The Haunting Story of Blanche Monnier.
Nov 13, 2020 · 3 min read
Blanche Monnier, shortly after being discovered in her locked room in 1901
“What have I done to be locked up? I don’t deserve this horrible torture. God must not exist then, to let his creatures suffer in this way? And no one to come to my rescue!”
On 23 May 1901, the Paris Attorney General received an anonymous letter that talked about a girl being held captive in a house located in “21 rue de la Visitation”.
The police were shocked as they knew that the 75-year-old widow, Madame Louise Monnier Demarconnay, and her son Marcel Monnier, a law-school graduate lived at that address. The Monnier family was an honorable upper-middle-class family who hailed from the aristocratic Poitiers family. Madame Louise’s husband, Emile Monnie died a few years earlier.
Now, police recalled that 25 years earlier, their daughter, Blanche Monnier, a pretty, joyous woman with beautiful hair and brilliant eyes disappeared without any trace when she was 25 years old.
Blanche Monnier. Source: vintagenews.com
Police rushed to the house, forced the door open, and found Blanche lying in a pool of feces and food debris on a bed in an upstairs room. Her head hidden under the covers, the 49-year-old woman, who now weighed a mere 55 pounds, was naked, scared, and deranged.
She hadn’t seen the sun in 24 years.
A witness to the event described the scene as:
“The unfortunate woman was lying completely naked on a rotten straw mattress. All around her was formed a sort of crust made from excrement, fragments of meat, vegetables, fish, and rotten bread. We also saw oyster shells and bugs running across Mademoiselle Monnier’s bed. The air was so unbreathable, the odor given off by the room was so rank, that it was impossible for us to stay any longer to proceed with our investigation.”
But life continued to haunt her
She was quickly wrapped in a blanket and taken to Hôtel-Dieu Hospital in Paris. At the hospital, she was very delighted at being washed and able to breathe clean air.
She exclaimed, “How lovely it is.”
Despite claims by Blanche’s brother that she was “foul, angry, overly excited, and full of rage”, doctors noted that Blanche was calm, never wavering for a moment into fits of anger or excitement.
During the subsequent investigation, it was unfolded that Blanche refused to forsake her love for a ‘penniless lawyer’. Her mother got angry and locked her in the dungeon.
Although Blanche’s mother was arrested the next day, she unexpectedly died 15 days later. So her brother, Marcel, stood the trial alone, accused of being his mother’s accomplice. He was initially convicted. But after several appeals, he was set free. But no one had any clue about whether he was guilty or not.
Although Blanche Monnier did put on some weight over time, she never regained her sanity. She was diagnosed with various disorders including anorexia nervosa, schizophrenia, exhibitionism, and coprophilia. So, she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Blois, France.
Blanche during her treatments
She eventually died in 1913 in apparent obscurity in that hospital, 12 years after she was discovered captive in her room.