A 350-year-old French mystery has been solved.
Paul Sonnino, a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, claims he has discovered the identity of the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask, MSN News reported.
The age-old mystery began in 1669, when a man wearing a mask was imprisoned for more than three decades before dying in 1703. His identity was kept secret throughout his imprisonment, according to Sonnino.
But now that secret is out.
In his new book, "The Search for the Man in the Iron Mask: A Historical Detective Story" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), Sonnino claims he has uncovered the identity of the mysterious man.
"They [historians] are pretty much in agreement that his name was Eustache Dauger, that he only occasionally wore the mask and that when he did wear a mask, it was velvet, not iron," Sonnino said in a statement. "They are also quite sure that he was a valet. What they have not been able to figure out is whose valet he was, and for what possible reason he was held under tight security for over 30 years."
The mystery had even stumped famed philosopher Voltaire and writer Alexandre Duma. Historians have discounted their theories that the masked man was the twin brother of Louis XIV, according to Sonnino.
In his new book, Sonnino details historical records, correspondence regarding the prisoner and much more. His research lead him to believe that Dauger was a valet for the treasurer of Cardinal Mazarin, who was the principal minister of France during Louis XIV’s early years.
Mazarin had accumulated a huge fortune, leading Sonnino to believe that the valet became suspicious. Sonnino believes Dauger thought some of that fortune was stolen.
"What I was able to determine was that Mazarin had ripped off some of his huge fortune from the previous king and queen of England …" Sonnino said. "Dauger must have blabbed at the wrong time. He was informed, when arrested, that if he revealed his identity to anyone, he would immediately be killed."
While the identity of the Man in the Iron Mask might finally be revealed, it is still unclear why his identity remained veiled for so long.
"Life does not make sense," Sonnino said. "Humans are much more complicated than that."