Why is Ted Bundy so mesmerizing a media figure? The sensation surrounding this most deadly of killers stems from his repeated and almost gleefully enthusiastic transgression of the most precious and sacred of human shibboleths, the taking of human life. But perhaps also later in his career he became enamored of his profile as a deadly serial killer, obtaining for once in his life that “specialness”, celebrity, and recognition he felt denied him elsewhere. He was executed in 1989, a Death Row “star”.
Bundy managed his media exposure and heightened his celebrity throughout his incarceration, giving manipulative interviews and only rarely revealing the real ego driving the cruelty and killing lust that drove him. In the act, Ted Bundy’s compulsion to kill was hardly a welcome one. He had to drink alcohol to prep for the murderous cruising of women, and became addicted to conducting sexual activities with the dead corpses of his prey. Bundy pursued an alien track of life at a right angle to the course of normal people.
Much has been made of Ted Bundy’s love of the good life and his theft habits as a lifeline to luxury and status. But whereas a smarter man might have used his brutal temperament to leverage a fortune from killing for profit, Ted Bundy succumbed again and again to his lust to kill to substantiate participation in his necrophiliac sexual exploits. Bundy studied law in college and put a lot of effort into fooling the people he met about who he really was. In the 1970’s, American social attitudes and class barriers still existed enough to make Ted Bundy look like a great “catch” to the newcomer to his orbit.
Society is fortunate that Bundy was too attracted to his sexual lusts and killing to pursue a criminal cursus honorum that might seriously have jeopardized even more lives. The type of crime Bundy committed did not appreciate or devolve to a fatal killing spree, but was an unending pattern. Experts surmise ted Bundy was caught because he got sloppy about avoiding likely situations to get caught in. Stealing cars, especially Volkswagens, was a trademark that painted a target on his back during his two escapes.
Ted Bundy is not only one of the most recognized serial killers ever, but even within the category of crazed sadomasochists which comprise the murderers of all time, Bundy is known for his unrepentant and vicious attitude toward his victims. While Ted Bundy is constantly classified as a smart, good looking law student, his real pathology may be as the incestuous offspring of his own grandfather with his aunt/sister. Much is made of the stepfather relationship, yet Ted withdrew from family life early on.
Born Theodore Robert Cowell, Ted Bundy adopted his stepfather’s surname yet became eclipsed by the younger four children and “second family” dynamic in the Bundy household. His loner years in high school and avoidance of normal social interaction established a personality living on a moral island, stealing and murdering to suit his whim. Ted Bundy’s sharp temper, weird upbringing, and unwarranted aggression against the dozens of victims he claimed make him one of the most fearsome and loathed serial killers in American history.
Ted Bundy was a successful serial killer simply because he focused on success as a serial killer. He targeted young, single women who would likely respond in a friendly manner to an attractive young man like Ted appeared to be. Ted Bundy seemed to want to cut off young women in the first bud of a career, choosing upmarket sorority girls and ambitious college women. His sexual motif was to enjoy sexual “liaisons” with the bodies after death, for much longer than it is appetizing to consider.
Ted Bundy posed as a helpless, sometimes injured man needing help moving something into his car or getting something bulky out of it. Picking up women in bars, clubs, university or college campuses, even liquor stores could be easy for a practiced predator with a deadly smile. Bundy seemed to almost concentrate on bright, pretty girls with beautiful eyes and engaging smiles, and then proceed to strangle their futures away from them. Attending the University of Puget Sound and the University of Washington gave him this opportunity.
Drawing women to where he could force them into the car, Ted’s modus operandi changed a casual come-on to a deadly snare. Bundy would target women too young to have enough experience to be wary, and avoided looking or dressing like the high school nerd and loner he once was. Up until the moment he outright killed his victims, Bundy might be accused of being no more than arrogantly aggressive, in an era when date rape and self-defense were almost strictly the badge of extremely assertive women. Society and American culture was still trusting enough and innocent enough that woman might interact with a young man and not expect death at the end of the conversation.
Ted Bundy may have appeared as a charming and attractive law student to the many women who fell for his predatory come-ons, but it was all an act. To the women and girls he made away with and killed, their bodies were sexual playthings he toyed with after death, applying makeup to the corpses and performing sexual acts until decomposition stayed even his jaded sensibilities from further abuse. Bundy ended the lives of dozens of young women, attractive females with bright smiles and bright futures. Bundy derived sexual satisfaction and deviant psychological glee from outsmarting police. Ted Bundy actually escaped police twice, being re-apprehended due to driving a stolen car.
Bundy’s success at luring women to their doom is an awful testimony to the concentration and skill Bundy applied to his cause. Faking a broken arm, broken leg, or some physical ailment that rendered him both nonthreatening and appealing, Bundy would ask for help that would lure the victim to his car or vehicle. Taken by surprise, the victim would soon be a mere corpse for Bundy’s necrophilia fun. The lexicon of victims for Ted Bundy is nauseatingly long, and reveals how many women were completely unsuspecting that a nice young man could have designs on them other than mere socialization.
Bundy had two phases to his murder career. His primary phase stemmed from his upbringing and took the form of an experimental abduction of an 8-year old neighbor girl, although Bundy never formally confessed to this. Bundy, like many incarcerated serial killers, adopted a strange attitude after initial prosecution and sentencing. Due to the backlog of unsolved cases, Bundy obtained plea bargaining and reduction in sentence after confessing to many other deaths, abductions, and disappearances of young women.
Bundy wore one face for criminal prosecution interviews, and another during “private life”. A series of quotes reveal how partitioned his personality was from a normal, well-adjusted human being. The ego attached to this killer belied contempt for human life not his own rarely paralleled even in the annals of serial killer summaries. Bundy would have gone on killing endlessly, a fact noted by many legal experts. His impersonation of police officers and other figures, together with his enthusiasm for disguises, showed the analysis of a law student towards escaping justice for his crimes.
His trail of terror began in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1970’s (and possibly the late 1960’s). There is some dispute as to whether Bundy killed in his teens. He cruised high schools and colleges, and drew onward through Utah, Colorado, and Idaho through the late 1970’s. Caught and put on trial, Bundy escaped the Aspen, Colorado proceedings by jumping out of the jail window via the law library. Even after being caught, Bundy escaped again from Glenwood Springs jail.
Bundy’s insatiable appetite for killing eventuated in the Chi Omega murders, in a rampage at Florida State University shortly after his second escape. Possibly Bundy felt he had to make up for lost time, or perhaps felt he only had a short window in which to kill before being apprehended again. Bundy violently assaulted and killed a half dozen young sorority girls, then moved on to murder a 12 year old girl days later. The trail of evidence from these crimes would electrify the court into a death sentence verdict.
Bundy never expressed real remorse for his deeds, simply adopted whatever pose of the moment suited him after sentencing to stay his electrocution or negotiate a deal. When asked about the body location of the 12-year old girl he’d killed, he reacted by saying “But I’m the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you’ll ever meet”. Bundy. At the end, seemed to make his law education pay off. Bundy attempted to utilize his celebrity as a means to curry favor to open new channels and possible delays in his sentenced death.
While today forensics might forestall the scope of another Ted Bundy killer, this individual was an unwelcome example of how a murderer at large can end the lives of so many before being caught.
In total Ted Bundy confessed to over 30 killings but the total number may be as high as 100. Only he knows for sure but he isn’t telling as he was put to death in 1989 in the U.S. state of Florida.
Article by Roy Whyte. Visit his Google+ page for more.