Ted’s 70th

Today is the day on which Ted Bundy would have turned seventy years old, had he not been executed or died prematurely. If he had managed to outwit police and continued killing, imagine how many more women would be dead. If we consider he killed approximately 30 women (by his admission) over the course of four years, it’s quite fathomable he might have murdered hundreds of women over four decades! Though his chances of not getting caught would have been small, the sheer magnitude of that estimate is simply incomprehensible. 

Ready for presents

Despite his ambition & dedication to killing defenseless young women, it would have been harder & harder for him to fit in on college campuses as he aged. Also, his looks would have invariably faded. Fewer women would have fallen for his “whoops, I dropped my books routine.” Could Bundy have adapted to the changes in the environment around him enough to stay under the radar?

Another thing to consider is the advances in technology and how forensics have evolved since his capture in 1978. Until 1986, DNA analysis wasn’t understood and bite mark evidence would have been even more conclusive in his trials in Florida. Also, police departments are far more likely now to share their evidence with other agencies in an effort to capture criminals quicker and more efficiently.

Though his various victims weren’t so lucky, the rest of the world is better off that Bundy was caught back in 1978. Frankly, very few serial killers stop killing and Bundy had no intention of ending his true passion in life. Here’s to moving beyond his 70th birthday without the loss of another young woman’s life to his brutality.


The Compete FBI File of Ted Bundy

This is a thorough collection of FBI documents related to Bundy’s arrests, escapes, and crimes. Though some pages are hard to read and some information had been redacted, this is a worthwhile purchase. You can find a copy of this book and many other volumes of serial killer statistics at the Serial Killer Calendar Web site listed on the right side of this blog. 

Bundy’s Father Figures

It’s true that Ted Bundy was both drawn to and repelled by women. Clearly his relationship with his mother and other female relatives influenced his preferred victim type. However, the male role models in Bundy’s life were just as influential in how he identified himself in relationship to the women around him. Through analyzing the men in his life, we can endeavor to better understand Bundy’s motives and needs.

The first and probably most influential man in Bundy’s life was his grandfather, Samuel Cowell. Since his mother was an single mother and unwed motherhood was frowned upon in 1946, Ted’s grandparents took on the outward role as parents in Bundy’s life and his mother took a more secondary position. It has been suggested that Ted clung to his grandfather and shadowed him everywhere. In Samuel Cowell, he found a leader. Unfortunately, Samuel was a violent bigot who often experienced hallucinations and talked to himself when no one else was in the room. As we can see, there was already a potential for violent behavior (and possible mental disorder) being exhibited for the young child. Bundy’s aunt told crime writer, Ann Rule, that when he was 3, she woke up to find herself surrounded by knives as she lay on her bed. A cherubic Ted was standing nearby with a grin on his face. The violent gene in his brain was already switched on.


Sam Cowell and a young Ted at the beach.

The fact that Bundy was illegitimate became a big deal when he hit his teenage years. I believe he acted out at times partially because he had to learn about his real father on his own. He was horrified because this didn’t fit his dream of becoming rich and famous. He wanted to be the perfect specimen and felt the world owed him. It’s plain to see the narcissistic personality disorder diagnosis he would later receive by a court-appointed psychiatrist was already in play by high school.

Ted’s great-uncle, Jack Cowell, became a mentor to him when his mother moved him to Tacoma, Washington in the early 1950’s. Mr. Cowell was a neighborhood piano teacher who was independently wealthy. Bundy looked up to him and wanted to emulate his lifestyle. He sometimes dreamed of being Jack’s child and growing up on the fancy side of town. When Bundy was 14 years old, an 8 year old girl in his neighborhood went missing. He was suspected of killing her when it was later determined that the missing child, Ann Marie Burr, was one of Uncle Jack’s piano students. Though Bundy later denied being involved in her murder, he made comments to the effect of having sexually abused and dumping Ann Marie’s body shortly before his execution. He was never linked to her murder since her body has never been found, but it does raise the question of his brutality at a young age.

Ted saw himself in his fantasy world as a strong, husband and father. He had worked for the Republican party and looked every bit the successful business man. Through a fortuitous hobby as a thief, he managed to obtain some of the finer things in life. It was one way of completing the facade or the charming, high society personality he wanted to project.

Johnny Bundy, who adopted Ted as a child, had a complicated relationship with his eldest son. He tried to relate to the difficult child he had accepted as a package deal upon marrying Louise, but all attempts to connect failed. Mr. Bundy was a middle-class worker who couldn’t possibly provide a lavish lifestyle for his five children. Ted was never able to see past the fact his adopted father lacked the motivation for the finer things in life. In fact, he resented what he saw as Johnny’s lack of ambition. By the time Ted was in high school, he had already distanced himself from his father.


Ted with his stepfather, Johnny Bundy.

Despite Ted’s discomfort toward his father as the head of the household, Bundy never acted out against men in the manner he chose to brutalize the unlucky women who chanced to cross his path. Had he felt the same intense hatred towards men that he felt for women, I believe police would have located male victims and connected them to Bundy. More than likely his genetics (a predisposition to violence) paired with early trauma he witnessed by his grandfather played a huge role in his killing. It’s safe to say his rage was reserved only for young women.

Bundy the Poet

Here is a poem that Ted Bundy wrote in a letter to Ann Rule back in 1976. I’ve left the spelling as he wrote it.


Either studying legal notes or thinking about self-pitying poetry.

Night of Days

This is no way to be
Man ought to be free
That man should be me
Talk to the walls
Echoes down the halls
Dream of dreams
An allusion freedom seems
Write thoughts on paper by reams

Toilet flushes
Water gushes
Makes such a noise
Lack of privacy annoys
Nightime sounds
Jailer makes rounds
No freedom abounds
Prisoners are clowns

So the night slowly passes
No wine or wine glasses
No girls to make passes
Just us caged asses
Cards are alright
I play them all night

Sleep comes on slowly
Read the words of the wholly
The scriptures bring peace
They talk of release
They bring you to God
I’m here that seems odd
But His gift is so clear
I find that He’s near
Mercy and redemption
Without an exception
He puts me at ease
Jailer, do what you please
No harm can befall me
When the Savior does call me

I look back on this day
And what can I say
More of my life wasted
No freedom I’ve tasted
7:30 is chow time
At that hour who feels fine
Milk, mush, and toast
Not much of to boast

Sweet the floors
Talk of whores
Hear the thunder of prison doors
Do your chores
Listen to bores
How guys made scores
Or escaped to distant shores

I wrote a letter
That made me feel better
Words to the outside
That’s how I keep my pride
I write words of hope
It’s really no soap
I mean what I say
Where there’s hope there’s a way
I’ll be free some day

I sleep quite a lot
Escape though it’s not
In sleep I don’t care
I forget the night mare
The bars and the screams
Are not in my dreams
I don’t smoke cigarettes
Or have sad regrets
This sleep liberation
Is tranquil salvation




Ted Bundy -Quintessential Lust Killer


The term “lustmorder” or “lust murder” in English, was coined in the 19th century by German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing, after decades of studying sex criminals in local asylums. Lust murder is defined by Wikipedia as “a homicide in which the offender searches for erotic satisfaction by killing someone.” In fact, many of us assume that the majority of serial killers murder for sexual reasons. The truth is that lust murderers are only one type of serial killer. Another type of serial killer is the serial assassin, much like Richard Kuklinski, who killed many people on behalf of the mafia. Kuklinski was a psychopath with a sadistic streak, but his motive to kill wasn’t sex. It was money and he also killed because he enjoyed it. Another type of killer is the “angel of mercy,” who tend to be workers in the medical profession who kill their patients.

One thing that all types of serial killers share is they enjoy killing, regardless of their motivation. They all derive some sort of pleasure in what they do, but the one type of killer that keeps us enthralled is the lust killer. There is a reason we remember the horrors of Jack the Ripper, who terrorized London during several months in 1888. His victims were prostitutes, whose very profession sexualized them. Though it is unknown if “Saucy Jack” physically assaulted the women, there’s no doubt his knife acted as a phallus and completely destroyed their sexual organs and uteruses. It is not necessary to fully engage in the sexual act to be a lust killer. Andrei Chikatilo stabbed his victims, brutally, over and over in order to achieve orgasm and he was definitely a lust killer.

Some of the characteristics of lust killers include removing the clothing of their victims, posing bodies in sexually suggestive manners, insertion of foreign objects into their vaginas or anuses, consumption of blood (aka “vampirism), consumption of flesh, necrophilia, and that they live in a fantasy world. We see many of these features in Bundy, starting with necrophilia. Ted Bundy was an admitted necrophile. He confessed that he often left his victims’ bodies in the outdoors and returned to them many times to rape their corpses. Bundy went back over and over until putrefaction and animal activity made it impossible to violate the bodies any longer.

When Lisa Levy’s body was found after Bundy attacked her, a hairspray bottle was found in her vagina. Perhaps he was unable to sustain an erection, or perhaps he was in too much of a hurry to rape the young woman, we will never know. The insertion of a foreign object is common in sexual serial killings. Bundy had also bitten off Levy’s nipple and left a huge bite mark on her buttock. In fact, using a dental impression of his teeth, prosecutors in Bundy’s Florida trial were able to match his teeth to the bite mark. Though he is not known as a cannibal, it is possible that Ted Bundy enjoyed eating parts of his victims in an attempt to connect with them.

Levy bite mark

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

Like most killers, Ted didn’t fit in socially with his peers, so he retreated more and more into a fantasy life. Early in his killing career, he was able to juggle a relationship, a job, and college classes. As time went on, everything in his life suffered, except his life of depravity and murder. Bundy described his fantasy life as marrying his ideal woman, coming home to her after a day of work, and living an ideal family life with her. It is probable he was trying to live out that fantasy with each victim when he returned to their bodies and spent time with them. Bundy even talked to the women, washed their hair, and applied makeup (most of this took place in his rented room, not in the outdoors). By this time, his relationship was suffering, and he had dropped out of college. The unfortunate thing about a fantasy is that no matter how good it seems in your head, it’s never fully achievable in reality.

Ted Bundy was a complicated person, to say the least. He was a consummate narcissist, he was bipolar, had antisocial personality disorder, and clearly had no empathy towards his victims. He once told police, “I’m the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you’ll ever meet.” I couldn’t agree more.





Lake Sammamish Murders


Sunday, July 14, 1974, was a beautiful day in Issaquah, WA, 20 miles east of Seattle. On that warm, summer day, hundreds of people gathered at the 512 acre Lake Sammamish state park to enjoy the beach, boating, or a picnic. One of those good-looking locals was a quiet, unassuming man who masked his devilish intentions behind a white tennis outfit and a cast around his arm. Witnesses said he introduced himself as “Ted.” Many of the young women who had been approached by him thought he affected a Canadian or a British accent. He was charming when he asked for help getting unhooking his boat from his tan VW Bug. Most of the young ladies refused for some reason or another, but petite, blonde Janice Ott eagerly accompanied the young man to his car. She was never seen again.


Janice Ott… taken on June 16, 1974. In it, she is wearing the shorts she had on the day she disappeared. The top is different, though. She is standing next to her own car, a Volkswagen, oddly enough.

Four hours later, beautiful brunette Denise Naslund argued with her boyfriend then went off to use the park’s public restroom. Her friends, dog, and boyfriend waited for her until the park closed, then called the police when she didn’t return. Later, Denise’s mother was interviewed by the police and told them Denise was not in the habit of leaving on her own.


For almost two months, the young women were missing despite exhaustive searches by family and friends. On September 6, 1974, skeletal remains were found two miles east of Lake Sammamish and were identified as belonging to Janice Ott and Denise Naslund.

Bundy was asked about these crimes while in prison in Florida. He told investigators that Ott was still alive when he kidnapped Naslund and one was forced to watch as he murdered the other. This scene is dramatized in the 2002 film Bundy, and it’s jarring to watch. On the day before his execution, Bundy recanted this confession and stated the women were not in the same area at the same time. Little else is known about the brutal crimes beyond what he told police and what was found at the body dump. Investigators are still boggled at his ability to kidnap and murder two women in one day and thankfully, there is no evidence he duplicated this crime.


Tourist photo from “Lake Sam” on 7/14/74. Ted Bundy is thought to be in the VW bug shown to the left of the photo.

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