My Relationship with Ted Bundy

I’m involved in an abusive relationship with a dead man. Let me clarify that statement. I am constantly thinking about, imagining, and reading about a violent serial killer. His ice blue eyes and wavy brown hair call forth feelings of both compassion and revulsion. I am both drawn to and repelled from this handsome charmer, moonlighting as a bloodthirsty necrophile. Ambivalence lingers as I contemplate the dirty deeds of Theodore Robert Bundy, even twenty-eight years since his execution in Florida’s electric chair at age 42.

Bundy Smile.jpg

What a smile!

 

As if we were lovers, my thoughts often turn to him as I imagine the things we share in common. We both grew up in the Methodist church, were involved in scouting activities, and we were withdrawn and shy in high school. Despite being raised on the opposite sides of the country (he in Washington state and me in North Carolina), I’ve always felt a connection to Ted’s family upbringing and working class family. His mother clearly loved him, as did mine, and his siblings looked up to him.

As the eldest children in our families, we both understood the pressure placed on us. The first child always feels they’re treated as a guinea pig as their parents learn what boundaries to put on them. Parents always give only so much rope to test the waters in those early years. However, when Ted was sneaking out and peeping in his neighbor’s windows as a teenager, I was happily tucked in my bed at night. The thought of violence towards another individual couldn’t have been further away from my mind.

Conversely, the time I spend imagining how Bundy would have related to certain events and where he buried the still-missing bodies of so many women, it takes its toll on other relationships in my life. My husband notices when I seem far away and friends can tell when I’m less than involved in our conversations. Some people distance themselves when they hear about my interest in serial killers, and Bundy specifically. Explaining his acts of depravity and unsavory proclivities discourage some acquaintances from getting to know me better. Even when I am determined to envelope myself completely in social interactions, my mind drifts back to the memory of a certain cold stare in Ted’s interview with Dr. James Dobson.

Bundy Dobson

January 23, 1989: The day before his execution

 

Despite being averse to everything he did, including the political party he joined as a teenager, I am still drawn to the image of Bundy as a smart, driven law student with a quick wit and one-hundred watt smile. The relationship I have with this long deceased man is dysfunctional at best and morbid at worst, though I don’t see it ending any time soon. He will continue to haunt me through the years to come, and his words and deeds will hold me in his thrall.

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Ted’s 69th birthday

If Ted Bundy had taken the deal he was offered in Florida for the Chi Omega murders, he might still be alive to see his 69th birthday today. However, the offer would require him to admit guilt in the death of two sorority women in January of 1978. If you’re keeping score, one of the only things Bundy couldn’t bring himself to do was to admit his guilt (at least until the very end of his life). Bundy absolutely refused to admit he’d killed the young women in the university house, thereby nullifying the plea agreement and was given the death penalty. That said, Ted had no way of knowing he’d be convicted of Kimberly Leach’s murder and sentenced to death.

Bundy

“Happy birthday to me!”

 

Despite what could have been for Ted, today is hardly a day to “celebrate” the birth of one of America’s most violent 20th century serial killers. Instead, it should be a time of reflection and remembrance of the young women murdered in this country every day. Bundy’s victims had barely reached an age of independence to seek out their futures and experience life as an adult. Instead, their lives were snuffed out to fulfill the desires of a psychopath’s lust, then discarded as if they were trash.

Though I am growing less comfortable with capital punishment in the United States, I have to say, I’m glad Bundy’s life was ended on January 24, 1989. There are those who feel he should have been allowed to live to assist psychiatrists and sociologists better understand the psychopathic brain. While some dangerous men like Ted would be forthcoming about their true intentions and guilt, I doubt Bundy would have done so. It was only the promise of death that pressured him to give more information, and that was only done with the hope he would be given another stay of execution by the governor of Florida.

Therefore, don’t give another thought to Ted Bundy’s birth today. Rather, imagine what the lives of the women whose lives he took would have been like. They would have been mothers and wives, lawyers and teachers, radio hosts and actors. The families they left behind will always wonder, but for the birth of Theodore Robert Cowell Nelson Bundy, they will never know.

Sex with a Psychopath

Have you ever wondered if any of your ex-lovers were psychopaths? What would you do if they were? Liz Kloepfer not only had very fulfilling sex with Ted Bundy, but she gushed about it in the book she published in 1981 called “The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy.” Ted and Liz met in a Seattle bar in 1969 and carried on a relationship for almost 5 years. She thought he was incredibly good-looking at would have done anything for him. The fact that she enjoyed sex with him was just icing on the cake.

Ted Bundy as many women probably imagined him.

Ted Bundy as many women probably imagined him.

According to Liz, sex with her psychopathic boyfriend was “tender and gratifying.” She was hopelessly in love with him after the clunky sex she had with 2 other men after her divorce. She relished all of the romance and excitement she experienced in the love-making with Ted and it clearly drew her closer to him. The fact that he asked her for what she considered “abnormal sex” (e.g. “anal,” “bondage”) was brushed off later because he never forced her to engage in those acts.

Though we don’t have any information about Bundy’s sexual prowess with any other women, he clearly impressed his ex-girlfriend Stephanie when they reunited in the early 70’s for a short time. It’s conceivable to believe that other women enjoyed being with Ted, though it’s probably safe to say he was really only interested in what it represented to him. Sex with women who weren’t his murder victims was a way to make himself appear normal. He could get away with his abnormal behavior with cadavers and unconscious women while fooling those around him.

What we know about Bundy’s abnormal erotic appetites can be determined from his Florida victims. The Chi Omega victims were found with bite marks on their buttocks and foreign objects inserted in their bodies. This occurred after Ted bludgeoned them into oblivion with a piece of wood he picked up on his way into the sorority house. When his final victim’s body was found in a hog shed on an abandoned farm in Florida, it was determined she had been brutally beaten and sexually assaulted.

Florida victim's bite mark later matched to Bundy's dental impression.

Florida victim’s bite mark later matched to Bundy’s dental impression.

It’s interesting to see how very different the two sides of Bundy could be. On one hand, he was seen as a charismatic handsome man and on the other, he was clearly a violent criminal who viewed women as objects. I think it’s fair to say the violent side of Bundy is the true side. If nothing else, it’s the one that won out in the end. Bundy was arrested in 1978 and eventually confessed to murdering several women. No word was available about how those women felt about the sexual experience.

The “Ted Murders”

It has always astounded me that Bundy used his real name when introducing himself to victims. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal if the victims were isolated, but when he was seeking out women at Lake Sammamish in the summer of 1974, he gave his name to several women. Most of those women didn’t leave the location with him and were able to report him to the police after Janice Ott & Denise Naslund were discovered missing.

Ted murders

Ted murders

This type of bravado in the face of potential witnesses aligns with standard psychopathic behavior. The individual committing the crimes believes he’s can outsmart police. It thrills him to dangle identifying information before authorities and to still get away with his crimes. Psychopaths don’t experience fear the way most of us do. They constantly need more and more risk (much like an addict, which described Bundy perfectly) to experience any kind of excitement.

One thing Ted did love was being noticed. He enjoyed being the center of attention among his peers. No doubt this was another reason he used his first name when other people could hear him. He wanted the notoriety, but didn’t want to be caught. While other killers write to the media or call the police to get famous, Bundy wanted a different type of notoriety. He clearly got aroused from seeing his name in the newspaper or on television because he was the only person who knew he was to blame.

What Ted didn’t know was his girlfriend in Washington State turned him in twice and his coworker (Ann Rule) turned him too. Ted didn’t think people noticed each other or missed a person when they weren’t around. He didn’t understand how giving his name could have been a bad idea because his grasp on reality was muddled. However, it explains how he was eventually caught. Thank goodness for small wonders and in this case, a big mistake.

Bundy’s First Escape From Custody

Newspaper

Newspaper

Bundy’s first escape happened in Aspen, Colorado on July 7, 1977.  He was supposed to be doing research for his trial in the murder of Caryn Campbell, when he jumped from the 2nd story law library and high-tailed it out of the area on a sprained ankle.  He was able to steal a car, but it didn’t take him far before breaking down.  He got lost and wandered the area before locating a cabin nearby and breaking in.  He spent the night and stole food, clothes, and a hunting knife before heading back out the next day. 

Three days later, after continuously wandering in the area, he broke into a trailer and stole a ski parka and more food.  Keep in mind that he was doing all of this with a sprained ankle.  This is a guy that definitely didn’t want to be in custody!

On July 13th, he wandered back toward Aspen and stole a car.  He was discovered in this car by police and re-arrested.  After 6 days on the run, he was in pain and exhausted.  Though it wouldn’t stop him from attempting escape again, this attempt was hardly a success.

Sometimes when killers are caught, I hear people telling me that they want to be caught.  Very few of them turn themselves in and I believe they want the killing to end, but I doubt they want to be caught.  Some of them want the notariety that goes along with a successful and long killing spree.  Others have accomplished what they set out to do (a la Edmund Kemper who killed his mother at the end of his spree).  Those killers are few and far between.

Bundy didn’t want to be caught.  He wanted to kill over and over and constantly try to satisfy his hunger for murder and necrophilia.  As you’ll see in my next post, Ted escaped from prison a 2nd time and this time, women weren’t so lucky.

Stay tuned…

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.