Mamamia's Extraordinary Stories series deep dives into the kind of tales you will keep thinking about long after you've read them. From unexplained mysteries to moments that have changed history, Extraordinary Stories will take you down the rabbit hole and make you never want to leave.
Blanche Monnier had an enviable reputation in her early twenties.
Described by acquaintances as "very gentle and good-natured", the French socialite was raised by a well-respected, wealthy family from Poitiers, France.
As part of a prominent family in Parisian high society, Blanche Monnier attracted dozens of potential suitors for marriage.
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But at 25, the French socialite seemingly disappeared without a trace.
In the years that followed, Blanche's mother, Madame Louise Monnier, and Blanche's brother, Marcel, publicly mourned her disappearance. (Blanche's father, Emile Monnie, had died a few years earlier.) Likewise, Blanche's friends had no idea where she was.
Eventually, high society moved on. Many believed that Blanche had simply run away to start a new life. But 25 years later, there was a chilling development in the case.
On May 23, 1901, the Paris Attorney General received an anonymous letter.
"I have the honour to inform you of an exceptionally serious occurrence," the letter read.
"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 24 years – in a word, in her own filth."
Almost immediately, police officers went to inspect the house.
After Louise attempted to deny the police entry to the family's estate, the police forced their way inside.
On the second floor of the house, police discovered a dark, foul-smelling room.