smell led them upstairs to the attic. They found a casement window covered in heavy curtains and covered in dust when they entered the room. The police couldn't open the shutters until the hinges were removed.
When the musty chamber was finally illuminated by daylight, a startling sight emerged.
Blanche Monnier was skeletal but still alive in the back corner, covered by a filthy blanket. She was completely naked and lying on a rotten straw mattress saturated with urine and feces. She was severely malnourished, weighing only 55 pounds.
Madame Monnier was arrested right away after receiving an award from the Committee of Good Works for her generous contributions to the city. After confessing the heinous kidnapping to police, she died in prison 15 days later.
Blanche's brother Marcel was tried and sentenced to 15 months in prison for assisting her mother during the ordeal. He was later acquitted of charges that Blanche had the option to leave at any time but chose not to. The crowd in the courtroom gasped as he walked free.
Blanche Monnier, also known as La Séquestrée de Poitiers in France, died in a sanitarium in Bois in 1913.