Misconceptions Series:
Did Joan Survive as "Claude des Armoises"?

One of the theories popular with revisionists is the notion that Joan escaped execution and continued her exploits as a noblewoman named Claude des Armoises. A particularly unusual version of this was popularized in the ineffably surreal book "Operation Shepherdess", which combines a great many revisionist theories all in one package.

While there are many variations on the theme, the basic theory is ultimately derived from the fact that - as with many other famous figures throughout history - a series of "Joan impostors" who all physically resembled the real Joan (but, curiously, bore different names) began appearing some years after her death, and were each exposed as frauds in turn. Claude des Armoises was the most famous of these (Jehanne de Sermaize being another example of a successful impostor); but Claude herself admitted her imposture in 1440, both to Charles VII and publicly at Paris. Revisionists have carefully ignored the latter point while focusing on Claude as if she had been the only such impostor, which they use as an excuse to claim that she therefore must have been the genuine article. In some cases, revisionists will even claim that Jules Quicherat himself - who laid the foundation of so much of current Johannic studies - allegedly supported the theory, although Quicherat's series specifically refers to Claude as "the fake Joan of Arc" ("la fausse Jeanne d'Arc"), which rather clearly indicates his actual views on the matter.

While the various arguments which these authors use are legion - and not always terribly consistent - let's examine a few of the more prominent claims:

As a final note, let's take a brief look at the details by which Claude herself admitted that she was a fraud. According to Pierre Sala, she had made the mistake of meeting with Charles VII, who promptly asked her to reveal the "secret" that had been between himself and the real Joan, at which point Claude admitted her charade and begged for mercy. She additionally - according to the author of the "Journal d'un Bourgeois de Paris" - admitted the same before a public audience at Paris.

All of the above should suffice as a few examples of the evidence showing the theory - in its numerous forms - to be baseless.