Amnesia Wiki
Advertisement
Amnesia Wiki
Rebirth-talk
"Please, call me Monsieur Florbelle."
This article is about a subject that lacks an official name. They're known only by their nickname, title, or alias.

We all appreciate symmetry. Everyone is comforted by the causality of logic. It gives the impression of a grand plan and that we may be able to grasp the inner workings of this perfect universe.

Monsieur Florbelle[src]

Monsieur Florbelle (died 1839) was a French nobleman, researcher, and experimental psychologist; specialising on the topic of the "natural developing mind",[5] making him one of the pioneers in experimental psychology. A widower and single father, he conducted many of his experiments on his daughter, Justine Florbelle, leading to her estrangement and eventually his murder at her hands.[1][7]

History[]

Marriage, family, and widowing[]

I could never find the words to describe you. My tongue fails me as I try to deliver. You are gone, forever. The most painful of truths I have ever had to endure. You were my home, my fulcrum. All that remains is my work, and it has never felt so unfulfilling.

Monsieur Florbelle[src]

The circumstances of Florbelle's youth and upbringing remains unknown, but at some point, he fell in love with and got married to a Frenchwoman by the name of Madeleine, whose beauty he described as "blinding".[8] The two would come to live together on his family’s vast ancestral estate (which it can be deduced was located in or at the outskirts of either Calais or Paris),[9][10] and the Monsieur had great appreciation and love for everything his wife did – from the flowers she tended to in the gardens, to the fruits she grew in the orangery, to the poems she wrote. Monsieur Florbelle was a religious man, and he would often attend church with his wife.[3]

In 1827 or 1828, the couple had a daughter together, Justine, and a couple of years later, when their daughter was still very young, Madeleine passed away giving birth to their second child.[4] This caused Monsieur Florbelle immense grief and made it difficult for him to pursue his work, raise their daughter, or take care of his estate with its gardens.[3]

Justine scares me. How shall I raise her all by myself? (...) Our daughter is a shadow. I can no longer see her. I can only see you and me, together. It hurts. She is an image of us, she is us. When she is sad, it makes me mourn us. When she is happy it's like you are gone, like you never existed.

Monsieur Florbelle[src]

He would eventually come to project his grief regarding his lost relationship onto his young daughter, only able to see himself and the late Madeleine in her and her emotions. In writing, the way he describes his feelings towards his young daughter appear to alternate between ones of fear, ones of sadness, and ones of great joy and love. During this time, Thurston Herbert at one point offered to arrange a place for Justine at a "distinguished academy" in England, however Monsieur Florbelle eventually ended up rejecting this offer for fear of losing his will to live without his daughter present.[3]

Work, friends, and colleagues[]

Florbelle's conducted scholarly work on topics such as the human psyche alongside other experts, such as Dr. Victor Fournier.[6] His work as well as his status as a French nobleman meant that the name Florbelle carried with it a lot of notoriety, even outside French borders. One of his closest friends and most trusted confidants was British professor and archaeologist Thurston Herbert, with whom he'd correspond with regularly regarding both work and family life.[11][3][5]

It was possibly due to his friendship with Herbert which would lead him to come into the possession of a particular star-shaped soap stone. These soap stones are strongly connected to the Orbs, and can have strange effects on humans, being known to be able to cause humans to experience feeling "inspiration to the point of obsession". The properties of the soap-stone could be used to explain his obsession with the mind of his young daughter.[12][2][13]

She definitely reads things into the slides I had not foreseen. Her remarkable imagination turns the characters into just about anything and she is able to effortlessly reduce all her experiences into one of the four character slides.

Monsieur Florbelle[src]

Experiments on Justine[]

A large part of Florbelle's work was dedicated to the study of the "natural developing mind", which he would come to use his daughter as a test subject for.[5] The cellar of the Florbelle estate had been extended well beyond the manor during the time of the French revolution, and it would come to serve as the perfect space for the Monsieur to conduct his research.[14]

One of the tests involved letting Justine pick a slide from a collection of slides featuring different scenarios – such as a man kneeling or holding a sword – for every day to represent her mood, and used this to study the ways her mind was developing.[12] These slides could be inserted into a "Light Box", essentially a projector, so the images could be displayed on the wall of the Florbelle Estate's library.[15] M. Florbelle found this experiment to be a great success.[16]

Another one of the experiments he performed involved a Puzzle Lock. The puzzle lock was a device which would only unlock itself if the two correct slides were inserted into it.[15] M. Florbelle found this experiment to be a failure, as Justine always picked the same two slides for this experiment.[16] Both the Light Box and the Puzzle Lock (or the Lumina Projection Box with accompanying Puzzle Lock) were purchased from a Boston-based American company known only as A.S. Inc.[15]

Stencil 03 the one kneeling

Slide 03: The One Kneeling

Florbelle would try to remain an impartial observer during these tests; but as time went on, he would find that his daughter's behaviour was becoming increasingly distraught and disturbing, as she would constantly come up with new ways to provoke a reaction from her father. Her behaviour eventually caused M. Florbelle to lash out at her her, which he stated would leave her feeling "terrified and humiliated";[1] and in a diary entry, Justine would analogize herself to the "one kneeling" in the slides.[12]

Determining that his "scientific indifference" to his daughters was at the root of her unruly behaviour, Florbelle decided his studies must come to an end in order to mend their relationship.[1]

It saddens me greatly to bring my studies to a close without seeing it to the end, but I can no longer justify my research, I have to mend my relationship with my daughter…

Monsieur Florbelle
(final words)[src]

Murder[]

On January 12, 1839, Thurston Herbert would send a letter to Florbelle, asking his friend to vouch for his passage into Algeria, where he was to go on an expedition. The professor would go on to offer his sympathies regarding the young Justine, suggesting that her behaviour might not solely be caused by experiences, but that her mind might be "stricken with disease without physiological sign".[5] Monsieur Florbelle would go on to contact the consulate, which sent Herbert the permission slips he needed to be allowed into Algeria.[1]

On February 2, 1839, Monsieur Florbelle walked into Justine's room and told her that she "shouldn't be ashamed", since she was only "[trying] to fill the void left by [her] mother".[12] He would then sit down to write a response letter to Herbert, where he mentioned how he was going to try and mend his troubled relationship with his daughter. In the middle of writing, Justine would pick up the star-shaped soap stone, and bludgeon her father over the head with it, killing him. He was buried in the crypt, in the cellar of his estate, which Justine would come to inherit.[1][7]

Stencil 02 the one with the sword

Slide 02: The One With the Sword

In a diary entry, Justine would analogize herself to the "one with the sword" in the slides, in reference to his murder.[12]

Post-death and legacy[]

On July 7, 1839, after Herbert's expedition to Algeria and his subsequent disappearance, Herbert's young assistant, Daniel—one of only two survivors of the ill-fated trip (the other being Abdullah)[17]—would discover Florbelle's name in Herbert's address book, and write him a letter describing the whole affair, asking if the Frenchman, as one of the professor's closest friends, could shed some light on his disappearance or the "cracked stone orb" Daniel had recovered from the temple they had discovered during the expedition.[18] However, due to the Monsieur's death, this letter would remain unopened for years until it was discovered by Justine ca. 20 years later.[11]

Father never knew me. He thought he did, but then he was frightened and nothing was ever the same again. I can still see him, lying there on the floor, he looked so surprised.

Despite the subject of his experiments and the questionable ethics under which they were conducted, Monsieur Florbelle appears to have been a well-respected member of the academic elite, with his friend Thurston Herbert remarking that "plenty of scholars" in London were "enthralled by [Florbelle's] hypothesizes" [sic], going on to say that several of said scholars considered Florbelle's idea of the natural developing mind "one of the most important ideas of the modern era". This would suggest that Florbelle's ideas had a rather significant influence on the field of psychology, at least within Great Britain – given, of course, that Herbert was being truthful in his statements, and not just buttering up his friend in order to hasten the process of getting the documents he needed for his upcoming Algerian expedition.[5]

AJ-MF-D

In or around 1858, Justine would create the Cabinet of Perturbation in the already expanded cellar of the Florbelle Estate, with the help of her maid and childhood friend Clarice.[19] The purported purpose of the cabinet was for her to study her own psyche, and the tests she would subject herself to in this cabinet would mirror many of the tests her father subjected her to during her childhood (such as with the illumination box and puzzle lock), except with a far more nefarious twist and with human lives at stake.[20][14]

Monsieur Florbelle

The corpse covered in chains hanging from the ceiling of the crypt

In preparation for this experiment, her father's corpse, along with the bodies of other people buried in the crypt, would be exhumed from their graves. One of these bodies, presumably her father's, would be covered in tarp, wrapped in chains, have a phonograph fastened to its head, and hung upside down from the ceiling of the final room of the vast cellar.[21] The phonograph would play a recording congratulating Justine for completing all the trials set out for her in the cabinet, should she make it all the way to the end.[22]

Some time in the mid-to-late 1850's, over 4,000 pages recovered from the ruins of Brennenburg Castle would be stolen during a break-in at the University of Königsberg archives. Almost 1,500 of these pages would be recovered amongst wealthy collectors in Paris, after what the police would come to call a "string of suicides among the aristocracy". How much this relates to Justine, or whether she can be implicated in this break-in or these subsequent apparent suicides, is unclear.[10]

Trivia[]

  • While examining the body hanging from the ceiling in the final room of the crypt, Justine will comment "That's me... isn't it? All covered in chains", which, working from the idea that this body is the exhumed body of Monsieur Florbelle, would suggest that she sees a lot of herself in her father.[23]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Unfinished Letter (Justine)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Phonograph: Congratulations (Justine)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Note written by Monsieur Florbelle after her passing (ARG)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Crypt Memories: Gravestone – Son (Justine)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Herbert’s Letter (Justine)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Phonograph: Dr. Fournier (Justine) – “I do hope you managed to save Monsieur Fournier. He was a friend and a colleague of my papa, you know.”
  7. 7.0 7.1 Phonograph: Congratulations (Justine)
  8. Crypt Memories: Statue - Beauty (Justine)
  9. A New Plan (Justine)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Note on the excavation of Brennenburg Castle (ARG)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Unopened Letter (Justine)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Soul Journal Entries (Justine)
  13. Remember: Old Friends – "(...) this stone has been in my family for something like three centuries, (...) It has fueled the men in my family with great spirit, but also madness. You know, inspiration to the point of obsession."
  14. 14.0 14.1 Justine: Library loading screens
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Shipment Slip (Justine)
  16. 16.0 16.1 Results (Justine)
  17. Daniel's Diary: 2 July 1839 (TDD)
  18. Daniel's Diary; 14 July 1839 (TDD)
  19. Note written by Monsieur Florbelle after her passing (ARG)
  20. Phonograph: Introduction (Justine)
  21. Screenshot: Body hanging from ceiling of the Crypt (Justine)
  22. Phonograph: End (Justine)
  23. Justine's dialogue: Triggered dialogue (Justine)

Navigation[]

Advertisement