The Story of a Nightmare: Blanche Monnier - History Key

The Story of a Nightmare: Blanche Monnier

This won’t be a very typical and common story, but probably that is the reason for presenting it to you. How would you feel about staying locked in your house for an entire week? One month? One year?

It is hard to imagine, right? If so, follow this story in order to be amazed (more likely terrified). More exactly by what a human is capable to do to another human. By the way, the victim happens to be also the daughter of the torturer.

A forbidden marriage

The story starts in France and it is related to the name Blanche Monnier, also known as “la Séquestrée de Poitiers”. Everything started in Poitiers, France, when a young woman decided to marry a lawyer. But what could be wrong with this scenario? A young woman and a lawyer, having a family and very probably many years of happy life together.

Like in many other situations, the biggest problem related to the couple’s desire of marry and having a family was coming from a mother, Blanche Monnier’s mother, who was totally against the marriage.

It is true, the lawyer was older than Blanche, and even broke, so for Blanche’s aristocratic mother the situation was too much and impossible to accept. He adopted an extreme solution in order to avoid her daughter’s will: she locked Blanche in a small room located in the attic of their home, and Blanche remained there for a very long period.


Blanche Monnier in the day she was discovered
Blanche Monnier in the day she was discovered ©

“My mother is my enemy”

Blanche was a young, beautiful and socialite figure, which made the only mistake to go against her mother’s will. Madame Monnier, Blanche’s mother, was very probably affected by the possible gossips caused by the marriage of the precious daughter with a broke lawyer, but also the sick for affection could be taken into consideration, an affection that made Madame Monnier keep her daughter only for her, for as long as possible.

Blanche disappeared in 1876 at the age of 25. After a while, when everyone became convinced that very probably she run away to begin a new life, in another city, everything settled. Her mother and brother mourned her for some time, but they eventually go on with their “normal lives”, even if they were hiding a hideous secret.

The anonymous tip came after 25 years

Fortunately, someone who knew the terrible story reported it to the office of the general attorney of Paris, writing this anonymous letter on May 23, 1901:

“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”

The letter caused a detailed investigation, which eventually led to the discovery of the secret room in which Blanche was locked. When the police arrived at the Monnier residence, they noticed a padlocked door in the attic area, and a terrible smell coming from its direction, but more likely from behind it.

They found Blanche covered in food and feces, looking almost like a corpse, having a weight of only 55 pounds. She was locked there for 25 years, without seeing the sunlight or another human being.

A witness report from the time of the horrible discovery:

“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,’ he went on. ‘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”

The anonymous letter, which led to Blanche's discovery
The anonymous letter, which led to Blanche’s discovery ©


Blanche’s mother was immediately arrested, while Marcel, Blanche’s brother, even if initially sentenced to 15 months in prison, left free, acquitted on claims that Blanche could have left the room anytime, but she chose not to. Marcel Monnier was also considered mentally incapacitated.

Madame Monnier confessed the abduction and died in prison 15 days after Blanche’s release.

Representation of Madame Monnier's deathbed
Representation of Madame Monnier’s deathbed ©

After her release from the horror room, Blanche had several mental problems, and she was eventually transferred to a psychiatric hospital in Boise, where she died in 1913.

Blanche, few years after her recovery
Blanche, few years after her recovery ©

A terrible story, almost unbelievable but sadly true. Apparently about wrong decisions related to love, but in this case, the only wrong love decision was made by Madame Monnier, and not by Blanche.

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