Have we been thoroughly duped? Against the wily ways of the woman who currently holds the title of the world’s oldest woman in the Guinness Book of World Records, new claims of fraud have been brought forward against her and her family.
Jeanne Calment passed away in 1997 at the record-breaking age of 122 years and 164 days. A record which has stood undisputed since then. The typical resident of an assisted living facility is an 87-year-old woman who may be mobile but needs assistance with two or three regular day-to-day living activities. Jeanne Calment surpassed this age by a long way, but now some are saying that the record breaker wasn’t actually who she claimed to be.
Two researchers have brought forth what they find to be convincing enough evidence to substantiate their claim that Jeanne Calment wasn’t actually Jeanne Calment — but her 99-year-old daughter Yvonne Calment. Furthermore, they claimed that the family faked Jeanne’s age to avoid inheritance taxes after she supposedly died in 1934. Meanwhile, her daughter Yvonne assumed her identity for all those years afterward.
Their evidence isn’t very strong and is utterly dismissed by the gerontologist Jean-Marie Robine who helped confirm Jeanne Calment’s age in the 90s.
“All of this is incredibly shaking and rests on nothing. Do you have any idea how many people would have needed to lie? One Fernand Calment starts passing off his daughter as his wife? It’s preposterous,” Robine said regarding the accused lie of more than 80 years in length.
He went on to say that he’d used questions to confirm her age that Jeanne’s daughter simply could not have known, such as teacher names. After all, claiming to be born in 1875 isn’t something you hear every day. Nor does it seem plausible that information like that would be taught to a daughter to facilitate the lie of a life close to near a century old.
That said, there’s no way to tell the legitimacy or falsehood of it without having the bodies unearthed and tested. It’s uncertain whether that will be done.