(NY DAILY NEWS) – At least twice a week, an 8-year-old Maude Julien was made to grasp an electric fence for 10 minutes at a time without betraying any feeling — no twitching or grimacing, not even a blink.
The cruel ritual, supervised by her father, was considered a test of her willpower as he sought to turn her into the “ultimate survivor.”
“I held on with both hands, and it was most important to show no reaction at the moment of the power surges,” recalled Julien, now 60, to The Post. “I had to stay impassive.”
As if that weren’t disturbing enough, once a month, the little girl was locked overnight in a rat-infested cellar to “meditate about death.”
Julien, now a grandmother living in Paris, has chronicled her horrifying childhood in the memoir “The Only Girl in the World” (Little Brown, out Tuesday).
According to the book, she spent 18 years being mind-controlled by her paranoid dad, who belonged to an esoteric lodge of Freemasonry that dabbled in the occult and subscribed to a mishmash of oddball philosophies. He believed in a fallen world and thought that there would one day be an uprising of evil. In his mind, Maude had been chosen as a leader and his protector.
“He was most definitely insane and an alcoholic,” said Julien of her father, Louis Didier, who died in 1981 at age 79.
Didier, who became relatively wealthy from selling transport stock after World War II, created Maude for his own twisted purposes. It started when he adopted a 6-year-old girl, Jeannine, in 1936, then groomed her to become his wife.
In November 1957, Jeannine gave birth to the child whom her husband would put through experiments to raise the perfect “superhuman.”
The trio lived in an isolated mansion in northern France, where Julien was home-schooled and subjected to Didier’s countless “endurance tests.” These ranged from being dangled over a cliff and assisting in the slaughter of livestock, to drinking whiskey before having to walk in a straight line.