This article will be taking a look at the rather disturbing case of Mademoiselle Blanche Monnier – the girl that was imprisoned in a homemade dungeon for a quarter of a century…
Blanche Monnier was a French girl that was locked up in a ‘house dungeon’ for 25 years. During this time, she was forced to live with pests, rats and human excrement.
She was eventually discovered, and saved, on May the 23rd, 1901, when the Paris Attorney General received an anonymous letter. This letter explained that Blanche was being held captive at 21 rue de la Visitation street.
The property was owned by a wealthy, and well known 75-year-old widower named Madame Louise Monnier Demarconnay. Her son, Marcel Monnie, also lived there with her.
The local authorities did not take the letter too seriously at first – Demarconnay was a well known figure in the community and couldn’t possibly have anything to do with this sort of thing…
But they were wrong.
A few workers in the Attorney General’s office suddenly remembered that Blanche Monnier, Demarconnay’s daughter, had disappeared suddenly when she was 25 years old.
A group of police were eventually sent to 21 rue de la Visitation street, and they discovered an emaciated Blanche Monnier lying in a pool of feces in an upstairs bedroom that had been converted into a homemade dungeon.
Blanche was now aged 49, and she was completely deranged – she lay on the bed with her head hidden underneath the sheets, petrified of the police presence.
She hadn’t been outside this room, or anywhere near sunlight, in 25 years.
Blanche Monnier was quickly wrapped up in a clean blanket and rushed off to the nearest hospital (Hôtel-Dieu Hospital).
Blanche’s mother, 75-year-old Madame Monnier, was sitting downstairs during these events – calmly reading in her elaborate dressing gown as the police rushed through the house.
Once Blanche was safely out of the house, police started questioning Madame Monnier and her son Marcel Monnie.
When doctors at the hospital first set eyes on Blanche, they thought she would not manage to last the night. They were wrong.
Blanche somehow went from strength to strength, and took great pleasure at being washed and able to breathe clean air. Unfortunately, she had a terrible aversion to light due to her captivity.
The doctors knew she was slightly deranged, but they found her to be a peaceful soul that was thankful of her rescue and release.
Her brother argued that she was foul, angry, overly excited, and full of rage. The doctors did not agree with this statement at all.
Imprisoned For Love
The investigation finally uncovered sections of the truth. Apparently, Blanch Monnier fell in love with an older attorney who lived nearby when she was 25. Some reports suggest that she may of been pregnant with his child – but there is no proof to this claim.
Madame Monnier wanted her daughter out of this relationship at once…but Blanche would not listen, she was going to marry this lowly attorney.
Madame Monnier and her son decided to lock Blanche away in her room, until the penniless attorney was dead and out of the picture.
He eventually died in 1885…but Madame Monnier and her son decided to keep the daughter locked up in her room.
Blanche’s mother, Madame Monnier Demarconnay, was arrested the day after the discovery and imprisoned at around six o’clock in the evening. Numerous groups of locals hounded the prison looking for revenge on the twisted old lady. The police finally had to move her to the infirmary, where she unexpectedly died 15 days later.
Marcel stood trial alone and ended up getting a 15 month prison sentence…but he successfully appealed this and was released a free man.
Blanche never regained her sanity, and died in a Blois psychiatric hospital in 1913, 12 years after she was rescued.
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