Jeanne 101: the ADHD version
“I saw your Jeanne Calment posts but didn’t have time to read your articles. Looked very cool! Can you just give me a quick rundown?”
Ok, I get it. You are a busy person, time is of the essence and oh, look, a squirrel! Jeanne the Imposter story looks interesting but not that interesting — at least not enough to devote an entire hour of your life to. No problem! Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version. Or Coles Notes, as we say in Canada.
So Jeanne Calment is known as the oldest human who ever lived. She is a bit of a rock star in gerontology. She was born in 1875 and allegedly died in 1997. Here are her undisputed photos:
Now, Jeanne had a daughter, Yvonne, born in 1898. Here they are together:
Clearly, Jeanne is the older, underweight lady on the right. Which means that Yvonne is on the left. But don’t take my word for it: after Jeanne’s identity theft hypothesis had caused a media storm in France, some new photos of Jeanne and Yvonne have emerged. Amazingly, another common photo of mother and daughter has surfaced, and in it Yvonne is wearing the exact same national costume as in the photo that was previously attributed to Jeanne:
Luckily, the photo above is signed on the back:
So although until just a few weeks ago, all sources but one erroneously labeled the person below as “Jeanne at 22” — most likely based on the corresponding label in the 1988 Paris Match interview — this is Yvonne Calment:
Nice shoes! Anyways, if that is Yvonne above, then so is this in the common older photo:
Here’s the interesting part: Yvonne had supposedly died in 1934 from a lung condition. Some sources say she had been wasting away from it (tuberculosis?) for years. But if Yvonne had died at age 36, then who is this?
All known sources label this photo as Jeanne, but doesn’t this lady look much more like Yvonne?
She does to me. The plucked eyebrows and the skin flap over the right eye look very similar:
Moreover, she shares many other features with Yvonne — the long, wide neck, the meaty nose (which drooped with age), the lips, similar cheekbones and nasolabial folds (smile lines), large forehead, the round shape of the face, the bridge of the nose. The parts circled in red and green are essentially identical — the jugular notch and the chin:
Young Yvonne bears close resemblance to old Jeanne as well:
“So are you saying it was the mother who died in 1934 and the daughter took her identity?” Precisely. Why? To prevent her father from having to pay considerable inheritance tax on their family store — something he would be liable for if it were Jeanne who died. So obviously the father would have been the mastermind behind the identity switch. Most likely, he would have put this plan in place months in advance, especially if Jeanne had been slowly deteriorating over a span of several years from a lung ailment.
The ADHD rundown stops here. But there are many other inconsistencies in Jeanne’s story. Different ears between young and old Jeanne, mismatch in eye color on her ID, an overly young picture in that ID card and lots more. It’s a fascinating story — you really should read the unabridged articles. Or at least scroll through them:
- Part 1:
J’Accuse…! Why Jeanne Calment’s 122-year old longevity record may be fake
Did Jeanne’s daughter get away with stealing her mother’s identity?
- Part 2:
- Part 3: