An anonymous group of French investigators called "4ème Oeil Corporation" (4th Eye Corporation) exposed the truth about acclaimed serial killer expert Stéphane Bourgoin.
The group's digital investigation found that the French author pulled off a decades-long con by convincing much of the world into believing his wife had been raped and murdered in 1976 by a serial killer.
Bourgoin had long been regarded as an expert on murderers and often lectured police on the subject.
He also critiqued media depictions of serial killers.
The author of 40 true crime novels claimed to have interviewed 70 serial killers—including Charles Manson—and said he had undergone extensive training at the FBI's base in Quantico, Virginia, and fabricated the 1976 murder of a wife who never existed.
In many interviews spanning a period of over three decades, he almost always mentioned his fictitious wife, "Eileen" from California, whose body he discovered was "cut up in pieces."
The serial liar confessed to being a "mythomaniac"—a compulsive liar—in interviews with two French publications and admitted that none his long-held statistics were true, including once being a professional footballer.
His reason for lying and exaggerating about his life? It was because he said he never really felt loved—an eerily similar excuse reminiscent of the serial killers he studied.
Last week, he told Paris Match in his first interview:
"My lies have weighed me down. I have arrived at the balance-sheet time."
He also told le Parisien about his regrets about lying.
"I completely admit my faults. I am ashamed to have lied, to have concealed things."
The death of his imagined wife was modeled on a 24-year-old victim from California named Susan Bickrest—who was killed in 1975 by convicted serial killer Gerald Stano.
Stano—whose given birth name was Paul Zeininger—confessed to killing 41 people and received eight life sentences after being found guilty of nine murders. He was executed on March 23, 1998 in Florida State Prison.
Bourgoin claimed to have met Bickrest at a bar in Daytona beach, Florida.
"It was bullsh*t that I took on. I didn't want people to know the real identity of someone who was not my partner, but someone who I had met five or six times in Daytona Beach, and who I liked."
In an interview with Le Figaro:
"All these lies are absolutely ridiculous because if we objectively take stock of my work, I think it was enough in itself."
He plans to seek psychological counseling and apologized to the public.
"I am profoundly and sincerely sorry. I am ashamed of what I did, it's absolutely ridiculous."
The 4th Eye Corporation's Facebook page described themselves as an "anonymous collective" whose "sole purpose is to re-establish the truth and to wash away the honor of the victims."
The book Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters is available here.