French author Stephane Bourgoin specializes in nonfiction—except when it comes to his own life story. The 67-year-old, long considered France's leading expert in serial killers, has confessed to lying extensively about his past, the Guardian reports. Bourgoin, author of more than 40 books about serial killers and criminal profiling, claimed to have become interested in the subject after he found his wife murdered in their Los Angeles apartment in 1976. He now says the wife never existed and he based the story on a woman named Susan Bickrest he met in a Florida bar in 1975. She was slain later that year by serial killer Gerald Drano. Bourgoin has also admitted that he was never trained in profiling at the FBI's base in Quantico—and that he never played soccer for Paris team Red Star.
In an interview with Le Parisien Tuesday, Bourgoin described himself as a "mythomaniac" and said he was ashamed of the lies, which were first exposed by an anonymous group called the "Fourth Eye Corporation." He also admitted that the number of serial killers he had interviewed was closer to 10 than the 77 he had claimed, and that Charles Manson was not among them. Bourgoin, who spent a decade as a lecturer at a police training center, apologized to the fans who pay around $30 to attend his lectures, the Times of London reports. Publishers have halted the release of his latest book; it's not clear whether the latest TV series he is involved with, Serial Hunter, will continue production. (Read more author stories.)