Vampire of Paris: The Story of Nico Claux
On Nov. 15, 1994, officers of the Parisian Brigade Criminelle arrested 22-year-old Nicolas Claux outside the world famous cabaret Moulin Rouge on suspicion of the murder of Thierry Bissonnier, 34. Bissonnier's October 4 killing was one of a string of homosexual murders, seven of which occurred in October alone. The murder squad's preliminary investigator, Gilbert Thiel, believed that a single killer was responsible and was eager to get Claux back to headquarters for questioning. Claux says that Thiel, veteran of several high-profile cases, was not prepared for the web of murder, cannibalism, and sadistic acts that he had woven in his short lifetime.
The following account includes several narrations by Mr. Claux to provide a better window on a killer's life and crimes. Some of Claux's commentaries, delivered in writing, have been edited, polished, and arranged for a more narrative flow.
Claux: " Following my arrest I was taken back to the Parisian Crime Department for questioning. Unbeknownst to me, crime scene investigators were already in the process of exercising a search warrant on my apartment at 9 Rue Coustou. Inside they found a .22-caliber handgun under my bed, which they immediately sent off for ballistics tests. While they were probably not surprised to have found the pistol, they were almost certainly not prepared for the grisly scene that welcomed them.
"Throughout my apartment, bone fragments and human teeth were scattered about like loose change; vertebras and leg bones hung from the ceiling like morbid mobiles, and hundreds of videocassettes, mostly slasher and hardcore S&M flicks, filled my shelves. One can only imagine what went through the minds of the investigators as they looked around my living quarters. On one wall hung a bullet-riddled target, while across the room sat a TV set with jars of human ashes resting on top of it. Several bondage magazines were piled in a far corner, and nearby my backpack was found, which contained handcuffs, surgical instruments and duct tape. In addition to my tastes and choice of decor, investigators also discovered several stolen blood bags inside of my refrigerator."
It did not take long for the ballistic test results to come back, and when confronted with the evidence that the tests were positive, Nico confessed to Bissonnier's murder. Claux claimed that while investigators were happy to have solved a brutal crime, they were understandably concerned with all of the human bones scattered throughout his apartment, and the blood bags, which filled his refrigerator.
Claux: "With little hesitation on my part, I informed them that I had been robbing the graves of several Parisian gothic graveyards and mutilating the mummified remains. When asked the reason why I was storing stolen blood bags inside my refrigerator, I simply answered that I drank the blood on a regular basis. Working as a mortuary assistant for 10 months, I had been using my position as a means to fulfill a lifelong fantasy of mine revolving around cannibalism. When left alone to stitch the bodies after the autopsies, I would cut strips of meat from the ribs and eat them. On some occasions, I would bring pieces of flesh back to my place, where I would cook and eat those pieces as well."
Upon hearing his confessions, Claux claimed investigators asked, "WHY? Why did you kill? Why did you eat flesh and drink blood? And why did you dig up corpses?" As simple as those questions may seem, the answers were not readily found. Perhaps some clues exist in Nico's past.
Nicolas Claux was born on March 22, 1972 in the African nation of Cameroon. Nico's father was a French citizen who worked in a bank and was often sent with his family to foreign countries for long periods of time. While Nico was too young to remember his early years in Cameroon, he does recall the family moving to London around the age of five, and then off to the southern most part of Paris when he was seven, where they remained until he was 12.
Claux: "My childhood was basically normal, except that I was very withdrawn and only had a few friends. I was a lonely child, lacking brothers and sisters to play with, so I spent most of my time alone in my room.
"While my parents were very kind and gave me everything that I needed, I never really felt a strong bond between us. They never hugged me or kissed me, they just let me be on my own most of the time. Eventually I grew emotionally cold. I had difficulties feeling empathy for other people, just indifference most of the time.
"This is the time when I also developed a fascination for death and the occult. I would spend hours reading books on vampires and werewolves. A photo of the statue of the Sumerian demon Pazuzu especially fascinated me. I found it in a book my parents had bought in England. For me, it symbolized something extremely ancient and powerful, something that I respected. A few years later, I saw the same statue used in the movie Exorcist, and my interest in the occult grew stronger."
When Nico was 10, his grandfather died as a result of a cerebral embolism. The two had been arguing at the time and Nico always felt that his family blamed him for the untimely death. This was a very critical moment in his life; one that he claims made him become literally obsessed with physical death. From then on he says that he was fascinated with burial rites, wakes, and the atmosphere of morgues.
At the age of 12, Nico and his parents moved to Lisbon, Portugal, where they remained for four years. While the setting may have changed, Nico's obsessions remained the same. None of his fellow classmates shared his interests and he was once again without friends. His feelings of loneliness became more intense, and he began to feel an utter hatred for everyone around him.
Claux: "when I was 16, we moved back to Paris, where I lived alone with my father. As far back as I can remember I have been obsessed by graveyards. Before long I knew every single cemetery in Paris like the back of my hand. Between 1990 and 1993, I spent the majority of my free time in graveyards. As a botanist studies plants and flowers, I would examine rusty locks and evaluate the weight of cement lids. My favorite things were mausoleums. The most impressive ones can be found at Pere-Lachaise, Montmartre, or Passy cemeteries. I would peek through their windows to see the inside. Some were decorated with furniture, paintings, or statues. It was not long before I began working on a plan to get a much closer view."
Eventually Nico crafted his own lock-picking tools, his favorite being an L-shaped key. If a lock on one of the mausoleums was too rusty to pick, he would use a crowbar, or enter through a window. Once inside, he says he "felt like an emperor reigning in Hell." The place would become his kingdom. Often times he said he would enter a mausoleum during the day, only to resurface at night, when the gates were closed, and he could continue his activities without fear of being discovered.`
Nico Claux said that over time, simply lurking in graveyards and breaking into mausoleums was not enough to satisfy his desires. His fantasies became sadistic blueprints, tools for fulfilling his new cravings. Whether this change began at this point or years earlier is a matter of speculation, but it is clear that he believed that he had stepped up to an entirely new level.
Within this chapter, the subsequent narrations have been translated from one of many statements that Nico said that he eventually gave to Parisian authorities while in custody.
"I woke up one day feeling this sinister urge to dig up a corpse and mutilate it. I gathered a small crowbar, a pair of pliers, a screwdriver, black candles and a pair of surgical gloves in a backpack. Then I took the subway until the Trocadero station. It was nearly noon. The gates of the Passy Cemetery were wide open, but nobody was inside. The undertakers were out for lunch.
"Passy is a small Gothic graveyard with plenty of huge mausoleums, which were built during the 19th century. It is located right between two large avenues, so it is impossible to climb inside at night. But anyway, nobody could ever imagine that there was someone robbing graves at noon.
"I had this special grave in mind. It was a small mausoleum, the burial site of a family of Russian immigrants from the 1917 revolution. I had already pried open the iron door a few days before, and I had closed it afterwards so it would seem that nobody had ever touched it. All I had to do was kick it open. At this point, my mind was in total chaos. I had flashes of death in my head. I took a deep breath, and I climbed down the steps leading to the crypt.
"It was a rather small one, with damp walls, buried deep inside the cemetery ground. There was no other source of light than the candles I had brought. To begin, for more than an hour, I removed one of the heavy coffins from its stone casing. It was especially hard not to let the coffin fall all of sudden to the ground, but somehow I managed to slowly lay it down without making too much noise. However, one edge of the coffin scratched my lower leg when it touched the ground. But that didn't stop me at all.
"I examined the casket for a while. It was solid oak and sealed with big screws. It looked like brand new, so I expected to find a recently deceased corpse. First, I unscrewed the coffin, which took me less than 10 minutes. Then I pried it open with the crowbar. Once opened, a horrible stench of putrefaction came out of the box. It smelled like Thanatyl, the product embalmers use on a corpse in order to delay the process of decay.
"Then I saw the body inside. It was a half rotten old woman, shrouded in a white sheet, covered with brown stains. Her face seemed to be smeared with oil, but it was simply the death fluids oozing from her skin. The stench was so intense that I nearly fainted. I tried to lift one side of the sheet, but it was glued to her petrified skin. The teeth were protruding from the mouth, but her eyes were gone. I stared into the empty eye sockets, and all of a sudden something broke into my mind. I felt like I was falling into a whirlwind.
"That's when I picked up a screwdriver. The corpse inside the coffin started to move slightly, like if it had guessed what would happen next. So I began to stab the belly, the rib area and the shoulders. I stabbed her at least 50 times. I really can't remember. All I can remember is that when I woke up my forearms were covered with corpse slime."
After violating his first grave, Nico said that he spent the much of his free time searching the cemetery for new graves to desecrate. This is a pattern he said would continue up until the time of his arrest.
At 20, Nico joined the military, where he was trained as a gunsmith, cleaning and repaired weapons. But he soon found this lifestyle boring. His only satisfaction came from fantasizing about murder. After serving just a year, Nico moved on and said that he began to consider a career as a mortician.
Claux: "In 1993, the one and only local school for embalming declined my application, so I began working at Saint Vincent-de-Paul Hospital in Paris, a hospital for children. This was the only way I could really do what I wanted for a living and I also found out that it was the best way to be in contact with corpses. I was given the job of a morgue attendant and my first contact with a corpse there was when I assisted the autopsy of a 10-year-old girl. The other attendant showed me how to stitch up her belly, and that was the first time I ever got to touch a fresh corpse. I was amazed by how red and clean her organs were."
Nico did not stay at Saint Vincent-de-Paul for long, and in December 1993, he took a position as a morgue attendant and stretcher-bearer at Saint Joseph Hospital, which is also in Paris. His duties involved helping with autopsies, cleaning up the morgue slabs, and prepping the bodies for wakes. A small chapel was located up the stairs where bereaved relatives could later view the bodies of their loved ones.
Claux: "Most of the autopsies were done by us, the morgue attendants. We would do the Y-shaped incision, cut the ribs at the joints, and open the skull with an electric saw. The pathologist only dissected the organs and put them in a box.
"I would be left alone with the body after the autopsy to do the stitches, which were my specialty. This is when I began eating strips of muscles from the bodies. I always checked out their medical files first. I talked with a butcher once who told me that meat is better three or four days after death. This was something I had always dreamed of doing, and it was the opportunity to do it on a regular basis.
"Sometimes 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!"'
Nico's other job at Saint Joseph Hospital involved working in the digestive surgery unit. One of his duties involved delivering the blood bags from the hospital's blood bank to the surgery room. He claimed that it did not take long for him to notice that it was not unusual for bags to be left over and eventually he devised a scheme in which he would rip the sticker off of the unused bag, making it appear to have been opened, and then hide it in his locker.
At the end of his shift, he said that he would transfer the bag to his backpack, take it home, and begin cooling it in his fridge. Once the desired temperature was reached, he would mix the blood with powder proteins, or human ashes, and then drink it. Since there was no plasma within the bags, the blood was extremely thin, which was why he chose to thicken it up.
On the morning of Oct. 4, 1994, Nicolas Claux said that he decided it was time to turn another one of his fantasies into reality. This fantasy was a special one to Nico, one that would, in his mind, put him on a far greater level than petty grave robbing and corpse mutilations. He had been waiting for just the right time, and he was finally ready to cross the line, an irreversible step that can change a man forever.
Nico spent his morning searching for a victim, any victim; nothing mattered, not age, race, or sex, he said. He was looking for death, nothing more, and nothing less. By the early afternoon, Nico decided to try his luck on Minitel (an early version of the Internet) and soon began chatting with a man named Thierry about bondage and S&M. After a while the two decided to get together and the man gave Nico the address to his home. Little did Thierry know, sex was the last thing on Nico Claux's mind.
Claux: "Back then it was a common practice in the gay community to meet on Minitel. They would establish contact through this means since it was quick and easy for them. I found out that it was an easy way for me to kill them without any witnesses, plus I had the guarantee of remaining anonymous, since there was no possibility of tracing back the discussions on Minitel.
"So I agreed on meeting Thierry around noon. With me I carried a single shot 22-caliber handgun, which I hid under my jacket. When I arrived at his place, a one-room apartment under the roof of an old building, I knocked on the door and gave him the fake first name that I had given him on Minitel. He opened the door, I stepped inside, quickly turned around while he was closing the door and pulled out the gun.
"I looked at his face just as he turned his head towards me and saw the gun pointed at his eye. After a few awkward moments passed, I pulled the trigger. He instantly fell face down without a word. It was really eerie. It all happened like in slow motion. Then I watched him bleed on the carpet. Soon I decided to see what the apartment was like and wandered around a bit.
"When I returned to where he was lying I observed that he was still moving and making horrible breathing noises on the floor, like if he was breathing through a straw. I reloaded the gun and shot again, this time striking him in the back of the head. I reloaded and fired a few more times, but he was still alive and making noise. I was surprised that he was still holding on, I had expected the first shot to kill him.
"After a few minutes, I went into his kitchen and found some cookies to eat and then sat in a corner of the room and watched him as I ate. When I was finished, I decided to get out of there quickly, so I shot him one last time in the back. I also lifted a huge plant container and smashed it on his head, crushing it some. I then wiped down my fingerprints; picked up his checkbook; a credit card and a wallet (with ID papers); his driving license; an alarm clock, and an answering machine, and finally left the scene."
Thierry Bissonnier's body remained on the floor of his apartment for three days, until his parents, distraught at not being able to get in touch with him, went to his apartment and discovered the grisly scene. Reports on the life Thierry led are rather sketchy. Claux claims that little was said in the press following the discovery of Bissonier's body, and during Claux's subsequent trial a black-out was placed on the press, meaning that no members of the media or public were allowed inside the courtroom.
Claux believes that the family of the victim did not want the life of their relative to be exposed in public, and that there was elements in that case that were too "sensitive" for the general public. Regardless, it is known that the 34-year-old victim was a restaurateur and part-time classical musician, involved in a steady relationship with an older man.
One of the first investigators to arrive at the scene was Brigade Criminelle Investigator Gilbert Thiel. As shocking as the murder appeared, it was nothing new to Thiel. The victim was one of many homosexuals murdered every year in Paris, and that month alone there had already been seven others in almost identical circumstances. According to Agence France-Presse, homosexual murders represent about a third of all murders in the Paris. The victims usually have the same profile and similar habits, including a liberal view on sexuality, which incorporates risks as a part of the ultimate pleasure. During the early 1990s, the majority of these encounters started with messages on Minitel.
According to Thierry Bissonnier's autopsy report, the first bullet had entered the eyeball and stopped just short of the brain. The following rounds crushed against the skull, except one, which slightly penetrated the brain. The final shot entered through Bissonnier's back and pierced his heart, causing almost immediate death. Only two questions remained for investigators: who and why?
Nico Claux might have gotten away with Thierry Bissonnier's murder had he not made a very crucial mistake. In mid-October, Claux attempted to forge one of Bissonnier's bank checks to buy a VCR. When asked for identification, Claux presented the shop clerk with Bissonnier's driver's license, which he had attempted to forge by inserting his own picture. But the scam was quickly noticed when the clerk compared the signatures. Nico Claux took off before the police arrived. Thus the search began.
Claux: "On Nov. 15, 1994, I was arrested in front of the Moulin Rouge cabaret following an altercation with a woman. The police had recognized me from the photograph on Bissonnier's forged driving license and while under custody I confessed to the murder when I was shown the ballistic evidence. Further investigation showed I had been robbing the graves of several Parisian gothic graveyards, stealing the bones, and mutilating the mummified remains. When asked the reason why I was storing stolen blood bags inside my refrigerator, I simply answered that I drank it on a regular basis. I also confessed to being on a very special diet and went on to describe my mortuary job and the cannibalism.
"The murder investigation itself was centered on the motive, and whether or not there was premeditation. Why did I begin to kill? At first, I claimed that the motive was robbery. But the coldly calculated modus operandi I used, as well as the unnecessary overkill, and the careful removal of fingerprints, proved that something far more sinister was involved, thus indicating a clearly senseless, yet premeditated, murder. With the victim being homosexual, investigators at first wondered if there was a sexual component to the case. But there was none. It simply turned out that I was just looking for death. I was soon sent to Fleury-Merogis, a jail south of Paris. Fleury is a remand center, a place where convicts are locked up before their trial. The problem is that you can wait up to three or four years in France before going to court. Then you have to wait one more year until they find you a room in a prison."
For the next two years, Claux says a court-ordered team of specialized psychiatrists and psychologists examined him. Dozens of tests were made, which in the end, he says, revealed a borderline psychotic personality disorder. In addition, Claux says that the experts also diagnosed him as suffering from necrophilia and sexual sadism. However, they did not detect any psychic or neuropsychic disorders, which could have interfered with his discernment or control of his actions.
Claux: "At one point, Thiel asked for a reconstruction of the murder. I was led to the victim's apartment, where I showed my version of the events. I said that I accidentally fired the first shot, and continued shooting until the victim died. I stuck to this version until the trial.
"The first motive I gave him was robbery, but when I realized that I could benefit from a diminished responsibility plea, I told him that I had an argument with a homosexual in a section of Père Lachaise Cemetery on the morning before the murder, over the fact that it was my territory, and not theirs. So, according to that version, I decided to contact a gay on the Minitel to "scare" him and get my revenge."
Claux claims that explanation pleased the psychiatrists, and they granted him diminished responsibility under Rule 242 alinéa B of the penal code. However, the documents in the case do not confirm this. In December, 1996 Gilbert Thiel closed the preliminary investigation when he decided that there was enough evidence for a trial.
It is interesting to note that in the middle of the preliminary investigation, which lasted nearly two years, Thiel was promoted to the Anti-Terrorist Squad, following the 1995 series of attacks in Paris by Islamic terrorists. While he was no longer required to work on the case, Thiel chose to stay on, and all remaining interrogations took place in his office, the Anti-Terrorist Squad headquarters, at 36, Quai des Orfevres. Perhaps it was because he believed that Claux was responsible for other similar murders and did not want to lose the opportunity to gather additional evidence.
Nico Claux's trial began on May 9, 1997, at the Cour d' Assises de Paris. The nine-member jury had already been chosen by presiding Judge W. Waechter. Claux's defense lawyer, Irène Terrel, entered a plea of not guilty. The prosecution's opening move was to shock the jury with grisly photographs of the crime scene and of Claux's apartment.
Claux: "The purpose of the photos was to make a parallel between the murder, and the environment where I lived " the old "Does fiction influence reality" debate?"
The prosecution charged that Nico had voluntarily killed Bissonnier, and they felt that he had acknowledged that it was premeditated. Following this, they presented the jury with a list of crimes Claux had committed during the act; theft of a check book; credit card; wallet; driving license; alarm clock, and an answering machine. Prosecutors implied that the items were stolen prior to the murder. The prosecution then pointed out the use of the forged license, and the forged check, which included the falsifying of Bissonnier's signature. While all of the above was damning in its own right, the case took a sudden turn when the prosecution attempted to establish that Bissonnier's murder was in fact one in a series, which had taken place in Paris during 1994.
Claux: "The prosecution called me a "death addict" and a "real-life vampire". Their theory was that I was a copycat of serial killer Rémy R. (’Le tueur du Minitel Rose’). The main testimony in their serial murders theory came from two of the leading investigators on my case. One of them, Inspector Garcin, testified that even though there was no solid evidence against me, I fitted the psychological profile of a serial murderer. His other claim was that witnesses in bars where other murder victims hung out had previously spotted me there."
Regardless of the prosecution's serial killer theory, there was simply not enough physical evidence to back it up. Thereafter, the arguments revolved around the murder of Thierry Bissonier. Claux says that several of the experts who had interviewed him over the years took the stand and a long debate began as a variety of diagnoses were presented.
Claux: "Psychosis was established, mostly because of acts of cannibalism that I was accused of having practiced in the morgue where I worked, and acts of mutilation of dead bodies that I had done during grave robberies. Those acts alone were, according to psychiatrists, proof of a total loss of reality. This was completed by the results of the Rorschach tests, which showed an "inner void" typical of schizophrenia. For them, I could benefit from Rule 242, concerning diminished responsibility, because my medical condition reduced my capacity to control my impulses.&qout;
Jurors deliberated for just three hours. Nicolas Claux was found guilty of premeditated murder, armed robbery, fraudulent use of a bank check, falsification of his drivers license photo, and an attempt to defraud the retailer of the video camera. He was then sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Contrary to Claux's version of events, he was never convicted of grave robbery or the theft of bags containing blood.
Nico Claux's early prison years were spent in Fleury-Merogis, just south of Paris, where he remained for four years and two months until February 1999, when he was transferred to Maison Centrale Poissy, about 15 miles northwest of Paris. In all, there are six "Maison Centrales" in France, each holding at least 200 inmates. Considered maximum security, Poissy has a reputation among inmates as being the place where they lock up serial killers and terrorists. During his stay there, Claux says that he shared his block with at least six serial killers.
Claux: "For two years I studied computer programming at the state's expense, but in reality, I spent more time in the gym, paint room and recreation yard than I did in the class rooms. I had started painting in 1997, and soon learned that I had a natural talent. I was also part of the prison's video team, where I learned filming and editing with DV camcorders. We would film concerts, football games, and boxing fights."
When asked by Angry Thoreauan Magazine (yes, there really is a publication by that name) about the emotional experience of eating human flesh, Nico stated that, "It feels like touching the face of God. It makes you feel like you don't belong to the human race anymore."
In an interview with the Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune , Clancy McKenzie, a professor of psychology at Capital University in Washington, D.C., stated that cannibalism is a psychotic behavior, which is almost always related to a previous trauma, often in infancy. McKenzie maintained that during the second half-year of life, when children are weaned from the breast, they fantasize about devouring their mother. In later years, some sort of trauma, especially if suffered at a critical young age, may trigger the regression to this stage of development. When such individuals are eventually arrested, and on rare occasions eventually returned to society, with all its "emotional expression," it makes them all the more likely to repeat the problem behavior. "I shudder when they let people out of institutions and send them back home," McKenzie said.
Dr. Park Dietz, a national expert on criminal psychosis who testified at the Jeffrey Dahmer trial, has a different theory. He said that one should not look too closely at early childhood, as millions of people who suffer childhood trauma never become psychotic criminals. "Another motivation could be a desire to take a life of crime to an ultimate level. Cannibalism is beyond the pale " the last frontier of being a bad boy,&qupt; Dietz said.
After serving just seven years and four months of a 12-year sentence, Nicolas Claux was released from prison on March 22, 2002.
I'm having some trouble harmonizing Nico's stated bizarre behavior with his coldly rational intellect. Immersing oneself in the putrefying remains of a corpse and eating the flesh of a dead person are at odds with that intellect, which would, at a minimum, be able to appreciate the incredible threat to one's health if that behavior really occurred. Frankly, I'm tempted to view these sensational accounts as either hallucinations or outright fabrications.
The only thing we know for sure was that Nico Claux robbed and killed a man in cold blood and then tried to use one of his victim's checks to buy a video camera. In the actual documents of the case that there is no mention of any grave robbing, necrophilia, vampirism or cannibalism, nor does there appear to be anything in the French media about Claux being anything but a thief and a murderer. One would expect that the French press would have a heyday with the case had there been any real evidence of the perversions that Nico Claux claimed.
Shortly after release from prison, Claux used his prison training in computer programming to create a web site to promote his drawings and painting of famous killers. His stories of grave robbing, cannibalism, etc. got him booked on talk shows, which further boosted his macabre celebrity status.
There is reason to believe that Claux's public image is undergoing some serious re-engineering from the scary portrait of Nico that his own words created in earlier chapters of this feature story. For example, clearly stated on his web site:
"This website is my only official website. The other unofficial sites you might find online focus on a past that I am now a long way away from. I have worked hard to improve myself through the development of artistic abilities. I cannot erase the past, but my goal is to channel the negativity that I have caused into pure creativity. I do not endorse any other sites than this one. I do not profit from my past, and I do not encourage other people into doing the things that I have done. The spiritual and social prices to pay are far too high."
He says that he will not practice cannibalism again which is certainly a plus.
For a period of time, Nico lived in Sweden and England, but he returned to Paris in September, 2004 and lives with his girlfriend in an apartment there.
Looking at his recent photos from his web site, it appears as though he has settled into a lifestyle that is a kind of campy Goth, filled with artwork and photography about serial killers and the occult. The overriding theme is that he does not appear to be a loner anymore. He has many friends, albeit unusual-looking ones, but friends nevertheless. In reading what Claux says about his childhood lonliness and the inability of his parents to physically demonstrate affection, it appears as though that emotional vacuum has been filled with a number of friends and many acquaintances made through his web site and Internet groups.
He has decorated his body extensively with tattoos and attends fetish, Goth and tattoo conventions.
His celebrity status as the "Vampire of Paris", while it has its downsides as a resume item for conventional positions, provides him opportunities for television and magazine interviews which allows him to travel around Europe and sell his artwork.
He's clearly an intelligent man. I wonder what the next step in his evolution will be; after he gets bored with his current goth lifestyle. There's no future it being an aging vampire.