Imagine being out on the beach or walking down the street and a handsome man wearing his arm in a sling or his leg in a fake cast and walking on crutches asks you to help him carry books or unload objects from his car. Or maybe the man is a police officer or firefighter. You say yes and next thing you know you are struck with a crowbar or a pipe, handcuffed and forced into a 1968 tan Volkswagen Beetle. All you wanted to do was help the crippled man, but you end up being kidnapped, raped, and murdered. This is what happened to Ted Bundy’s victims.
Ted Bundy was an infamous murderer, rapist, and necrophile in the 1970s. He admitted to committing 30 homicides of young women and girls, but he may be guilty of many more. People described him as being handsome, clean-cut, articulate, and very intelligent. He was pursuing a career in law or politics. Ted Bundy himself claimed in an interview before his death that he was simply a normal person and that “there is [absolutely] nothing in [his] background which would lead one to believe that [he] was capable of committing a murder.” Although we can not know for sure what caused Bundy to murder and rape all those women, we can assume it had to do with his psychopathy, his violent pornography addiction, his alcohol abuse, and how he sought revenge on his first girlfriend after they broke up.
Although Ted Bundy had never been diagnosed with any mental illness, I believe he had an antisocial personality disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, some symptoms of this disorder are, “disregard for right and wrong, persistent lying or deceit to exploit others, using charm or wit to manipulate others for personal gain or personal pleasure, a desire for power and control, and lack of empathy for others and lack of remorse about harming others.” If Bundy cared about what was right or wrong or had remorse about harming others, he would not have raped and killed so many women. He lied so much and was so convincing that people believed him. When he was in jail, he kept on trying to prove his innocence by talking to journalists to get his story out. He used his charm to get women to trust him and lure them to his car. According to The Ted Bundy Tapes on Netflix, he was antisocial when he was younger. He never fit in, and it seemed like there was a gap in him. This proves that he was never a completely normal kid. Bundy’s childhood friend, Sandi Holt, said in the tapes that, “He wanted to be something he wasn’t. He wanted to be president and show the world that he was the one to be dealt with.” This shows his desire for control, even when he was young.
According to Ted Bundy in the interview of his last words before execution, when he was around 12-13 years of age, he was exposed to softcore porn, but he went out searching for more in the garbage of his neighbors’ houses, and he found pornographic books of a hard-earned nature that were more graphic and explicit. Bundy said, “Like most other kinds of addiction, I would keep looking for more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of material. Like an addiction, you keep craving something which is harder, harder, something which gives you a greater sense of excitement, until you reach the point that pornography only goes so far.” He also said that “What alcohol did in conjunction with my exposure to porn was alcohol reduced my inhibitions at the same time the fantasy life that was fueled by porn eroded them further.” Bundy’s addiction to porn made him wonder if actually doing it will give him more than just reading about it or looking at it. The alcohol lowered his restraints and perhaps caused him to enact his fantasy. Bundy is known to be a compulsive liar, so we can not blindly believe everything he says. However, the FBI’s own study on serial homicide shows that the most common interest among serial killers is pornography. Many people watch porn; In fact, “Pornhub revealed in 2016 that they had no fewer than 64 million daily visitors” (McKinstry). All of the people who watch porn did not become rapists and serial killers. Bundy’s addiction to porn and alcohol themselves did not cause him to murder and rape women but combined with his psychopathic antisocial behavior could have caused all of this to happen.
Ted Bundy met his first girlfriend, Diana Edwards at the University of Washington. In The Ted Bundy Tapes on Netflix, Bundy revealed that their relationship brought out a lot of his own insecurities. When Edwards eventually ended things, he said he had a desire to “get some sort of revenge” on her. Almost all of Bundy’s victims resembled Edwards in the way that they were white, slim, with long, dark hair. This could mean that his killings were driven by the ending of their relationship. According to the daily mail, “[Bundy] selected victims that were a ‘carbon copy’ of his former flame, choosing to kidnap, beat, rape and mutilate young women who were in the ‘prime of their lives’ and looked strikingly similar to the brunette who broke his heart.” He chose victims that resembled his ex-girlfriend who broke his heart, so it is as if he is punishing her over and over.
Ted Bundy is considered a monster. What kind of right-minded person would do what he did? Right? Especially because he was so charming and handsome. Thesis III of Jeffery Jerome Cohen’s Monster Culture, the monster is the harbinger of category crisis, states that “the monster always escapes because it refuses easy categorization.” People were in disbelief that Bundy was responsible for the murder of about 30 women because he was just a smart and handsome law-student. How could he be a killer? He avoided suspicion for so long because people could not believe he can be both attractive and a killer. In a way, he is escaping because he is avoiding getting caught.
In conclusion, Ted Bundy is a handsome, intelligent, lying, charming, manipulating serial killer, and rapist. In this essay, I described the possible causes that led Bundy to rape and murder 30+ women which were his psychopathy, his violent pornography addiction, his alcohol abuse, and how he wanted revenge on his first girlfriend after they broke up. All of these factors together contribute to Ted Bundy as we know him. They all work together to create a monster. A monster that refuses easy categorization because of his attractive looks. A monster who avoided suspicion for so long and devastated so many families.
“Antisocial Personality Disorder.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 4 Aug. 2017, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/antisocial-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353928.
Berlinger, Joe, et al. “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.” Netflix Official Site, 24 Jan. 2019, www.netflix.com/watch/80226550?trackId=14170286&tctx=2,1,2466186b-b710-4f50-84c1-09442084b20e-131193410,1af4807d-0853-4ff1-9868-f894c51fb0d0_7167736X3XX1558137225008,1af4807d-0853-4ff1-9868-f894c51fb0d0_ROOT.
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome, editor. Monster Theory: Reading Culture. NED – New edition ed., University of Minnesota Press, 1996. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttsq4d.
Corner, Natalie. “Serial Killer Ted Bundy ‘Motivated by Rejection’.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 1 Dec. 2017, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5125215/Serial-killer-Ted-Bundy-motivated-rejection.html.
McKinstry, Leo. “Porn Used to Be Private but with 92bn Pornhub Views – Why Don’t We Do Something?” The Sun, The Sun, 23 Oct. 2018, www.thesun.co.uk/news/7567281/92bn-views-pornhub-leo-mckinstry/.
“Serial Murder.” FBI, FBI, 21 May 2010, www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/serial-murder
“Ted Bundy Last Words Before Execution.” YouTube, YouTube, 3 Aug. 2018, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpF3ADZNczk.