Was the oldest person to have ever lived a con artist?
She lived to be the world’s oldest woman at 122 — but Jeanne Calment was plagued by speculation that she deceived the world.
Oldest Person to Have Lived?
Who was Jeanne Calment?
Jeanne Calment was born in Arles on February 21, 1875, to a shipbuilder and a miller. She also had an older brother who lived to 97. At around age 14, she claims to have met Vincent van Gogh and complained that he was very ugly. She finished school at 16 with an GED O-level (known then as a brevet classique diploma). At the age of 21, she married her 28-year-old second cousin Fernand Calment, who had been trying to date her since she was 15. Jeanne lived a leisure lifestyle of fencing and cycling since Fernand was the heir to a drapery business. She gave birth to her daughter, Yvonne, on January 19. 1898. Despite Fernand and Jeanne’s frequent summer hunting trips, she was quoted that she disliked shooting birds. Her only grandchild was born on December 23, 1926, when she was 51-years-old.
By the year 1963, at the age of 88, Calment had no living family left. However, she signed a life estate contract that earned her around $500 a month for the next thirty years. She became the oldest living person in 1987 and the oldest person ever in 1995. Age verification was tricky as her documents and photographs were burned by a cousin of her grandson. However, there were enough population censuses and family links to the local Catholic boroughs to confirm the evidence. They also interviewed her for a year to confirm details relating to relatives, locations, and people she employed.
Calment died on August 4, 1997, at the age of 122. Despite the in-depth research, Nikolay Zak wrote a 2018 paper accusing Yvonne of assuming her mother’s identity after her supposed death in 1934. However, the accusations were swiftly debunked due to the mountain of evidence that supporter her identity. Today, she is still the oldest person to have ever lived.