Already an archaeologist of some repute, Dr. Johansen received an anonymous package detailing exactly where to find the Ankaran Sarcophagus and its key, despite neither having been seen since they were re-buried by Julius of Gaul in 1068 CE. Johansen was not even aware of the sarcophagus' existence prior to receiving the package.
Calamity after calamity afflicted the professor: the crate containing the key was stolen from the Dane while in transit, and the ship's crew disappeared before it pulled into port, leaving only vast pools of blood. While the sarcophagus arrived intact and was moved to the Museum of Natural History for study, it was stolen before Johansen had a chance to look at it. Finally, several nights later, he was kidnapped from his room at the Empire Arms Hotel by an extremist religious order as bait for a supposed powerful vampire.
Although he did not have the opportunity for much study, Dr. Johansen concluded that the sarcophagus likely belonged to Messerach, the one-eyed king. While the king supposedly reigned for 250 years, it is likely that Messerach was simply a name reused by a series of successors, and not that Messerach was some sort of Dracula.
The relief sculpture on the outside of the sarcophagus depicted Messerach before Lamastu, an evil goddess from Assyrian myth who preyed on humans. Some consider Lamastu to be the origin of the vampire myth. She is sometimes associated with Lilith. Messerach is drinking the blood of his enemies, a common depiction, possibly implying he had a form of porphyria.
In Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, an email in the Museum of Natural History refers to him as Dr. "Anders Johansen", as does the TV newscaster, while dialog with Beckett later in the game refers to him as "Dr. Ingvar Johansen," so the fandom refers to him by both names. It is possible Ingvar or Anders may be his middle name or a nickname he uses. The Unofficial Patch normalizes the disparity: by changing Beckett's dialogue, all instances of his name appear as "Anders."