Alexa Blanche Monnier spent 25 yrs locked up just for love

Dhaka, Wednesday   23 October 2019


Blanche Monnier spent 25 yrs locked up just for love

 Dhrubo Ekramul

 Published: 03:19 PM, 12 September 2019   Updated: 03:57 PM, 12 September 2019

Blanche Monnier

Blanche Monnier

Familial clashes based on Romance are frequently seen in the films. Most of the time it is seen that one side doesn’t accept easily the choice of their son or daughters because of the family class. Even sometimes they punished by their family and finally, the relationship goes in vain. Today, we’ll know about such a story where a girl was punished by detaining in a tiny room for 25 years for the crime of falling in love.

Blanche Monnier was a beautiful lady belonged to a reputed French family. In 1876, she was 25. Young Monnier was fallen in love with an older lawyer who lived nearby. She wanted to marry him. But her mother Madame Monnier didn’t like her daughter’s choice. She argued that her daughter could not marry a ‘Penniless Lawyer’. So, she strictly opposed her to marry that guy. 

Her mother Monnier locked her in a tiny room until she moved away from her will. She tried to change Blanche’s mind to forbid her decision, plot against her, but no success came. Blanche was firmed at her decision.

Young Blanche Monnier

Gradually Blanche’s name had lost from the earth. Nobody, even not her friends knew where she was. Her family claimed that she had been disappeared. Her mother and brother mourned her and continued their daily lives. Her lover died in 1885. But, Blanche continued her prison life in her own house without sunlight. She was only being fed scraps from her mother’s meals. Only rats were her company in her locked room.

It was not only her or mother and brother who knew that plot. The servants worked at their house often heard the pleas of Blanche, but, they feared being arrested in this offense. So they didn’t disclose the matter outside.

On May 23, 1901, the Attorney General of Paris received a letter at his office from an anonymous. The note was handwritten and unsigned. Later with that letter, he disclosed the dirty secret of Monnier family which was unexpected and unbelievable. He couldn’t think of such a dirty crime of such a reputed family.

Attorney General of Paris received a letter on May 23, 1901, about detained Blanche Monnier

Madam Monnier was known in Parisian high society for her charitable works. Even she had received a community award in recognition of her generous contributions. Her son, Marcel, had excelled at school and worked as a respectable lawyer.

The letter contained these words— “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 attorney general was so disturbed by the letter’s contents. Police were also shocked by that letter. And then they decided to investigate immediately. 

A group of officers broke into Monnier’s house. After searching the premises and upstairs they noticed a padlocked door. When they removed the lock, a horrifying smell filled their noses. They were unprepared for such horrors that had laid within.

Policemen rescued Blanche Monnier-- chained with bed and covered in her own filth

The room was extremely dark. The only window of the room was locked and hidden behind the thick curtains. The room was so overwhelmingly dark and full of odor that one of the officers immediately ordered to break the window open. In the sunlight, the policemen identified that the horrendous odor was due to the rotting scraps of food that scattered on the floor surrounding a senile bed. Blanche Monnier was chained with that bed and was covered in her own filth. 

Blanche’s beauty had been lost, she got older. Not only this. She was looked tearing, not as a human being. Because at her 50 years old she was only 50 pounds.

New York Times published an article on June 9, 1901, wrote: “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 upon the floor.  Not a ray of light penetrated her dungeon, and what she suffered can only be surmised.”

Blanche was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Her mother was immediately arrested but died in prison after only 15 days being ill. Before her death, she confessed to the inhumane treatment of her daughter.

Newspapers published articles regarding Blanche Monnier, who was locked up in her room by her mother for 25 years

Blanche’s brother, Marcel was sentenced to 15 months in prison, accused of being his mother’s accomplice. But later he got release, as he never physically restricted his sister’s movement. But, her brother claimed that they didn’t forcefully detain her, she was not interested to move from there.

However according to some people, Marcel was the anonymous author of the letter.  Another rumor claimed, a servant wanted to reveal this secret by a slip to her boyfriend. But he was so horrified that he went straight to the Attorney General. But, who was the real author of that letter cannot be said exactly.

Though she was rescued from her brutal imprison life, never regained her sanity. She suffered some lasting psychological damage after her a quarter of century-long imprisonment.  On October 13, 1913, twelve years later she died in a psychiatric hospital of Blois in France.