Serial-Killer Specialist or a Con?
Long before the concept of mysterious killings and crime became a cultural vogue, author and bookseller Stephane Burgoin made it his mission to give masses an insight into the lives of serial killers.
More than 50 books, dozens of documentaries and an investigation which tinted his entire career, there’s a lot more to Burgoin that meets the eye.
Hold tight to your seatbelts as this article will tell you how this famed French crime writer went on to become one of the most famous yet controversial experts on serial killers.
Stephane Bourgoin: At a Glance
Accused of lying and presenting false evidence publicly
Stephane Bourgoin, born on 14 March 1953 in a family of 4 children headed by Jean Bourgoin is a famous French writer. He has been an expert on serial killers and has documented many prolific cases throughout his entire career.
Bourgoin’s mother was also quite a daring woman who was born in Germany in 1910. Jean on the other hand joined the French military when he was just 17.
He moved to the States in the 1970s where he met his girlfriend, who he claimed was killed and raped by a serial killer. This is what motivated him to understand what goes on in the minds of killers and spread awareness. So Bourgoin parlayed this into his newfound profession.
Bourgoin has authored 75 novels and was often consulted by French authorities when they needed help on certain cases. He even gave lectures to the police department on serial murderers and criminal psychology from time to time.
Often touted to be a self promoter, Stephane Bourgoin often used to do talk shows and gain popularity once he started jailhouse interviews with murderers. Characters like Sherlock Holmes and Ace Ventura had heavily impacted him as a teen. This was also apparent with the way he dressed himself, ascot horn-rimmed glasses, white brogues that looked like they had been splattered with blood on occasion.
Becoming a Serial Killer Expert
During his early days, Stephane worked as a fanzine reviewer for fantasy and horror films. Owing to his background, he became a well-known authority on serial murders in France. His best-known book, ‘Serial Killers’ was published by Grasset in five editions.
In the fervent true crime community, Bourgoin gained a loyal following while attending book festivals throughout the nation. He even has a Facebook page with thousands of followers. He got an invitation to speak at the Centre National de Formation a la Police Judiciaire, one of the primary headquarters of the French law-enforcement body. In 1992, he published books on Albert DeSalvo and Jeffrey Dahmer. His books sold over a million copies by 1993. He was known for signing his books with ‘my bloodiest regards’.
At one point, Stéphane Bourgoin became so popular that he did 84 TV shows in a month.
List of Serial Killers Interviewed
Stephane Bourgoin claims to have interviewed over 77 serial killers. However, in 2021, Bourgoin told a reporter that he had only met 30 killers. He claimed to have interviewed and met killers like Edmund Kemper, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Alexander Pichushkin and many more.
In the 1970s, he married a lady called Eileen while residing in the United States. She had been raped, her throat cut, and her corpse mutilated when he returned to their LA flat in the summer of 1976. Two years later, the police told him that Eileen’s murderer had been captured and that the guy had confessed to multiple other homicides in the area at the time of the murder.
Stephane Bourgoin had never heard the phrase “serial killer” until that point. He couldn’t comprehend how someone could be capable of such heinous deeds. He searched libraries in the United States and France but came up empty-handed, realising that he would have to take matters in his own hands to figure everything out.
In January 2021, an anonymous collective named ‘4e Oeil’ (4th eye) posted a series of videos on YouTube accusing Bourgoin of lying. They said that his entire career was based on lies. The story immediately became a burning sensation in France because of his prominent public persona.
You can check out these videos over here. The investigation caught fire due to a discussion on the Facebook app. As stated earlier, Stephan had a huge following on YouTube. He used this as a leverage to give out false information to people, simple for attention. In one of his murder related Facebook groups, he even went and said that he had formerly lived next door to Stephen King and possessed Gerard Schaefer’s dead remains, a criminal who got killed by a fellow prisoner in 1995.
The group then started to connect the dots and reached out to all 77 the serial killers Bourgoin claimed to have met. Surprisingly enough, only a few of them wrote back, others failed to recall him. He often added himself to stories which others had experienced alone.
In his online posts, there were dates that didn’t match up, heavily plagiarised sections from other criminal cases and so much more. In response to all this, Stephane said: ‘It is true that when I was in the public eye I sometimes happened to embellish, to extrapolate, to exaggerate my importance because I always had the deep feeling of not really being loved. I am ashamed that I lied and hid things.
The woman who he claimed to be his wife, was a bartender who he saw only 4-5 times. Overtime, even his friends started to distance themselves from him as all he ever spoke about was serial killings. Soon after, his producers and publishers quietly ditched him. His latest book was pulled off the shelves, a show on his life which was in the works, also got scrapped.
Despite this, Stephane Bourgoin was invited to a few literary festivals and maintained an active following of roughly 10,000 people on Instagram. ‘I went too far and I acknowledge all my lies’ Bourgoin wrote.
If we look at this from a psychiatric perspective, this is simply a case of pathological lying, ‘Pseudologia fantastica’ being the concise term for it.
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