At some point in time, we all have wished to have some superpower. Whether it be wishing that we could cast a cruel spell over our enemies like Harry Potter, reading people’s minds like Professor X or moving objects with our minds like Eleven from Stranger Things.
There is something very appealing and intriguing about having the ability to perform acts that the human body is incapable of, and this why millions of us flock to the cinema every time a new superhero movie hits the screen and the same intrigue that has us buying futuristic gadgets.
However, we are very well aware of the fact that it’s not possible for us to exhibit the same supernatural powers as Wonder Woman or Spider-Man, so we settle to live vicariously through them. But, for one French man, this wasn’t good enough.
Louis Didier was convinced that he could condition his daughter into becoming ‘superhuman’ by forcing her to perform painful, cruel and humiliating stunts. Now, decades on from her horrific ordeal, she has finally found the strength to talk it out.
Maude Julien, now 60 years old, was subjected to endless abuse from her alcoholic father, who would make her grab hold of an electric fence twice a week without betraying any sign of pain or emotion.
Didier, who kept Maude trapped in his mansion in the north of France, would also lock her in a rat-infested cellar where he demanded she “meditates about death.” Not content with these experiments alone, he’d also dangle her off a cliff top as part of sickening endurance tests, and make her drink neat whiskey before forcing her to walk in a straight line.
Didier’s plans to make her the “ultimate survivor” also meant that Maude was banned from any human affection. Cuddling her mother, who lived with them, was strictly off limits.
Maude’s mother remained passive to all of her husband’s experiments because she was also a victim of his sadistic behavior.