Blanche Monnier, shortly after being discovered in the room in which she was secretly incarcerated
|Born||1 March 1849|
|Died||13 October 1913 (aged 64)|
|Other names||la Séquestrée de Poitiers|
|Known for||Having been secretly incarcerated|
Blanche Monnier (1 March 1849 – 13 October 1913), often known in France as la Séquestrée de Poitiers, was a woman from Poitiers, France, who was secretly kept locked in a small room by her mother for 25 years. Monnier had, according to officials, not seen sunlight for her entire captivity.
Monnier was a French socialite from a well-respected family in Poitiers, France. In 1876, at the age of 25, she wanted to marry a lawyer who was not to her mother's liking. Her mother argued that Monnier could not marry a “penniless lawyer”. Her disapproving mother locked her in a tiny room in the attic of their home, where she kept her secluded for 25 years. Her mother and brother continued on with their daily lives, pretending to mourn her loss. None of her friends knew where she was and the lawyer she wished to marry eventually died in 1885. On 23 May 1901, the Paris Attorney General received an anonymous letter that revealed the incarceration.[a] Monnier was rescued by police from appalling conditions, covered in food and feces, with bugs all around the bed and floor, weighing barely 50 pounds (23 kg).
Her mother was arrested, became ill shortly afterwards, and died 15 days later after seeing an angry mob gather in front of her house. Her brother Marcel Monnier appeared in court, and was initially convicted, but later was acquitted on appeal; Marcel Monnier was mentally incapacitated, and although the judges criticized his choices, they found that a "duty to rescue" did not exist in the penal code at that time.
- In 1930, André Gide published a book about the incident, named La Séquestrée de Poitiers, changing little but the names of the protagonists. According to Hervé Guibert this book was a great influence on the young Michel Foucault.
- Genie: Another case of a young girl who was also kept socially isolated by her parents until the age of 13 years.
- List of kidnappings
- List of people who disappeared
- “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.”
- Vivi, Janouin-Benanti. La Séquestrée De Poitiers: Une Affaire Judiciaire Sans Précédent (in French) ISBN 978-2914474009
- Pujolas, Marie (27 February 2015). "En tournage, un documentaire sur l'incroyable affaire de "La séquestrée de Poitiers"" (in French). France Télévisions.
- "Jacques Pradel et RTL reviennent sur l'incroyable histoire de la Séquestrée de Poitiers" (in French). Charente Libre. 19 May 2015.
- Moreillon, Laurent. L'infraction par omission, Librairie Droz, 1993, p. 65, (in French)
- "Pascal Audoux dévoile les mystères du Loir-et-Cher" (in French). La Nouvelle Republique. 25 April 2015.
- Levy, Audrey (21 April 2015). "Destins de femmes: Ces Poitevines plus ou moins célèbres auront marqué l'Histoire" (in French). Le Point.
- English sources
- Radeska, Tijana (5 January 2018). "Blanche Monnier was imprisoned in a tiny room for 25 years because her mother hated her choice of husband". The Vintage News.
- "The Story of a Nightmare: Blanche Monnier". History Key.
- "She imprisoned daughter, Girl Kept in a Dungeon Twenty-five Years Because She Was True to Her Sweetheart". New York Times. 9 June 1901. Retrieved 12 October 2017.