How deep can the depths of madness go? A daunting answer to this question is found in the story of Louise Monnier who kept her own daughter, Blanche, locked away in a room for a shocking 25 years. Once a charming socialite of the respectedBourgeoisie family from Poitiers, France, Blanche Monnier was known for her stunning beauty which attracted numerous admirers.

Blanche Monnier's Family Locked her for 25 years in her bedroom
Blanche Monnier, shortly after being discovered in her locked room in 1901.

Neighbors who thought of Blanche as “gentle and kind-hearted,” were left confused when she suddenly disappeared from social circles in her prime. Oddly, her strange absence drew little attention for nearly 25 years. The Monnier family carried on as though nothing had changed, adding to the peculiarity of the situation.

Blanche Monnier lived under hideous conditions

Blanche’s life of confinement at the hands of her mother was beyond ordinary understanding. She was kept in a dark room with no communication with the outside world except for her mother, brother, and the occasional servant. The windows were shut tight, cutting her off from any source of natural light or fresh air.

Once a beloved figure in high society, Blanche was forced to spend her days and nights in bed, deprived of even basic personal hygiene facilities. She ate, slept, and relieved herself in the same place for 25 years, a testament to the shocking indifference of her own family.

The Letter To Attorney General

On May 23, 1901, an anonymous letter landed on the desk of the Paris attorney general. This mysterious post indicated at a disturbing secret hidden behind the doors of a well-respected family in the city. To this day, the author of the letter remains a mystery.

“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.”

Blanche Monnier Discovered

This alarming letter prompted an investigation of the Monnier household. Despite the family’s esteemed reputation in the community, the police opted to search the estate. Their search initially turned up nothing unusual until a horrid smell led them to an upstairs room that was padlocked shut.

French Newspaper recounts the tragic story of Blanche Monnier
A French newspaper recounts the tragic story of Blanche Monnier.

When they broke the door open, they found an unimaginable scene of horror:

“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.”

Blanche, weighing only 25 kilograms (55 lbs), was discovered in a terrible state, covered in old food and feces, with bugs crawling all over her bed. The room was so dark that it was only after cracking open the window that the officers were able to see the extent of the horror. The first crack of sunlight that Blanche had seen in 25 years illuminated the room filled with her own waste and rotting food.

Blanche was found in an unthinkable state of neglect and abuse. Stripped of her dignity, she was kept in stark nakedness, bound by chains to the bed that had been her prison for all these years. Her frail body, barely able to muster the strength to stand, weighed a mere 25 kilograms. A harrowing sight met the eyes of her rescuers: Blanche, a human being reduced to a pitiful existence, was surrounded by the detritus of her own life. She lay amidst the filth she had been forced to live in — feces and the remnants of rotten scraps served as her meals.

After being rescued, the frail and frightened Blanche was taken to a hospital where staff reported her to be severely malnourished. Despite her ordeal, she seemed to retain some clarity, expressing joy in breathing fresh air again, saying, “How lovely it is.”

Imprisoned for Love

What led to such a tragic end? As it turned out, at the age of 25, Blanche fell in love and wished to marry her beloved. However, Louise, her mother, disapproved of her daughter marrying a “penniless lawyer,” and in an act of unthinkable control, locked Blanche in a tiny dark room in their attic.

As years turned into decades, Blanche clung to the hope of seeing the sun again. Despite her lover’s death, she remained locked in her room, her only company being rats and lice. Astonishingly, none of the family servants or her brother sought to help her. Rumors suggest it was a servant who finally exposed the secret by informing her boyfriend, who subsequently wrote the anonymous letter to the attorney general.

Blanche Monnier's Newspaper

The New York Times published on June 9 read: “Time passed, and Blanche was no longer young. The attorney she so loved died in 1885. During all that time the girl was confined in the lonely room, fed with scraps from the mother’s table–when she received any food at all.  Her only companions were the rats that gathered to eat the hard crusts that she threw up on the floor.  Not a ray of light penetrated her dungeon, and what she suffered can only be surmised.”

What Happened to Blanche Monnier’s Mother?

Following the discovery, Louise was arrested but died 15 days later, supposedly after seeing an angry mob outside her house. Blanche’s brother, Marcel Monnier, was also put on trial. He claimed his mother was the sole ruler of the family, thus deflecting responsibility.

Marcel, himself a lawyer, appealed against his 15-month sentence, claiming he had never acted violently towards his sister. His appeal was successful as French law did not recognize failing to free someone as a crime unless you were the one who imprisoned them.

Sadly, Blanche continued to struggle with mental health issues after her rescue. She was diagnosed with multiple disorders, including anorexia nervosa, schizophrenia, exhibitionism, and coprophilia. This led to her admission into a psychiatric hospital in Blois, France, where she lived until her death in 1913.

The horrifying story of Blanche Monnier sent shockwaves across France. As a result, the Monnier family, once considered the epitome of respectability, had to retreat into hiding to escape the public’s wrath. Blanche’s tragic life serves as a chilling reminder of how cruelty can sometimes lurk behind the façade of respectability.

Funeral Workers reveal the Strangest and Most Mysterious cases they’ve ever worked on and one of them includes –  a guy who committed suicide by kicking out the back window, tying a long rope to a tree, running the rope through the empty window, tied it around his neck, then floored it across this field, decapitating himself when the rope snapped taut.

Share Your Thoughts

Average Ratings 0 / 5. 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Tell us how we can improve this post?