To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Horrific story of woman who was held captive for 25 years by her own mother

Horrific story of woman who was held captive for 25 years by her own mother

Blanche Monnier was forced to face the consequences of her mother after dating a man she didn't approve of

Warning: This article contains content which some readers may find distressing.

A French woman was trapped in her own home for 25 years after making a love match that her mother disproved of.

The late Blanche Monnier was born on March 1, 1849, in Poitiers, France to a respectable, middle-class family.

It’s said that the Monniers, who lived in a three-story manor home, were a well-known clan whose conservative ancestors were reportedly integral to establishing the small town.

Ruling the roost was matriarch Louise who wanted her socialite daughter to find a suitable husband.

However, it’s alleged that she began to feel disgruntled as Blanche turned down a stream of suitors during courting season.

In 1876, Blanche turned 27 and expressed the desire to marry an older lawyer, whom Louise had deemed ‘penniless’.

Blanche Monnier was imprisoned by her mother Louise. (Apic/Getty Images)
Blanche Monnier was imprisoned by her mother Louise. (Apic/Getty Images)

Due to the anonymous man allegedly being disliked by the mother-of-two, Blanche was forbidden from seeing him - but that didn’t stop her.

It’s said that the woman continued to date this older law practitioner and rumors of their relationship began to circulate around Poitiers.

In March 1875, Louise was seemingly angry with her daughter’s defiance and experienced her final straw after Blanche returned to the family home after another meeting with the lawyer.

Following the rendezvous, Blanche mysteriously went missing and soon the town began questioning where the popular young woman had gone.

The Monniers claimed that their daughter had been sent to a medical facility for mental health problems and the lawyer eventually died not knowing the fate of his beloved.

But Blanche wasn’t institutionalised - she was being kept under lock and key at the Monniers manor.

It’s said that in 1901, the office of the Paris Attorney General of France received a harrowing letter from an anonymous source.

The correspondence, written in French, has since been translated to English and reads: “Monsieur Attorney General: I have the honor to inform you of an exceptionally serious occurrence.

Blanche died a decade after being freed. (Caras y Caretas)
Blanche died a decade after being freed. (Caras y Caretas)

“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.”

Despite being sceptical about the initial message, officials were later deployed to the Monniers home where Louise admitted that the allegations were correct.

She took the inspectors up to the third floor where Blanche had been kept as a malnourished prisoner for 25 years.

One policeman later recounted that Blanche was ‘lying completely naked on a rotten straw mattress’ surrounded by a 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," he continued. "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."

Following the discovery of Blanche, Louise was arrested and the woman was taken to hospital where it was thought she could die due to lack of sustenance.

Louise claimed that her daughter had become ill and suffered a mental breakdown and that she did ‘all she could’ to keep her alive.

Unfortunately, Louise never faced trial as she died 15 days after her capture, at the age of 75.

Instead, her son and Blanche’s brother, Marcel Monnier, appeared in court and was initially convicted of criminal confinement and the torture of his sister.

He maintained his innocence but was later sentenced to serve 15 months behind bars.

However, he was eventually acquitted on appeal; he was deemed mentally incapacitated and judges found a ‘duty to rescue’ did not exist in legislation.

Following Blanche’s hospital stay, she regained weight and partially recovered from her horrifying ordeal.

She suffered from anorexia nervosa and schizophrenia and lived out the rest of her life in a sanitarium.

Blanche died on October 13, 1913 at the age of 64 and became the subject of author André Gide’s 1930 book, La Séquestrée de Poitiers.

It’s said that the Nobel Prize in Literature-winning writer changed little of this haunting tale but the name of the protagonists.

Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Topics: History, France, Mental Health, Health