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Arles is not a large city, there were about 30k people in the 30's. The Calments were a rich, notable family. I have a hard time imagining that nobody would've noticed the daughter becoming the wife, but I suppose it's not entirely implausible.

>Really? If you're going to go assume someone else's identity with their cooperation and you're not stupid you're going to find out every little detail about their past life and remember it.

The only motive they managed to dig up for the potential daughter/mother swap was to avoid inheritance taxes. Would they really go through all that effort for something like that? Would the administration really start asking such minute details about Jeanne's life to make sure that it was indeed her? How would they have even known to ask for something like that? It wasn't some young jew trying to evade the Gestapo during WW2, it was (presumably) a rich family trying to avoid taxes. It doesn't really add up to me. Actually it sounds like a world of troubles to avoid paying taxes to me, but who knows, rich people are weird.

More generally I agree that her age is extremely anomalous and as such it warrants some skepticism and there might be something hiding underneath all that. Still, at this point we have decades of researchers who have investigated her case and found nothing weird, and then these two Russian researchers who built this theory comparing old photographs and making Facebook polls asking their friends who they thought looked more like Jeanne on the pictures (it's literally in their paper, I'm not making it up).

It's possible that it's true but the evidence so far is extremely circumstantial and rather weak. The most compelling argument is effectively "people don't live to 122, so something fishy is going on". I suppose it's worth considering.

> It doesn't really add up to me. Actually it sounds like a world of troubles to avoid paying taxes to me, but who knows, rich people are weird.

I'm not commenting on the plausibility of this woman assuming her mother's identity in 1934 to avoid taxation.

I'm pointing out that the comment about her supposed daughter knowing the name of her mother's math teacher doesn't make any sense as a refutation of those events if we otherwise assume them to be plausible, which that part of the Smithsonian article does.

Yes she's not fleeing the Gestapo, she's allegedly trying to avoid paying taxes. Are we to think that someone who's otherwise keeping up such a ruse wouldn't have thought that it could unravel because she doesn't know the name of her high school's best friend's sister's boyfriend or whatever?

Even if she hadn't thought about that at the time this quote is based on an interview she had in 1990 when she was 115 years old. At that point she'd have had a lot of time to consider that maybe her tax fraud was going to destroy most of her assets and possibly land her in prison, so maybe doing some research on her mother's life was in order.

The husband of Jeanne Calment was a rich merchant, a very social job, highly exposed in a small city. That not a single person in the city would have noticed a switch between the 2 especially during the funeral of her daughter is very very unlikely.

The research of the 2 Russian guys who don’t speak a single word of french is full of very basic error and is rather of the level of the usual conspiracy theory (the city knew but everybody remained silent)

To give you an idea of the mindset of some people, and for how much they are ready to lie and deceive, I have this gem:


To give you an idea of the mindset of some people, read about all the theories about who Shakespeare "really" was, particularly Mark Twain's.

> and then these two Russian researchers

Fix: and then these two researchers

I only included the nationality because I thought it was relevant here for purely geographical and possibly linguistical reasons: they appear to be working from quite far away and not using primary sources for a lot of their work.

then say that. it’s more clear. no need to use nationality as a roundabout shorthand.

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