Ted Bundy: Gentleman Turned the Most Dangerous Serial Killer in the U.S.
Have you ever asked yourself, who was the most dangerous serial killer in America? The answer to that question would be Ted Bundy. Ted Bundy became the well-known serial killer during the 1970s because he used his charming personality and good looks to lure an endless number of women. Bundy had a persona where he acted like the typical gentleman and knew exactly what his intentions were which were not good. His killings began in Seattle, Washington in 1974, until he was finally arrested in 1978. There is no specific number of how many women were killed, but the estimate is about one hundred victims. Bundy only confessed to about thirty women, but the real number is still unknown today. Ted Bundy was the most dangerous serial in America because he was extremely smart, a great manipulator, and charismatic.
Ted Bundy is glamorized as an evil genius, handsome, and a well-educated killer who outsmarted the law and killed many victims. In the article by Amanda Blackman stated, “He does not deserve to be glamorized. He does not deserve to have his name in lights while he murdered an indeterminable amount of young women.” Bundy was just an average individual while he was growing up which had many people confused. Blackman mentioned “He sounds like someone who would go unnoticed on the bus or in a restaurant. He does not sound evil. Yet, this normal-seeming man ruined countless lives forever.” No one suspected that someone like Ted was even capable of hurting anyone but that was obviously false since he is considered to be one of the most famous psychopaths in the history of the United States. He was one of the most inhuman, vicious monster that America has ever encountered. In the book written by Stephan Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth wrote down a quote said by Ted Bundy himself, which stated, “I’m the most cold-blooded son of a bitch you’ll ever meet.” Many people considered Bundy to be the devil himself which is a quite frightening way to describe someone. So many people and the media became so invested in him until this day, which a Netflix series for him was released a few months ago and it became viral.
Usually, when trying to understand why serial killers do what they do, it is important to evaluate their upbringing and how they were raised. Ted Bundy, also known as Theodore Robert Bundy, was born on November 24th, 1946 in Burlington, Vermont, to Eleanor Louise Cowell. When Ted was born, his mother Eleanor already formed him as her secret shame. Since Eleanor was unmarried when she was pregnant with Ted, she felt humiliated due to her extremely strict and religious parents. When Eleanor gave birth to Ted at the age of twenty-two, she left him behind in Vermont while she went off to Philadelphia. Ted was thrown to an unknown orphanage where he stayed there for a couple months. Louise’s father, Sam Cowell, tracked down the orphanage that Ted was at and adopted him as his son. When his mother returned, she wanted to raise her new son, but at the same time, she wanted to avoid Ted from suffering. During the 1950s, it was known that children with an unwed mother were often teased and seen as outcasts which Eleanor wanted to avoid. Her parents took on the role of raising Ted as their biological son while she disguised herself as Ted’s sister. For several years, Ted believed that they were his parents until later on when the news was exposed to him.
Ted never came into contact with his biological father and no one really knows who he is. According to Ted’s relatives, the environment where Ted grew up was extremely toxic and violent. His grandfather was an outspoken individual that always had an opinion on his dislike of minority groups. He physically abused his wife, children, and even their family dog. He was known to suffer from hallucinations and was often found arguing or talking with people that are not even present. His wife was also believed to suffer from depression and agoraphobia. Due to the toxic environment, Eleanor changed her surname and left Philadelphia with her son to Tacoma, Washington and stayed with other family members. Later on, Eleanor married a man named Johnny Bundy, who formally adopted Ted and gained the surname as Theodore Robert Bundy. Many psychologists believed that “Ted suffered from attachment disorder in his childhood due to his mom pretending to be his sister.” There is much evidence which backs up the theory that Bundy had this type of disorder from his childhood.
These pieces of evidence include when Ted was growing up, many relatives witnessed Ted as a very odd and abnormal child. He became interested in things that children should have no business in. For example, at the age of three, he became extremely fascinated with knives and killing animals. While growing up, Ted was a shy, lonely, but extremely intelligent in school. He had a hard time with his peers and often got bullied really badly. When Ted attended high school, he completely changed as a person. He grew to be an attractive young man as many of his peers described him and became popular to an extent. Around this time, he gained his obsession with violent pornography, shoplifting, and peeping into girls’ windows. Bundy also had sexual and homicide fantasies with women. He was still doing really well in school but got mixed in with law enforcement as well. At the age of eighteen, his records showed that he was arrested twice for burglary and auto theft. When Bundy graduated high school in 1965, he attended the University of Puget Sound. While attending the university, Ted did really well academically but still struggled with his shyness and was socially awkward. Since he was socially awkward he had a hard time making friends so he decided to transfer his sophomore year to the University of Washington. While he was enrolled in the university, he majored in psychology and studied the Mandarin language.
When attending the University of Washington, Ted met the woman of his dreams and fell in love. His girlfriend, Diane Edwards, was beautiful as he described her and she came from a wealthy family. “He tried to impress her to the point of exaggerating his accomplishments even though he was working at minimum-wage paying jobs.” To gain her approval, he applied for a summer scholarship that he won at Stamford University. His life seemed to be doing quite well for him that he decided to drop out of college and began to work. Due to his lack of ambitions and motivation, his girlfriend decided to dump Ted and to move. Bundy became extremely depressed and later on confessed into being obsessed with his ex for many years after that. A case study made for Ted Bundy states, “It was an obsession that would span his lifetime and lead to a series of events that would shock the world.” He decided to travel across the country for a bit until he re-enrolled in the University of Washington in 1969. Around this time, Bundy found out the truth about his grandparents and mother. Many believe that the breakup with his first love and the confessions from his family became the main trigger for him to completely change as a person.
Ted Bundy’s adult life made a complete change overall as who he was as a child. Ted became more outgoing, confident, charismatic, and was obsessed with the idea of being successful. He wanted everyone to know who he was and he wanted to be important. His new confidence helped him gain a new girlfriend named Elizabeth Kendall. She was divorced and had a daughter of her own. Elizabeth deeply fell in love with Ted despite her suspicion that he was with other women, but still was loyal to him. Bundy did not want anything serious with Elizabeth but he continued the relationship. Around this time, his first love came back into his life due to her attraction over the new Ted Bundy and how confident he became. This definitely helped gain Bundy’s ego and he became knowledgeable with attracting more women. Due to his confidence, he became involved in politics. Bundy worked on the re-election campaign for Dan Evans, Washington’s Republican Governor. “By 1973, Ted became the assistant to the Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, Ross Davis.” This new confidence that Bundy gained took a dark turn where he would use his charismatic personality to lure his victims.
As stated previously, Bundy became this new person, he had many girlfriends and even had a child of his own. No one suspected Ted could do any harm to anyone due to the persona he put on. Up until 1974, when many young women were being vanished from college campuses around the state of Washington and Oregon. Bundy’s first victim that he confessed to and that the police force knows of, was the abduction of Karen Sparks. Karen Sparks was a college student, dance, and attended the University of Washington. “In January of 1974, Ted broke into the apartment of Karen while she was asleep. He both sexually assaulted and brutally hit her with a metal rod. Miraculously, she survived but had to live with permanent disabilities that Bundy left.” Ted Bundy’s first known murder case which he also confessed to was Lynda Ann Healy Lynda was a twenty-one-year-old college student from the University of Washington, Bundy’s main target area. “In February of 1974, Bundy abducted Lynda from her apartment and did the same things as he did to his first victim.” She was abducted, sexually assaulted, and was beaten to death. Her body was found at the Taylor Mountain site where many of Bundy victims were found later on.
Ted Bundy’s main victims were white, female with long brown hair, college students. All that everyone knows is that “Ted Bundy confessed to thirty murders in interviews just before his death in January 1989.” When looking at his victims, it is obvious to determine that he definitely had a type. All these women had long, dark brown, specifically, parted from the middle. Some people may believe that he targeted these women because they had similar features as Elizabeth Kendall, Bundy’s first love. The reason why many people gave Ted Bundy the name as one of the deadliest murders of America is because of the messed-up things he did to his victims. Ted Bundy followed a plan with these women by abducting, sexually assaulting, and murdering them. He would lure these women with his charismatic personality and would gain their trust, then use it against the victims to murder them. Ted Bundy decapitated his victims and keep their skulls in his apartment as trophies. Not only would he keep their skulls, but other body parts as well. After he killed his victims, “Bundy confessed once he raped and killed his victims, he liked to spend the night with their corpses. He’d have sex with the bodies and often revisit them for additional sexual assaults.” He would often return to the woods where he dumped the bodies and would sometimes spend the night, lying on the ground with them. He admitted to putting eyeshadow and lipstick on the decomposing bodies of the women he murdered. Not only that, Bundy confessed to having sex with decomposing bodies and practiced necrophilia which involved eating body parts. It all makes sense why many people call Bundy the devil himself, he had no mercy towards his victims.
Not only did Ted Bundy target young women, but he also preyed on children as well, under the age of fifteen. There are not many cases that are available to back up the statement since Bundy did not really confirm anything besides the thirty victims he did. The three main victims that “the police are aware of is the case of Lynette Dawn Culver, 12, Kimberly Leach, 12, and Susan Curtis, 15.” Bundy kidnaped, killed, and sexually assaulted these innocent. The disturbing part of this is that Bundy had a daughter of his own making people question his intentions. Due to Bundy being the master manipulator that he was, he definitely used that trait in order to blend in with the crowd and to avoid being a suspect. Bundy would earn his victims’ trust by having to appear ordinary without any prior planning which helped him gain the title as the most infamous serial killer. Bundy was so intelligent to the point where “when he was arrested for the first time on August 16th, 2019, and sent to prison, he escaped.” Due to Bundy’s escape in prison, which happened twice, he was able to murder a handful of women. For many years, Bundy got away from these murders until he was finally caught for a third time in December of 1977.
When Bundy escaped prison, he broke into the Chi Mega sorority house where he killed two women at FSU. In July 1979, Bundy was convicted to those crimes and his deadly crimes was given the death penalty twice.” Before his conviction, Bundy was on the run, he was asked to pull over by a police officer for his reckless driving. While the officer was examining Bundy, he noticed that Bundy had some very weird tools inside of his car. When the officer was investigating the car, he found a few student IDS that were linked to the women that were killed around the area. The officer also found ski masks, tapes, gloves, knives, and many more. The police officer ran the plates and discovered that Bundy was driving a stolen car. Bundy was arrested and taken into custody for questioning and a background check. At first, Bundy did not reveal his identity until a couple of days afterward. Investigators learned that the charismatic man was suspected of killing dozens of women across the United States.
One aspect of Bundy’s arrest is that “he assisted his own defense in all his cases, and was allowed to access the Pitkin County Jailhouse law library.” This goes to show how intelligent Bundy was to the point where he assisted his own case which was never done before. “In July of 1978, Bundy was indicted for two murders that were connected to him and three attempted murders.” This occurred before Bundy revealed any sort of confession about his victims and still tried to persuade the police officers that he was innocent. A year later, Bundy was found guilty of murdering a woman and attempted murder for another victim, Ted Bundy was sentenced to death for these murders and was scheduled to be executed. Over the next few days, “Bundy confessed to various law enforcement agents. Bundy told FBI Special Agent Bill Hagmaier he killed thirty people in California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and Florida between 1973 and 1978.” As stated previously, Bundy only confessed to thirty murder, but many believe that he has been involved with about two hundred murders. Since Bundy enjoyed having power over others, many believe that he did not confess to the other murders because he wanted to be in controlled of his own story. “On January 24 of 1989 at around 7 a.m., Bundy was strapped into the electric chair and was pronounced dead.” When Ted Bundy was finally killed, everyone that gathered to witness his execution cheered and were relieved that the monster was finally gone.
Ted Bundy will always be known as one of the most dangerous serial killer in America during the 1970s. Bundy only came clean to about thirty of his murders, but many others believe that the number is much higher than the number he gave. No matter how hard an individual tries to avoid any hardships throughout their lives, they will have to face it regardless. Of course, each person deals with hardships differently, with Ted Bundy’s case, he decided to screw up his entire life. Bundy leaned towards doing criminal acts like killing over a hundred women or even more. It is quite disturbing to think what Bundy did to his victims by keeping their body parts as trophies and having sex with their decaying bodies. As stated previously, the scary part is that when he was caught, no one believed he could ever do such a vicious act due to him being an “ordinary” guy. Ted Bundy represented two entirely distinct dichotomous people: One successful, charismatic, intelligent, and the other one as a sadist, killer, and rapist. Bundy had zero remorse over his murders and took complete pride in his ability to kill which gave him the title as the deadliest serial killer in America.
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