We all have a fear of monsters but not the kind we imagined as kids that looked like creatures from out of this world, however it’s the monsters that look just like us. The monsters we try to keep out by locking our doors and windows. Ted Bundy looked like the boy next door but behind his veneer was a evil monster that brutally murdered and raped over 30 women. He was a handsome and intelligent man that would use his charm to lure in his victims. These qualities of his would be the demise of many women who fell prey to the most infamous serial killer. Unfortunately you could never know if you may be dating, have friends or even living next door to a monster because they don’t look like monsters. To see how this sociopath and pathological liar came to light we have to look at his upbringing and major events that happened in his life. Ted Bundy had a unfavorable childhood, from his grandparents taking the role of mom and dad and his biological mom played the role of sister, living with an abusive grandfather to being rejected from the woman he loved that ignited his urge to kill.
There maybe some clues in Ted’s childhood that may have contributed to his monstrous behavior. Theodore Robert Cowell was born on November 24,1946 to a teenage mother Eleanor Louise Cowell and to a unknown father that left when Eleanor discovered she was pregnant. Therefore, Ted would never meet his biological father. Eleanor gave birth to Ted in an unwed pregnant women shelter in Burlington,Vermont. In 1946 a stigma was associated with bearing a child out of wedlock, therefore the shelters would keep the birth private. After a couple of months in the shelter Eleanor returned home to Philadelphia with Ted. Eleanor lead Ted to believe that his grandparents were his parents and she was his sister. Ted would later find out when he became a young adult that his mother had lied to him, which ignited his anger. Furthermore, his Grandfather had a dark terrifying side to him as he would torment his family and violently abuse animals. Even though Ted witnessed his grandfather’s violent behavior he still worshiped and spoke highly of him. This would contradict what other family members would say about his grandfather. In Cohen’s Monster Theory, he states in his seventh thesis “ They can be pushed to the furthest margin of geography and discourse, hidden away at the edge of the world and in the forbidden recess of our mind, but they always return”(20). Ted the pathological liar that he was, not acknowledging his grandfather violent abuse that other family member claim that took place in the home. Also right up to his execution he blame pornaography and alcohol for his monstrosities. Ted was exposed to his grandfather’s disturbing collection of pornography, which he would view at the early age of three. According to National Review, “ Bundy did not blame sadistic pornogrophy for his crimes, but he said that such pornography-along with alcohol- influenced what he did”(7). What’s alraming about this is he was exposed to pornaography by his grandfather collection and yet he doesn’t blame him. As a young boy Ted was shy and suffered from stuttering. He also displayed some alarming behavior at the age of three, he’s aunt recalls him placing kitchen knives around her body as she slept. He was also known to scare his family’s members by being a sweet boy one minute and changing to a unrecognizable creature. According to Parshley, “Psychologist have long known that child abuse alone is a risk factor for violence. Boys exposed to erratic, coercive, and punitive parenting are at risk of developing antisocial personality and becoming violent offenders.” In his high school years he just had a couple of friends but he felt socially out of place and withdrawn. He was admired by the females but he never dated in high school. In his teenage years Ted was starting to out leash a part of his dark side, by peeping through young women’s windows and shoplifting. He was getting away with it and all the while feeling above the law.
Ted had many women in his life from his mother, the girl of his dreams Stephanie Brooks and his wife. The women in his life that he cared about he never killed, but some say that the rejection of his girlfriend and the betrayal of his mother unleashes the monster within. In 1967 Ted enrolled in the University of Washington, in Seattle, where he would meet his girlfriend Stephanie Brooks. Brooks had long dark beautiful hair and she wore it parted in the middle. Ted’s soon to be victims would have striking similarities to her. It’s a horrifying thought that if you looked like Brook’s you could be a madman’s next victim. Their relationship didn’t last and she would eventually break up with him, because she felt he was immature and lacked ambition. Now rejected and betrayed by the two women in his life, he became unraveled and not long after the killing spree began. In Jeffrey Cohen theory, he states in his fifth thesis “Every monster is in this way a double narrative, to live in stories: one that describes how the monster comes to be and another, it’s testimony, detailing what culture use the monster serves” (20). This relates to how Ted’s rough upbringing and his breakup that took a toll on Ted, manifesting his inner monster to come out and cause terror across the country. “Bundy talked of being appalled after his first murder. ”It was like being possessed by something so awful, so alien,” he said. ”But then the impulse to do it again would come back even stronger.” (Lamar & Holmes p4). One can only argue that of course he couldn’t resist his impulse because he was a narcissistic monster that got enjoyment watching his victims take their last breath. According to Welch, “Ted Bundy confessed to 30 killings in seven different states from 1974 to 1978, but his true death toll is unknown” (3). Ted with his good looks and charm would deceive his victims with faking that his arm was injured in a sling. This is how he would get his victims to help carry his books to his car and then strike them with a crowbar or a pipe throwing them into his car. He would strangle, bludgeon and mutilate his victims and dump them in the woods. Then later returning to the site where he dumped his victims and would have sex with the decapitated corpse. “In some cases, he would even shockingly display their decapitated head in his apartment and slept with their corpses until putrefaction made it unbearable” (Crime Museum). I can barely handle going to a funeral of a person I love and seeing their body in the casket and this monster is displaying decapitated corpse in his home. It goes to show how psychotic he really was and his poor victims could have never imagined by helping a handsome man would be the feared monster.
After looking more in depth into Ted Bundy’s its apparent that his upbringing is what contributed to his psychotic behavior. The role his grandfather played is a major key factor to his mental illness and it’s a possibility it could have even been genetic. Any child at a young age exposed to pronagrahy, violence in the home and rejection from a mother, without a doubt has to effect their phsykee. Some choose to control the monsters in their head, while some hact on their monstrous impulses.
Murderous Mines: Ted Bundy Serial Killer Documentary. YouTube, Feb.2017, Top5s https://youtu.be/wbJzFZlUY7I
Welch, William M. Serial Killers in the USA: Alegacy Of Murder. USA Today Magazine. Oct 2014.
This journal summaries different serial killers and their magnitude of their kill spree. This help my essay by giving the the number of victims and the states Ted Bundy committed the murders.
PARSHLEY, LOIS. Can your genes make you kill? Popular Science. May/Jun2016, Vol. 288 (3): 64-69.
This article states that environmental factors may play a part in psychopathic behavior. This could be a strong predictor of adult behavior behind exposed to abuse as a child.
Lamar, Jacob V. & Holmes, Charles. “I Deserve Punishment” Killer Ted Bundy Bargains and Postures To The End. TIME. Feb 1989, Vol. 133 (6): 34.
This article explains his last few days before his execution and how he was trying to bargain for his life over information of his victims dead bodies. His psychopathic way continue till the very end of his life. He couldn’t control his evil urges.
“Ted Bundy.” Crime Mueseum, 2017 https://www.crimemuseum.org/crime-library/serial-killers/ted-bundy/
This source summaries Ted Bundy’s sick passion of murdering his victims and how he would lure his victims and kill them. It also describes how he would kill and mutilate them after death. He would keep the corpse in his apartment and sleep with it, till he could no longer handle the smell of the decomposing body. For someone to kill and then sleep with the corpse is insane and they have to be psychotic.
Reflections on Bundy. National Review. 2/24/1989, Vol. 41 (3):17-18.
The article gives an insight into his mental state before his execution. That his violent urges were fueled by pronagraphy that inspired his crime along with alcohol. This information can be helpful by making sure that children are not exposed to violence and pronagraphy at a young age because it can cause mental illness. So this can argue that access to pronagrahy at a young age could cause mental problems.
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster Culture: Seven Theses.” From Monster Theory: Reading Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. 3-25.