The internet can truly be a scary place. Surely you've heard of killers who used the internet to find their victims, and lured them to a secluded area and murdered them in cold blood. This is precisely what happened in the case of the aptly named "Vampire of Paris," Nicolas Claux, with the exception that his crimes were planned on a pre-internet message board.
While most people use the web for online shopping, catching up on social media, reading the news, and watching viral videos, others use it to scout potential victims. Internet crimes are nothing new. Between e-mail phishing scams, identity thefts, people searching for murder victims, and even potential victims searching for murderers, one must take caution when dealing with strangers online. So how did a man working in a morgue go down a dark path of necrophilia, cannibalism, and ultimately murder?
Claux was 22 years old in the fall of 1994 when he used Minitel—a popular precursor to the internet in France—to meet and arrange a date with 34-year-old Thierry Bissonnier. They met at Bissonnier's Paris apartment on October 4 and things quickly went awry: Claux shot Bissonnier in the head and left his body on the apartment floor. Bissonnier's body wasn't found for three days.
After police captured Claux, they searched his apartment, where they found human bone fragments, teeth, and bags of blood. It was a gruesome crime, punctuated by one question: why did he do it?
Claux Worked At A Mortuary Where He Would Cut Flesh Off Of Dead Bodies And Eat It
Claux developed a career around death. He began working in a mortuary at a local hospital. While working as a morgue attendant, Claux started to practice cannibalism by cutting slabs of meat off of cadavers and eating it. During this time, his palate became quite refined. Claux stated,
"I brought select meats home with me to be cooked, but my preference was to eat them raw. It tasted like tartar steak or carpaccio. The big muscles of the thighs and back were good, but there was no good meat in the breasts, only fats. People often ask me what went through my mind the first time I indulged my cannibalistic fantasy. Well, to be honest, I said to myself: 'Wow! Now I'm a cannibal. Cool!"
But he wasn't only snacking on raw meat. Claux would also steal blood bags from the hospital and mix the liquid with protein powder to drink like a smoothie.
He Was Obsessed With Death And Grave Robbing
When he was about 10 years old, Claux's grandfather died of a pulmonary embolism. At the time, Claux and his grandfather were arguing, and Claux believed his family blamed him for his grandfather's death. After this incident, Claux claims, he became obsessed with death. Forensic psychologist Dr. Stephen Diamond states,
"He became cold, he became withdrawn, detached from people. So when one feels completely alienated from the world, this kind of a fascination can be a way of trying to have human interaction—but with a dead person. It's a way of trying to have a relationship with a human being, but not with a live human being."
Unlike most young adults gathering in pubs and coffee shops, burial grounds became Claux's favorite hangout. He started breaking into mausoleums and stealing corpses. Claux even decorated his home with the bones and human ash he took during these excursions.
Claux Ate Cookies As Bessonnier Died
On October 4, 1994, Claux arrived at Thierry Bessonnier's apartment. Claux almost immediately shot Bessonnier four times in the head. Bessonnier collapsed, but did not die. Instead of finishing him off immediately, Claux ransacked the apartment and ate cookies as he watched Bessonnier bleed out. According to Claux, he wanted to know what it was like to watch someone die.
Claux And Bessonnier Met On Minitel
Minitel was a popular pre-internet service in France. It used telephone lines, paired with a computer terminal, to connect people across the country. It was also popular with gay men—they used the service to chat on message boards and find sexual partners. Claux and Bessonnier met on one of these message boards; Bessonnier was looking for a partner, but Claux was looking for a victim.