Introduction

My name is E.J. I am starting this blog to educate others about one serial killer in particular, Ted Bundy. 

Bundy at trial

When I took my first plunge into learning about the world of serial killers, Ann Rule’s book, “The Stranger Beside Me” was the first book I purchased.  Upon completing the book, I realized that it sparked a hunger in me to learn more about Bundy, as well as other serial killers.  I have read several other books about Bundy including “The Only Living Witness,” “Conversations with a Killer,” and “The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy.”  In fact, the last book is quite a collector’s item.  It is hard to find online since it has been out of print for some time now.

While Bundy wasn’t unique in his hunger for death and necrophilia, he became somewhat larger than life because of his media exposure during his arrest and criminal trials.  Let’s face it: Bundy didn’t shy away from publicity.  In fact, he reveled in it.  Photos of Bundy show him flashing his dark blue eyes at the camera or giving an eerie smile to the viewer sitting safely behind her or his television set.

Not only was Bundy a media darling, but his crimes were brutal. The blood left behind at the Lynda Healy crime scene or at the Margaret Bowman (Chi Omega) scene was indicative of a bloody rage. The bite marks found on both Lisa Levy and Kimberly Leach not only did him in at trial, but they indicated the level of anger and violence heaped on to these young women.  Since the bodies in Washington State and Utah were generally found months after the women were killed and had turned to mostly skeletal remains, I don’t think the investigators in the Northwestern states had any idea of the brutality of Bundy’s personality.

As I have noted, this blog is being written to explore the nature and psychology of one of America’s most violent and brutal serial killers.  I welcome any and all responses that want to debate or discuss this aspect of Bundy’s nature.  I intend to pay tribute to and honor the memories of all of his victims.  Please join me in honest debate and discussion and please no hate speech toward the victims.  Thanks.

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51 thoughts on “Introduction

  1. One of the things about serial killers, and specifically Ted Bundy, is their seemingly “normal” relationships with women outside of their killing. How did these women feel after he was caught? The picture of him with his college girlfriend is almost surreal, he looks so “normal” there.

  2. There were cracks that showed in his relationship with Liz. She mentioned them in her book & she turned him in to the “Ted Killings” tip line twice. She even went into the police station to follow up on her tip.

  3. First things first: congrats on your blog, it looks very good and interesting. Must be my lucky evening – I have beer and Bundy.
    Secondly – will this blog concentrate on Bundy, or will there be about other serial killers as well?

  4. Hey maal!!! I’m SO glad that you will be posting on my site. Fucking A!! This blog will focus on Bundy, but comparison of Bundy to other killers (even boring ones! Lol) is allowed. Again, feel free to kick back & post, my friends!! All Bundyphiles are welcome. We are all here to learn & debate.

  5. Em I suck at debating, if I don’t get my way I will start bludgeoning girls and make sweet sweet love to their corpses, you know me haha. And learning never was my forte, for over a decade people are telling me the difference between A.M and P.M and even Q.T. and I still get tangled in my own shoelaces, so don’t expect anything worthwhile from me.
    What’s a Bundyphile btw?

    There is a reason why Bundy is among the highest league of sk’s, and I would be commiting blasphemy (which I enjoy in general) if I were to compare him to boring people like Kendall Francois, Homolka/Bernardo case.

  6. Hoi Hans… Danke je for the congratulations! I hope you will post on my blog! We won’t discuss only Bundy, but we can compare & contrast Bundy with other killers. 🙂

    Maal…don’t worry about debate. Just throw out some ideas & we can discuss them. Nobody has to be right or wrong (though I’m always right…haha!). We can share stories about your teeth & other fun stuff. I can’t wait. Keep posting people…let’s get this party started!

  7. Hello Em, sorry about the other comment (the mere name of the blog somehow led me to believe that you could be some sort of a fan, but then I’ve read the rest and got it.
    So, here I am, I have mixed feelings about the reason of my research though. I had heard about Ted Bundy, the serial killer. Never put much thought into it, although I’ve studied and am passionate about Forensic Psy.
    Until last week, when I finally managed to purchase one of the books that had drawn my attention (The Wisdom of Psychopaths) and ran into Bundy. Just out of curiosity, I looked him up on youtube and found the interview filmed the afternoon before his execution. This is how I’ve became more and more interested in understanding or … knowing everything about him. It sounds strange. As someone said : he still casts a spell on people..
    Thank you for your posts and the classic question: any idea on where i could find his fiance’s book …?
    Thank you,
    Monica

  8. Thanks for the info, Monica! I found my copy of “The Phantom Prince” on Ebay. You may need to really dig to find a copy since it has been out of print for a long time.

    Glad you enjoy the blog. I will try to post more often. Do you know that one of Bundy’s VW Bugs is currently on display in the Crime & Punishment Museum in Washington, D.C.? I saw it last year!

  9. Thank you for the reply, Em! Wow! Seeing one of the cars he’s owned … You are fortunate – to live in US, for this reason too :). I live somewhere in Eastern Europe and everything is more difficult here when it comes to stuff that can be found only or mostly in America. Must say (and it is clear to me that they shouldn’t have killed him, as now he is a legend) that I would be thrilled to see it. Connected to your page, you’ve got one containing some pieces of interviews with him (in the interrogatory room) – thank you! – I’ve listened and still am horrified and fascinated, still want to know more. I’ve read that his attorney was to publish a book, do you know if he did?

    • Thanks for all of the kind words, Monica. Let me know if you have any questions about Bundy or have any suggestions for topics on my blog. His attorney, POLLY NELSON, published a book about representing him. Look for her book, “Defending the Devil”!!

  10. Hi there, I am writing an autobiography on Ted Bundy for a research project at University. However there is not much that I know about him. For my project what we have to do is look at some part of his life maybe at a particular obsession or something like that explain from a psychological viewpoint why he would do that. Now the reason I need some help or advice is as follows: for our topic question it has to be something quite specific- not for instance why did he kill, that is too broad. It needs to be something like maybe his obsession with nechrophilia or something specific that I can try to explain psychologically. I will give you an example of the other students topics: one is on Charlie chaplins obsession to only marry girls of the age 16-18 regardless of his aging or adolf hitlers absolute love for one woman when he was such a heartless man to thousands. Does that make sense? so I am looking for my rather closer topic question to look for regarding Ted Bundy…any help would be really appreciated like you have no idea!!!

    • Hi Lauren!

      Thanks for visiting my blog! One of the most interesting obsessions Bundy had (in my opinion) was his obsession with clean socks. (See my post about his socks.) He was even tracked down in areas of Colorado where Caryn Campbell was found based on his credit card purchases of socks (and gas).

      If that doesn’t interest you, his relationship with his mother is another strange thing. She had him out of wedlock at a young mother’s birthing center, then left him there fore 3 months. He believed it was due to the shame his mother felt, but other family members think she intended to leave him there. Imagine not bonding with your mother for the first 3 months of your life. When he was retrieved by Louise (mom), he was brought to live with his grandparents. His grandfather was a violent man & by the age of 3 years old, Ted was showing signs of violence as well. His aunt has said that once when she was sleeping, she awoke to knives surround her in bed and her 3 year old nephew grinning up at her. There are also rumors that Bundy’s true father was his grandfather. There are also suggestions in the book “Ted and Ann,” that Bundy was molested by a Boy Scout leader when he was around 12. I imagine he felt betrayed by his mother for not protecting him from that incident.

      If you really want to get to know Bundy, a good introductory book is Ann Rule’s “The Stranger Beside Me.” That’s where I started. Bundy used to work with Ann (who was a crime writer even then) at a crisis center. She was writing about him before realizing she was working with the “Ted Killer.”

      Let me know if you’d like more information.

      Em aka “bundyphile”

  11. Wow, this was very interesting and informative, but I have a few questions…
    You mentioned here that Ted spoke of his days with Stephanie Brooks as his happiest. Is there any place I could find the interview where he said so? And lots of articles and people say Ted was in love with Brooks and being dumped fueled his motivation to kill women. Does that mean Ted was capable of falling in love? And if it was Stephanie he resented, why didn’t he go after her but instead hurt girls who looked like her?
    “He admitted to Liz that he had tried to kill her and her daughter at one point but was able to stop himself.” – Was this mentioned in Liz Kloepfer’s book?

  12. Hi Zinnia, thanks for visiting my blog! If I remember correctly, Bundy mentioned how happy he was when he was with Stephanie to Stephen Michaud. Michaud wrote a couple of books involving his interviews with Bundy. Check out the books, “Conversations with a Killer” & “The Only Living Witness.”

    You ask if Bundy was capable of falling in love. I don’t think he felt love the way we know it. I think he felt an attachment to Stephanie because she represented the life he wanted with a wife & family. He had lofty aspirations, but due to his anti-social personality, his dreams were superficial. He wasn’t going to work to get what he wanted.

    Bundy didn’t kill Stephanie because he was smart enough to know by killing someone close to him, he’d be caught quickly. He was no dummy, but he was eventually caught due to his arrogance & sloppiness.

    Yes, Bundy admitting being able to stop himself from killing Liz was in her book & I think it was in one of the Michaud books too.

    Hope that helps! Feel free to ask further questions if you like!

    ~Em

  13. It’s always seemed strange to me the stark difference between his killings in the Northwest vs Florida. He went from being a very organized killer to very unorganized. In Washington he picked a very specific type of woman in Florida it was far more random to include a child. Everything I’ve read has said killers don’t do this. I’ve read that in his case the rage just built up until he couldn’t control it anymore, but this seems a little like a cop out, seeing as he could have just as easily gone back to the same type of killings he had been so successful committing before. I’d like to hear your thoughts, theories or ideas on this.

  14. Caleb,

    Dahmer clearly experienced issues due to his parents’ volatile marriage, his possible issues in utero, & his feelings of abandonment when his parents finally divorced. I believe the gene was already there for sociopathic behavior & addiction based on his father’s book. Lionel Dahmer admitted he himself could have easily become a burgeoning arsonist, such was his fascination with fire. We know Dahmer was an alcoholic & killing was just another addiction. He was intelligent because he went undetected for so long, even talking the police into letting an escaped victim return to his custody. Cheers—Em

  15. Thank you for your insight in this killer and Ted Bundy, I did love your website on him so I do hope you will keep writing. Have you ever considered writing a book on Ted Bundy?

      • Keep up the good work. Never knew about the sock-fetish. Your book could highlight unusual aspects like that, illuminating Bundy’s personality, instead of just the cold facts and locations of his murders. Fascinating that credit card sock purchases helped track his movements.

  16. Since Louise Bundy passed away, and a while back they found vials of Ted’s blood stored in a crime lab, has there been any talk of trying to do DNA tests to see if Ted’s grandfather was really his father. Even though it’s familial DNA, I hear that it is so sophisticated now, they could figure it out now. Just curious !!!!!!

  17. I’m a bundyphile myself. Read “The Phantom Prince,” “Defending The Devil,” “The Stranger Beside Me” etc etc. I lived in Seattle and went to Florida State. Grew up in Panama City, near Pensacola. My sister met her husband in Utah (they are Mormons). He actually met Ted Bundy and knew one of the victims. When he was in grad school he was working on a statistics project at a police station. They had Bundy in handcuffs in a back room and the students were daring each other to walk by and say “hi.” So he did. I know that’s not earth shattering but I still make him tell me every time I see him. He knew one of the girls. He said she used to hitch hike all the time. They always warned her but she wasn’t worried. The weird part is that Duane drove a light yellow VW bug. We’ve often speculated that perhaps she saw Ted Bundy’s Volkswagen and thought it was Duanes. The Murder Made Me Famous series on TV discussed the girl he knew. He said they were mispronouncing her last name. I’m glad other people find him fascinating. I went to law school at night and earned my JD. Since law school consists of one convoluted essay exam at the end of the semester, its entirely possible to attend law school and not study–you will fail at the end of course. You might get nailed by a professor if he calls on you, but I could see Ted attending, killing, fantasizing in class but appearing normal. Great blog. I’ll check back now and again. Take care.

  18. Hi Em, Great work on the Blog. I do have to mention though that no bite marks were ever found on Kimberley Leachs’ body as you say in the Introduction. Lisa Levy, absolutely, but not Kimberley. They did find semen that matched Ted’s blood type at that scene though. I look forward to reading more 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind words, Jeynelle. I will have to try to find the source where I read about bite marks on Leach. I know I didn’t make it up, but will definitely do some research. I appreciate your keen eye. Please keep reading!

  19. Let’s discuss film portrayals of Bundy. So disappointed with the recent Discovery ID “Serial Thriller” event. ID tried to disguise Bundy’s identity (at first), but anyone familiar with the case could immediately recognize victim’s names. As Bundy, actor Ryan Gage sported long straight greasy-looking hair and an irritating toothy grin. He failed to be intelligent, disarming or charming, as Bundy clearly was. The old 1986 TV movie “The Deliberate Stranger” starred young Mark Harmon, who did a good job, I thought. The flick tastefully avoided bloody details but showed how Bundy kept up an appealing front to people who met him in 70’s. It also highlighted investigator Bob Keppel. I do remember Keppel saying that (while incarcerated) Bundy asked him which states were most likely to execute killers. Keppel replied, “Texas or Florida” and after his escape, Bundy ended up in Florida. Illuminating, if true. Today I saw for the first time 2008’s “Bundy: A Legacy of Evil” – it sparked an online search which led me here. (Yeah, guess I’m a Bundyphile, too.) With a headful of curly hair, actor Corin Nemec resembled Bundy, though he just couldn’t nail that creepy ingratiating smile. The director must have elicited the strange almost dancelike moves the killer used in the Chi Omega murders – as if he tried hard to restrain himself but couldn’t keep from killing…or something. Unlikely the real Bundy ever had strong inner conflict with his murderous intentions, although in an interview he admitted that killing is wrong. As pointed out above, Bundy felt entitled to possess whatever he desired, and possession equaled theft or murder.

    • While you’re waiting for the price to come down on the book, keep checking in on my blog! A special post for Bundy’s 69th birthday will be published on November 24th. Enjoy & thanks for reading.

      ~Em

  20. Hello. I found your blog very randomly, when googling for pictures of Ted Bundy using the image search.

    I’m not sure if I should admit this, but most people around me know anyway, and I’ve been in therapy most of my life, but I’m a 26 year old woman who has Antisocial Personality Disorder. I have always been fascinated by serial killers, my “favorite” being Ed Kemper.

    I have to admit, though, that I had always hated Bundy, for some reason. I mean, beyond the fact he was a serial killer. It was very hard to explain! Something about his astounding arrogance and narcissism that was beyond what most serial killers I had read about exhibited. As I stated earlier, I’ve had therapy most of my life. I had childhood-onset Conduct Disorder, and had early intervention. I also came from an extremely abusive household – my mother had sociopathic tendencies and was a narcissist (I am positive she had Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and much of her family are sociopaths or psychopaths, so there is a genetic basis there. My dad and his family are the complete opposite, they are perfectly normal – it’s very weird!) I’ve always scored low on narcissist traits (for someone with ASPD), and because of my mother, I tend to dislike individuals who show a lot of narcissism. Not to mention, every time I told someone I was interested in serial killers, they wanted to talk about Ted Bundy, which got annoying, very fast.

    I’m not sure how I got here now, but about two weeks ago I read Ann Rule’s “The Stranger Beside Me”. It was a very good book, and for the first time in my entire life, I found myself actually interested in Ted Bundy. I still hate him for his crimes (most sociopaths do not commit heinous crimes such as murder, or are serial killers, which I’m sure you already know), but I must admit, he is interesting. It feels weird, to say that now! I never thought Bundy was all that interesting, just an over-glorified psychopath.

    What interests me the most about him is he seems to be the closest example I have ever seen to a true psychopath. In psychology (I was a psychology major, although I’ll admit I never finished – I got to my last year and had to drop out, although I did maintain a 4.0 GPA – I’m sure you might have doubt, since people with ASPD tend to lie, but I was raised around psychology all my life, and my father had a PhD in psychology, which is provable), there is something known as “primary psychopathy” and “secondary psychopathy”. If one considers ASPD and psychopathy the same, I have always fit along the lines of “secondary psychopathy” myself – individuals like this are more likely to attempt or commit suicide (and I have seriously attempted suicide before, almost dying), are lower on the sociopathic spectrum, more likely to have more environmental causes (like abuse) than biological ones, and are more likely to have co-morbid disorders like anxiety and depression.

    Then there is “primary psychopathy”, which is what Ted Bundy would be – these individuals are incredibly unlikely to ever commit suicide, are high on the sociopathic spectrum, rarely have any other co-morbid disorders, and their psychopathy is more attributed to biological causes than environmental ones (although, I should note, obviously, that biological and environmental causes play a role in both types, it just is theorized one role may be stronger than the other in each). There are plenty of individuals like this, but Bundy seems to be the closest you can possibly get to an individual with true primary psychopathy. I have also read others state how he is probably the closest you can get to a true psychopath. It’s really fascinating.

    However, there’s a point to this – and I really hoped I haven’t freaked you out with my diagnosis. I tend not to go around announcing it to strangers on the internet, but I thought it might give some insight as to my interest in this topic and my previous personal feelings about Bundy. But you clearly have a lot of knowledge about Bundy, and I recall reading (maybe in this post, or another comment?) that you have been studying Bundy (as a hobby, I assume) for ten years. You also have respect for the victims, and don’t glorify Bundy, which I appreciate.

    So I was wondering, what are the best Bundy books you can recommend, that also give insight to his behaviour, personality, and psychopathy? As well as his life in general – I understand there are things not known and conflicting reports from Bundy himself (he is a psychopath, after all). I found an online pdf of “The Shadow Prince”, and like I said, I have read “The Stranger Beside Me”. I have seen recommendations for “Conversations With a Killer”, but I have also seen others say that the author seems to see Bundy as innocent of the crimes he was convicted of (I think it was that book). Is it worth the read, anyway? And what other books would you recommend, and are there any sites or articles you would recommend, that don’t glorify Bundy? I’m really trying to avoid anything that claims Bundy was innocent, or tries to make him look like just a “misunderstood” guy, or glorifies him too much. Unfortunately I run into this kind of thing a lot when looking for sources about serial killers, and it seems to happen a lot more than usual with Bundy (although I guess that really makes sense, given his psychopathy.)

    Thank you for reading, and thank you for any response I may get. Have a nice day.

    • Oh geez, that did double post! I guess it was delayed, or maybe because I had subscribed to the post? I apologize for spamming your post, especially since it was so long… (if you’d like, feel free to delete one of them, if you can. I do not mind.)

    • Hi Alex, thanks for the comment and for the information you provided about yourself. I realize that people with ASPD often lie, but I am assuming you wouldn’t lie about your family history because it explains why you read my blog. I appreciate the honesty. I’ve read a bit about Conduct Disorder and realize it wouldn’t be diagnosed without a family history and disruption in a child’s life.

      I’ve read quite a bit about Kemper too. What do you find interesting about him? I’m interested in learning more about why he turned himself in.

      Bundy was definitely an arrogant narcissist, no doubt about it. Part of my interest in him is the “boy next door” looks & personality he projected to those around him. I think I would have been gullible despite not finding him in the least bit attractive. He was completely obsessed with murder and really became the 1st poster boy of serial killers. The media loved him regardless of his true nature. I keep peeling away his mask to see the true Ted although I always want him to be a good guy. It’s weird.

      My favorite books about Bundy include “Ted and Ann,” which really details his childhood & suspicions about him killing Ann Marie Burr; “The Only Living Witness,” where he talks about his crime spree in the 3rd person; and “The Bundy Murders: A Comprehensive History” which is a good overall compilation of his crimes and background. Bundy’s fianceé’s book, “Phantom Prince” is a good read despite her need to make him seem less horrible than he was. I liked reading about someone who was very much a part of his life even though she never really knew him.

      I think there is an inherent human need to make someone seem better than they really are/were. That’s probably why you’re encountering books that come from a defense-oriented point of view.

      I hope this helps. Please reply with any further questions!

      • One of the reasons I find Kemper so interesting is for the exact reason you said – that he turned himself in. I can’t think of another serial killer to have done so, or at least not one I’ve read about. Turning yourself in, in his circumstances (from what I know, they weren’t close to catching him, he wasn’t a suspect, and he even had to call back twice because they thought he was joking at first!) is usually a sign of guilt or remorse.

        I guess it kind of reminds me of myself – I believe (since I obviously don’t know, I’ve never killed anyone), I would have turned myself in too. Maybe not, who really knows, like my father has said – you really can’t know what you would do if it hasn’t happened, and maybe I just like to think I would. I did not feel guilt or remorse until I was twenty-five years old, and it still takes a lot to trigger it (and it seems to be towards only one person, my partner). No one’s sure why I suddenly was capable of feeling it, but it might be because I was in a car accident a few years ago that gave me a very severe concussion (a traumatic brain injury). I had a lot of behavioral changes after the accident. My antisocial behavior lessened significantly as well – I had even been a drug addict and had managed to quit. I also developed anxiety problems that I previously had not had. I’m still researching/looking around for anecdotal evidence of sociopathic individuals changing for the “better” (if you could call it that, I certainly don’t see it as better, personally) after brain injuries. Honestly I would have never admitted the diagnosis (except in a ploy to get sympathy) or talked about any of this before my car accident either.

        But for most of my life, I had thought I had felt guilt. I have other co-morbid disorders including one with depressive episodes and Borderline Personality Disorder. I had this “logical” type of guilt where I would get depressed. But it wasn’t the same as real guilt (and I was always confused why everyone around me would insist I didn’t feel guilt – I was really unaware of this. I thought this was guilt.) I believed I deserved to be punished because I knew I had done something wrong. This “guilt” barely impacted my behavior, though. I would do the same thing over and over again. It was not an immediate reaction, either, like how it is with “normal” people. (I dislike the word normal, but in this context I mean it as “the majority”). I used to have to force it to happen, until it became just kind of an associated reaction when I was thinking of the things I had done wrong and what I had done. I have a hard time explaining it to people who don’t know what it’s like to not feel guilt or remorse.

        So that’s really what makes Kemper interesting to me – he fits the profile of a sociopath yet there are other aspects of it he doesn’t fit, which is atypical for a sociopathic serial killer. I don’t think he really felt guilt and remorse or anything, but I think he had some kind of logical capacity and emotional capacity for it more than other sociopaths would have at all. When reading statements he has made, about sympathy for the family (sympathy is not the same as empathy, after all), and his own crimes, he seemed to genuinely mean it. I am very well aware a lot of serial killers, and sociopaths, do this (I have certainly been able to feign guilt and empathy and sympathy for things I felt none of those for. Even people who know me well can still be confused and caught up in it, believing it’s genuine), yet Kemper was the only one I’ve come across whose statements I read where I really didn’t feel it was an act. There’s no real guilt there, like what someone like you feels, but there’s some kind of emotional reaction that’s definitely different. I do think sometimes some of his statements were exaggerated about his level of emotional reaction, but there’s still something genuine there. Or maybe I’m actually fooled, for once.

        (Apologies for going into so much personal information – I have a tendency to do that, but I wanted to give a frame of reference, because usually when I mention this about Kemper people that I don’t know well go “he’s a sociopath! it’s not real, you’re just being manipulated”. Kind of hard to then tell them why I believe there’s a difference.)

        Ted Bundy definitely was amazing in his ability to project that persona. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It’s believable to me on some level, because my mother is like this. The difference between her and Bundy, though, is that once you get closer to her you begin to notice how “off” she is, although maybe not a sociopath. My dad still insists to me she isn’t one, and that she doesn’t have NPD either, despite all the evidence to the contrary. When you confront him with it, he downplays the behavior or gives excuses. It’s really incredible watching this in action, so I get where it’s coming from. But Bundy takes it a step further in a way I’ve never seen – even individuals who got close to him, didn’t notice much that “off”, except maybe after the fact, and even then, there’s hardly anything there. Anything at all. Which is why this also seems like the “true psychopath” – the truest psychopath would be absolutely able to do this, and hide themselves completely. Even I honestly have no idea how he did this. I’ve encountered other sociopaths in my life, and all the ones I’ve read statements from, I can tell. I don’t know how, specifically (aside from just having ASPD myself), but I can.

        I hate to admit it, but I think Bundy would have fooled me, too. I may have gotten a sense something wasn’t quite right, but I don’t think it would have EVER crossed my mind this guy was a murderer or a psychopath, if I had known him. Even psychopaths who appear “normal” will appear superficially so – most people won’t notice, but individuals who are either trained to recognize psychopathy, or just psychopathic individuals, will. Ted Bundy doesn’t even come off as superficial. There’s even this part of me that wonders if there was something more complex to his psyche (in terms of mental illness) than just “psychopath”. I don’t believe there was (obviously, his psyche was “complex” but you know, in terms of co-morbid disorders, I just can’t see it). But it’s like part of me is searching for SOME other explanation. I don’t think it’s driven from a need to see other people as good, since I’ve never had that need and honestly have difficulty grasping the concept of “good” and “bad” in terms of people (there are very few individuals I really feel are “bad” – note “feel”, this is different from logic… like Bundy, I logically know he is bad, but there’s not this emotional reaction about it), but it just doesn’t all make sense. So I feel driven to keep learning more.

        (Also his arrogant narcissism really is quite astounding, though – like I read how he came back to the scene of a crime, with police officers around, to pick up evidence, and no one saw him! I know a lot of people are usually stunned by the brazen things sociopaths do, but most of them are not as hard as they seem – it all has to do with presenting yourself and image, looking the part and being confident. But again, that one even stuns me. Did he have a fake uniform? Was there a lot of confusion going on? How in the world did he pull that off? I forgot where I read this, but there wasn’t any details given as to how he did it. His actions were so arrogant they almost reach the level of stupidity to me, although Bundy was far from stupid. For some reason the explanation of “he didn’t think he’d get caught and thought he was smarter than the police” doesn’t suffice. I’ve thought and felt that way. I still wouldn’t do those things, especially if I was wanted for serious crimes. It defies reason, even to me.)

        Thanks for the recommendations! I think I’ll read “The Only Living Witness” first, as I’ve seen that mentioned a few times now. Also, regarding Ann Marie Burr, do you think that was Bundy’s first victim? (That’s the one he would have been fourteen at the time, correct?) I haven’t read much about it yet (so I really appreciate that recommendation), but a part of me feels like she probably was his first victim. And if not, he probably did commit some murder at a much younger age than proven. It makes sense, especially with his degree of skill with his later murders.

        And thank you again for the reply, as well as being nice and polite. I appreciate it.

      • Kemper is definitely unique for turning himself into police. I know he used to hang out in a cop bar to get the latest update on his criminal escapades. He was hoping they would notice the killer resembled him & would catch him without having to turn himself in. If they’d at least had a description of him, they would have looked further into him because not many people are 6’9″!

        I too would turn myself in because I couldn’t live with the guilt nor the knowledge that I would someday be caught. I’ve heard that people who don’t experience “normal guilt” don’t realize they don’t feel it. Much as psychopaths don’t know that they have shallow emotions (except for maybe anger & pain). Ted Bundy didn’t realize that other people didn’t experience the same level of feelings that he did for a long time. He was also surprised when he was caught because he didn’t know that people notice each other. He felt nobody would notice him committing a crime (even stealing from upscale scores in broad daylight), so he lived his life accordingly. This is one of the main reasons he was caught in Utah & Florida.

        I appreciate the insight into your life and diagnosis. I would be more interested in learning about the extent of your initial “guilt” went. It sounds more like depression, from what you wrote, but what are your thoughts?

        From the little we know about Bundy’s childhood, he was raised in a household with a very violent grandfather (possibly his biological father!) before being moved across the country away from him. Ted’s aunt tells a story when he was 3 about waking up from a nap, surrounded by knives in the bed, and Ted with a glint of mischievousness in his eyes, standing nearby. Later, that same aunt noted she was with him in New Jersey waiting for a train and mentioned how his personality changed in front of her and he became very frightening. Once caught, he was diagnosed with ASPD, bipolar disorder, and narcissistic by several different psychiatrists. I’ve never thought much about him having bipolar disorder, but I can definitely see the ASPD & NPD. He was also most certainly a psychopath. He was highly manipulative, almost to the point of believing what he told others was true.

        Kemper had to have had (ugh, the English language!) some missing boundaries from an early age because he easily killed both of his grandparents by age 15. It’s easy to blame his mother for his behavior, but not having his father around probably played a part. I don’t know much about his relationship with his sisters beyond his playing “electric chair” with them. Another thing I like about Kemper is that he’s self-aware. Few serial killers are aware of how their behavior truly affected people and society as a whole. (Dahmer was another killer who was self-aware, at least after the fact.) I really wish he’d give more interviews because I think his insight could help us understand serial killers better. There is a fine line between blindly believing what a sociopath/psychopath says and being skeptical of it. I try to remain skeptical and research what seems too good to be true.

        One thing that I understand about Bundy is that those who got close to him (except his fiancée and mother) did notice strange things about him. Liz turned him into the police a couple of times because he was acting strangely. Even his cousins noticed things that were off when he was a kid. Bundy admitted to not understanding why or how people became friends and had to try to fake it. Let me ask you this: you mentioned that you don’t feel that many people can be labeled as “bad.” In your experience, what constitutes a “bad” person? We could get into the whole “gray area” conversation as well.

        You mentioned Bundy wearing a uniform at one point. He tried that in Utah when posing as a police officer (Officer Roseland). He was at least convincing enough to get Carol DaRonch into his car, despite her reservations. He was highly arrogant when he did this, but it really leads back to his idea that people wouldn’t notice if he kidnapped someone in broad daylight. He really didn’t think people would identify him with his little fake mustache & light-colored VW bug.

        Regarding Ann Marie Burr, I’m still skeptical about Bundy being her killer. He would have been 14 and would have had to have been extremely lucky or very skilled as a fledgling murderer to pull off her murder and to hide her body so well that nobody has found it to this day. Perhaps he worked with someone (though no evidence of more than one kidnapper has been found) or it was someone else entirely. When you read “Ted and Ann,” you’ll see what I mean. It was an incredible read beyond its simple title. We think his murders began before the Linda Ann Healy murder. He admitted to being in New Jersey around the time 2 young women were killed (1968, I believe) and the theory is that he killed them. I believe the case is still open.

        I look forward to hearing from you again and I shall respond politely again. (Haha) Truly though, I enjoy intelligent discourse and am a very even-tempered person.

        ~Em

      • You are welcome for the link/blog. I also recommend reading Robert Hare’s “Without Conscience”. It’s much more modern than Cleckley’s “Mask of Sanity” (apparently Cleckley assessed Bundy at one point! I thought that tidbit was interesting because he is well-known for his research of psychopathy). Robert Hare’s book also gives concrete examples and direct quotes, as well as no gender bias (he also devised the Psychopathy Checklist, which was intended to be a research tool, but is also used to diagnose Psychopathic Personality Disorder, which isn’t in DSM. He is a leading researcher in the field.) You may find it of interest!

        When reading “Conversations With A Killer” I was particularly struck by Bundy’s manner of speaking, which Hare addresses in the book, and the examples he gives of this speaking is pretty identical to Bundy’s. It’s very atypical in this way that’s hard to explain… Hare does a much better job than I can, and I’m still not very self-aware of it. I didn’t even fully realize my manner of speaking was the same until reading his explanations. He believes there are language processing problems in sociopathy/psychopathy, regardless of the individual having a good vocabulary or being well-spoken. His book has a very professional feel, but is also very accessible to the layperson. It’s a good book and you should definitely check it out if you haven’t and are interested in learning more about the condition!

        Also, I apologize if my comment was rude or overwhelming. I guess I was just excited to discuss these things with someone – I get overexcited easily. If you’re taking time to think of a response then feel free, I just want to make sure I have not upset you, because then I apologize.

      • Hey, I am not annoyed by you at all. I’m enjoying the discourse. I have read Without Conscience and found it really insightful. I’m glad you brought it up because I probably need to do a re-read on that one.

        Have you read Cleckley’s book? I have tried to find an affordable copy but haven’t had any luck. Do tell!

        -Em

      • Thanks for not being annoyed by me. I also have co-morbid Borderline Personality Disorder – not sure if I mentioned that (which is actually not that uncommon with ASPD), which causes feelings/fears of rejection (and abandonment). Oddly, I saw some traits of BPD in Bundy too, but I don’t think he has BPD. I swore I remember reading somewhere that at one point he was diagnosed with BPD, but I may have imagined that now, ha! I don’t think he has it, but a lot of his behaviour/statements struck me as very Borderline.

        But anyway… really, I truly am genuinely concerned over whether people are bothered by me or not. (Also, BPD comes into play in the question you asked me, regarding emotions, whether I feel happiness, etc. – I plan to get to that comment lately, but I’m going through Suboxone withdrawal, which an opiate/oid replacement medication I’ve been on for two years … I was a drug addict for eight. I’m trying to get off the stuff completely because it was causing dysphoria and a lot of anxiety. I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately, so I’m also very, very sleep deprived, and I have a migraine… so I can’t formulate a full response right now, but I promise I will! I am enjoying this conversation.)

        As for Ed Kemper books and interviews, I know of this interview from a Detective Magazine back in the 70s that is absolutely fascinating (you’ve probably seen this before): http://www.truecrime.net/kemper/interview.htm I’ve looked for books about him but all I can find are ones related to serial killers in general that may make mention of him. I think there is one comprehensive book, but it’s in French, and I am unfortunately not that fluent at French, even at reading. I’ll try looking again later!

        I have read Cleckley’s book – several times, actually! It’s been a while since I last read it, though, so I don’t remember it as well right now. But as for obtaining Cleckley’s book, the way I got it was through the local college library my dad works at. It’s very easy to find at college libraries, or even your local library (I think my local non-college library has it). I probably have a lot more to say about Cleckley’s book but, to summarize: I like it, but I do think it is a tad outdated and is more based on personal impressions/biases, unlike Hare’s book, which gives real concrete examples, direct quotes, and seems less based on personal impressions/feelings.

        When I read Cleckley’s book (because it was recommended to me by my father and his colleagues as a teenager)… I thought a lot of it related to me, but then at the same time, it didn’t. It also focuses a lot on males (a gender bias). Female and male individuals with ASPD tend to be different. So that made it really hard for me to accept the diagnosis. I did not accept my diagnosis until last year when I picked up Hare’s book – the quotes and examples and less moral judgement/questions about the “philosophy of evil” that many books on the topic divulge in (although Hare does it some – however, I do agree, many of these individuals are dangerous to society, so he had a point). I remember reading Hare’s book and being shocked – many of the stories I related to so similarly, the quotes from his patients – I had said the exact same things before, even when he went into the language processing problems and how they speak – it was exactly how I spoke. I remember being shocked for a minute and suddenly it just all clicked.

        Hare’s book is also a lot more accessible, but still very professional (as I said). Cleckley’s book is a lot more on the technical, professional side – at some points it may be hard to digest/understand if you don’t have a background in psychology/abnormal psychology. He also uses outdated terms, because the book is from the 1940s or so. However, it’s still a very pivotal book and I absolutely always recommend reading it as well – it’s what started the research into psychopathy/sociopathy. This includes Hare as well – he had read the book around the time when it came out, and that was part of his eventual venture into the field, as he noted many problems with Cleckley’s book and how to exactly define these individuals and study them for research, finding some of the definitions a little confusing and not concrete, which led to the wonderful Psychopathy Checklist (which I easily score a 28 or so on – female individuals tend to score a bit lower.)

        But, you can probably definitely find it at a local library, particularly a college library, if you have access to it (such as if you are a student, or know someone who is, or even know a professor). They probably would not mind checking it out for you. If that’s not an option, it’s also often found at local non-college libraries as well.

  21. (I did not see a reply link on the last comment you posted. So here is this. This is really long. I talk a lot. I also haven’t exactly read this over.)

    Hi, I’m well aware this is a very, very late comment. I wanted to read some more (a lot more) before comprehensively responding. I still didn’t quite read – or watch – everything I wanted to (like the book “Ted and Ann” – I didn’t have the money, so), but I’ve read a lot and think I have a lot more understanding now!

    (I read “The Only Living Witness”, also, I went ahead and read “Conversations With A Killer” – or, well, I’m ALMOST done with that one. I have about a hundred pages left. Not sure why people thought the authors were trying to depict Bundy as innocent there. I think they were misunderstanding the strategy they were using to interview him.)

    I’m sick right now, but feeling incredibly responsive. I’m going to apologize if this is really long or overwhelming. Also, my tone and everything is probably going to sound different. I was feeling more formal the previous comments. And a little wary.

    Also, I remember noticing you had mentioned the Bundy movie on here. I didn’t quite care for this movie. A bit too sensationalistic. I was wondering if you had seen “The Deliberate Stranger” (1986) with Mark Harmon? I preferred that one, although I did like how the Bundy movie incorporated certain behaviours the other one didn’t. I guess because less was known at the time “The Deliberate Stranger” was made. Mark Harmon can look a lot like Bundy at times, it’s creepy. (Although I’m a little face blind, so… maybe he doesn’t look that much alike. But the profile, especially, to me. I also can never quite watch NCIS the same way again – Mark Harmon plays a main character in the show. He’s much older, but still.)

    I find the fact that Bundy didn’t seem to realize other people noticed each other very strange. That’s not a common trait of psychopathy/sociopathy, as far as I know. Or maybe I don’t realize I do that, who knows – or it just doesn’t escalate to the level that Bundy had. If I do something wrong, in public – I’m going to think someone might have seen me. I’m very cautious and very paranoid about doing anything where anyone can see – it’s odd because Bundy seems to logically state these same kind of things, like when talking in the third person about the person who committed the murders (which we all know he was talking about himself), he says they tried to minimize witnesses and whatnot. Yet this contradicts with some of his behaviour and that whole idea. I know I don’t tend to really notice other people or look around when I’m out in public unless it’s deliberate. On the other hand, I’m also a people observer and tend to feel that people also observe other people. (But maybe that goes with the “deliberate” idea). So this is very contradictory, so… I don’t know, I can’t put this into words. I’ve honestly never heard that kind of thing before, and it’s been a little perplexing to me.

    I found a great word to explain what my initial “guilt” was like, and I want to clarify I still feel that kind of thing most of the time – I rarely ever feel real guilt. I also want to clarify that I can’t possibly know for certain if the first time I felt it, if that was guilt. I am just going by what I was told – I was talking to some other people at the time it happened. I did not understand what I was feeling. I thought I was dying, or something. I got really freaked out and really scared. When I described it to several other people, they told me I wasn’t dying and I was okay – that I was feeling guilt. To me, guilt is very physical. Like, this emptiness in your chest, and it feels like it’s caving in, almost, and it really seems to hurt, physically. I don’t really feel emotions physically, except for anxiety, and anger. And it’s like it was uncontrollable – a lot of my emotions can be very uncontrollable, but this was different. It was externally uncontrollable. I just started to sob – and I couldn’t stop. I had to seek out the person and apologize, and make it right – this was just a very strange feeling. It frightens me. Other people said it was frightening to watch me go through it.

    I trailed off – the word I found to describe the other thing, is “blame”. I’m going to assume a lot of people associate blame with guilt, which makes sense, but to me, these are two different things. I just feel like things are all my fault. I think I’m a really, really terrible person and I ruin everything. I think I deserve to be punished. It’s actually very genuine. I’ve ended up in the ICU because of these feelings – they’re intense. They get so intense I really do believe I deserve to die, because I see myself as very bad and evil, and think if I kill myself – no one else will be hurt by me. It’s self-hatred, and it’s a lot of blame. But not guilt. I have very, very low self-esteem but have high self-confidence (I’m confident in my ability to control over people, to exert power and influence over them – but I don’t think I’m a good person, and I don’t accept who I am.) I feel people are genuinely better off without me. I honestly think I believe that. It’s just really, really intense depression, self-hatred, and blame – it gets to suicidal levels, but not to stop your pain. To stop the pain you are causing other people, because you know it’s there. You really can’t deny it, even though you may not respond emotionally, in the form of guilt. But you understand that it’s negative, and that it’s hurting other people.

    You mentioned Bundy being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. I don’t really believe it either – the “highs” and “lows” he described are not caused by bi-polar disorder. When he was describing that, it actually hit me that I really think I know what he was referring to – whether he realized it or not. I’m not sure he fully did, or else he probably wouldn’t have given it away so easily. And, bear with me here, but I wanted to run something by you – about the Chi Omega case. Bundy kept really avoiding why this happened, or explaining it, especially the great deal of rage and anger. This may just sound… weird to you, I don’t know – and I’m going to have to insert some personal experience. But I have a hypothesis why this may have happened – all that anger and violence. And I even have a hypothesis why Bundy didn’t want to talk about it or address it (I didn’t believe that whole spiel, “It’s in the appeals process!”)

    But going back to that highs and lows thing – where he mentioned how he would sit around consuming large amounts of time. I do this all the time, and it’s definitely not depression. It’s boredom. Sociopaths/psychopaths have chronic boredom. I’ll sit there, for hours – not doing anything. I don’t know what to do. This concept is so hard to explain to people who aren’t this way, so this post is probably the best explanation I’ve found (if you’re interested):

    The “highs” he described didn’t really click until he described his second escape, and the authors mentioned how sociopaths/psychopaths do better in prison environments. I had never heard that before, but it made sense. I know that high, too! It’s a feeling of being in control and having power. I’ve never been in prison – but I’ve been institutionalized, a lot. A lot of people have compared institutionalization to like being in a prison. I have never understood this. I feel really, really good and in control when I am institutionalized. I feel like I can control the people and environment around me. It’s weird – I’ll want freedom. I also logically know I am being controlled, and that I don’t have as much power as I think I do – it doesn’t really seem to matter. As long as I have the illusion, belief, and feeling I have control and power. As soon as I get hospitalized, in about a few days, I’ll start wanting out! I’ll manipulate the staff to get out sooner than I probably should be. And when I get out, I feel very, very good. I feel like everything is going to be okay. Everything is going to work out, now. But then, in a very short period of time – I can completely crash. It can take only two weeks, and it seems to happen suddenly, and almost quickly.

    When Bundy described that – to me, that reminds me of the loss of feeling like one is in control. It’s not mania, but it’s a really, really good feeling. And then you lose it. You can’t really predict people. They can respond in unexpected ways. It begins to just… unsettle you. I’m losing even more words to explain this. It is too hard to explain this feeling.

    (I also want to interject, that like I said, I’m not quite finished with “Conversations With A Killer”, so… he may end up explaining this in the book. Although I’m not really sure I would believe any explanation he would give, given what I know and have experienced. I scanned through the rest of it – it doesn’t seem like he ever really explains it.)

    But either way, when that starts happening – I start becoming very, very angry, more and more frequently. I’ll just get more and more antisocial, and do absolutely anything to regain my control (or feeling of control). It gets harder and harder not to lash out – not to engage in antisocial behaviours to regain control. It will be hell to be around me. I will see the most minor things as insults, as offenses, as challenges, in relation to power and control. Of course I don’t act like Bundy did. But when they postulated that possibly he had gotten rebuffed or insulted by one of the Chi Omega women – that really made sense to me. I wonder if Bundy felt like he was regaining control and power, when he did these things to women. There’s also the misogyny element. That fits into the idea of possession to me, too.

    I honestly think Bundy was just – in his own way – embarrassed to talk about it. I don’t know, but when I regain that feeling of control – I become really embarrassed to talk about any ways I had lashed out or any of the antisocial ways I had acted. I also don’t even know if “embarrassed” is the right word. I have trouble explaining the ways I feel and relating them to other people. I definitely don’t feel guilt, but – it’s almost like that person doesn’t exist to me any more. I’ll get agitated when people keep bringing up things I did during those times. I don’t want to talk about it – I don’t know who that person is any more. That person is a different person from who I am now. I can’t seem to really, truly integrate these things. It’s over with now, it doesn’t matter any more, and I don’t understand why people want to talk about it. It doesn’t occur to me, really, that they’re still affected by whatever I had done, and they don’t understand it, and they want explanations. That’s kind of the impression I got from Bundy but – it’s hard for me to imagine it being that way in relation to murder. But maybe so. Sociopaths/psychopaths just have a real inability to truly imagine the future but also an inability to really remember the past. It’s like nothing is ever permanent. It doesn’t matter any more. It won’t matter in the future. Even if it does, and it will. That also kind of goes into the idea of him trying to convince himself that he was never going to murder again. I honestly believed him about that. I’m sure he did tell himself that.

    So I was wondering, what your thoughts are on that? I understand if it’s hard to understand. I find the Chi Omega murders very interesting. I have a hard time grasping Bundy’s desire to kill – but his sociopathic behaviour, even in relation to that, makes sense to me. It’s interesting, because I don’t think he’s aware of how much he gives away. When reading his transcripts I kept getting the impression (as I’m sure everyone else did), that he’s trying to manipulate, you know, word things a certain way. But then it’s amusing because he doesn’t appear to notice the times he really gives insights into his behaviour. I guess that fits into the idea of sociopaths/psychopaths seeming like they’re self-aware, but not being truly self-aware. Although I’m not sure it’s that simple.

    (And also, I personally agree about the NPD diagnosis. A lot of his level of narcissism is hard for me to grasp as well. I don’t have NPD. I’m not that highly narcissistic. It’s hard for me to understand. Self-confidence is one thing, but the rest, not really. I just can’t truly understand that level of narcissism. It’s the same with my mother, who, as I mentioned, has NPD. Maybe the “not noticing people” thing is really just part of NPD, or something, but I can’t understand how it would be. I’m not very well-researched in NPD. Reading about it makes me angry and gives me flashbacks to my mother’s abuse. So I avoid reading about it, for the most part.)

    Jesus, this is getting really long. I’m really sorry, I just had a lot of thoughts building up over time, reading all this. So I’m going to try to end it quickly.

    I agree about wishing Kemper would give more interviews. There are really no books and hardly any interviews with him. The few interviews that he has given are really interesting. (I have used the word “interesting” a lot, but it’s true.) I haven’t really read much about Dahmer, so I can’t comment on his level of self-awareness or understanding.

    Like I said at the beginning, I still haven’t read that book yet (I’m hoping to read it soon) – but if they couldn’t even find her body, then I agree, that’s probably a good reason to be skeptical. I can’t imagine a fourteen year old having that much ability. Unless he was, as you said – extremely lucky. But I do agree that he probably killed before what is believed.

    I’m ending this comment now, thank you for your time.

    • Thanks again for your reply, Alex. I wanted to take my time in replying because I wanted to respond to as much of your message as possible at once. Have you finished “Conversations with a Killer” yet? Let me know what you thought of Ted’s “almost confession.” I’m not convinced the authors were trying to prove Bundy innocent because he even told one of the investigators that if they tried to exclude him from some of his murders, they wouldn’t find evidence to exonerate him.
      The Bundy movie from 2002 didn’t have the best acting or effects, but I felt it was got a lot of the facts right. The first scene with Bundy drooling over his socks & the scene with him stealing the plant were both things he talked about, but they’re not common knowledge to most serial killer fans. I did enjoy “Deliberate Stranger” and Mark Harmon really did look like Bundy in the turtlenecks. Did you know that Bundy knew about the movie & refused to watch it from prison? He thought they’d get everything wrong.
      I don’t know why Bundy didn’t think people noticed each other. I know he was naturally shy & shy people often try not to notice others. It could explain his abduction of Lynda Healy. He carried her body out of her basement apartment when other people were around. None of the people who saw him talked to him or ever went to the police when Healy was reported missing. Go figure.
      Thanks for giving more information about how you experience guilt and blame. The feeling of guilt as a pang in your chest is something that others feel too. I can definitely relate to that. What helps you get beyond your very strong emotions? Do you ever strong feelings of happiness?
      I also appreciate your insight into Bundy’s NPD. The difference between psychopathy & narcissism sometimes get blurry. Both suggest a self-possession and grandiosity.
      I wish Kemper would give more interviews too. Can you recommend any good books about him or maybe a web site about him? He’s quite the enigma.
      This computer is running so slowly tonight, so I’m ending this post here.

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