It started in Washington and Oregon in 1974. Female college students were disappearing at a rate of one per month. Then, in 1975 it stopped. And a similar pattern emerged in Utah. The demonic, sadistic killer that was Ted Bundy was at work.
The two faces of Ted Bundy. On one side, we have the handsome, charismatic charmer and on the other side, the demonic killer. Women trusted the charmer, got into his car, and then found themselves in the clutches of the devil incarnate. Bundy was a kidnapper, a r*pist and a serial killer, of at least 30 women and girls stretching from the Pacific Northwest to sunny Florida. He was also a creepy necrophile. But he didn't look the part. Girls he didn't know got into his Volkswagen Beetle. Virtually none of them got out of it alive. In 1975, he was a prime suspect in a string of disappearances in Washington and Oregon when he was arrested and convicted of an attempted kidnapping in Utah. Transferred to Colorado to stand trial for a murder there, he managed to escape from prison twice and made his way to Florida under an assumed name. There he killed again. But it was the end of the road for Ted Bundy.
In 1979 he was caught and sentenced to death in a Florida Court. He was executed in 1989. The "official" count of his murders comes to around 30, but many believe that number to be much higher than that. Bundy himself tantalized police with hints that they needed to add a digit to that thirty-something figure. One of his attorneys called him "the very definition of heartless evil".
Here are 15 sometimes shocking, sometimes intriguing things that you didn't know about Ted Bundy.
15 He Died In A Puff Of Smoke
Let's start at the end of it all. After his 1977 escape from prison in Colorado, Bundy fled to Florida, where he killed three more times. He was caught and in 1979, was convicted and sentenced to die in the electric chair. For ten years he negotiated stays of execution in exchange for coming up with drips and drabs of information about his murders. And he thought he could go on doing just that. But the governor of Florida had enough and said no more. And on January 24th of 1989, guards had to forcibly drag the quaking, sobbing, hysterical killer into the room to meet Old Sparky, Florida's electric chair. Electrical current surged through his body for a minute, ending with a puff of smoke drifting up from his right thigh. And it was over. It was said he died with a smile on his face.
14 Everyone Made Money Off Ted Bundy Except Bundy Himself
"I'm as cold a motherf*cker as you've ever put your f*cking eyes on. I don't give a sh*t about those people." That was Bundy on Bundy. But despite (or maybe because of) the gory details, serial killers like Ted Bundy sell big time. There have been movies, such as 2002's Ted Bundy. Occasionally, women like Rhonda Stapley, who claim to have escaped Bundy's clutches, end up on Dr. Phil to plug their book. Then there are "friends", like author Ann Rule, who came out with The Stranger Beside Me, considered by many to be the most gripping true crime book of all time. The New Yorker has reported that Rule claimed she wasn't convinced the imprisoned Bundy was guilty at the same time she was offering him money to write chapters in her book. Was she confused or just plain unethical? Whatever. She and many others have made a lot of money off of Bundy's murders.
13 Outside They Were Having A Party
By 6:00 in the morning on Tuesday, the 24th of January, the roads leading to Raiford Prison in Starke, Florida, were already very busy. That morning, inside the prison, they were cranking up Old Sparky's generator and shaving Bundy's head. He refused his last meal of steak and eggs. And outside? They were having a party. The crowd of around 500 was in an oddly festive mood, whooping and shouting and waving signs that said things like "Tuesday is Fry-day" and "Burn Ted Burn". Opportunists sold "smoked" Bundy Burgers and Ted Bundy tee-shirts. And when it was confirmed that Bundy was dead, some began singing and chanting and banging on frying pans. And there were fireworks...
12 Fancy A Spot Of Necrophilia?
It's not surprising that onlookers celebrated his death. He was a serial killer who had sex with his dead victims. When he was in Washington and Oregon, he would take his victims' bodies to the woods and have sex with them. And he would return to the bodies and go on having sex with them until the smell was unbearable. He sometimes took trophy body parts. One report claims that he burned the head of one victim in his girlfriend's fireplace. He'd put makeup on decomposing bodies and sometimes would eat parts of the bodies of his victims. All of this he admitted in interviews. But the truly scary thing is that he told interviewers he would not talk about everything he had done with the bodies. Why, you ask? He said he didn't want to be known as a pervert. Have we missed something?
11 Hi, I'm Ted. Jump In.
Our Ted was resourceful. He had slings for his arms and plaster of Paris and crutches to hand. He pretended to be injured. He would drop books or struggle with boxes, turn on the charm and say to some pretty girl that he needed a bit of help. Sometimes, he drove up to bus stops where dark haired student-types sat waiting for a bus and offered them a free ride. In 1974, Bundy was in Utah to attend law school at the University of Utah. And Salt Lake City resident Carol DaRonch, was doing a bit of shopping at the mall when Bundy approached her, claiming to be a police detective. He told her someone had tried to steal her car and that she needed to file a police report. Once he got her into his car, he slapped handcuffs on her and tried to bash her with a crowbar. But DaRonch fought back, kicking him where it really hurt, and escaped. Bundy fled.
10 Tools Of His Trade
Shortly after his botched attempt at snatching DaRonch, Bundy and his bronze VW were pulled over in a routine traffic stop. Noting that there was no passenger seat (easier for hiding bodies), the suspicious officer searched his car and came up with a ski mask, a crow bar, rope, trash bags, stockings, and a pair of handcuffs. The cops soon realized that the handcuffs were the same brand as the ones used on DaRonch. DaRonch identified him and he was tried and convicted of attempted kidnapping and sentenced to 15 years in prison. But by then, he was the number one suspect in the Washington/Oregon killing spree and Colorado wanted him to stand trial for a murder there. Transferred to Colorado, he escaped custody twice and fled to sunny Florida as Chris Hagen. But it was the beginning of the end for Bundy.
9 I Am Not Crazy
"I am not an animal, and I'm not crazy and I'm not a split personality." But Ted was very angry. And that anger was focused on women. Let's start with the addiction to pornography that began when Bundy was thirteen. He later found a birth certificate, that labeled him a "bastard". It seems the couple he thought were his "mother and father" were really his grandparents and his "older sister" was his mother. His anger towards his mother for the "lie" was intense.
Before that there was "Stephanie Brooks", his college sweetheart. He was beyond obsessed with her, but she dumped him. He got into law school and spent years developing contacts and political ties in Washington Republican circles in an effort to win her back. Once he had succeeded, he broke up with her. All that effort in pursuit of having the last laugh. Chillingly, the first in his string of Washington/Oregon murders happened just one month after that final break up in 1974.
8 Suspicious Friends Alerted Police But Were Ignored
In the early 1970s, Bundy worked with author Ann Rule at a crisis call center in Washington. Believe it or not, he was actually saving lives. When in 1974 female students started disappearing at the rate of one per month, she at first did not connect Bundy to the killings. Then as witnesses emerged, a photo fit was put together. People had seen a man interacting with missing girls, telling them his name was Ted (now was that dumb, or what?). A bronze VW similar to the one Bundy drove had been spotted at kidnap locations. Rule reported her suspicions to police, only to have them ignored. Later Bundy's live-in girlfriend Meg Anders, alerted police and was also shown the door. Look at the guy, they said. He is a clean cut law student with a political career ahead of him. No way. Can't be him.
7 The Bundy Brides: They All Looked Like Stephanie
Stephanie Brooks was a pretty girl with long brown hair that she parted right in the middle. She came from a rich and accomplished family and as a college student, while she was drawn to Bundy, she felt the guy from the wrong side of the tracks was going nowhere fast. So, she broke up with him. For Bundy, it was traumatic beyond belief. He was obsessed with "possessing" Stephanie. For him, it was all about possession and control. Rather chillingly, virtually all of his victims were pretty girls who resembled Stephanie, who also parted their hair right in the middle. Why are they dubbed "Brides of Bundy"? Read on. It just gets creepier and creepier.
6 It Becomes Possession. They Are Part Of You
By his own admission, Bundy liked women. And women liked him. He had girlfriends. He had sex with lots and lots of women. But his victims were strangers, women who he picked out of a crowd. For Ted, his r*pe/murders were not about lust or killing. It was about having the power of life or death over a chosen victim. As Bundy himself said, "It becomes possession. They are part of you." A macabre soul marriage, where victim and killer become one. Were they his Stephanie substitutes? Was he exacting revenge? Probably. Reportedly, he returned to bodies of his victims that he had dumped in remote woods, sometimes laying beside them all night. His brides. "You feel the last bit of breath leaving their body. You’re looking into their eyes. A person in that situation is God!”
5 He Wanted Girlfriends To Pretend To Be Dead During The Deed?
That is just one of the rumors that still persists on the Internet. Kinky is as kinky does. Liz Kendall (aka Meg Anders) was with Bundy for seven years. Of course, she wrote a book about it for fun and money. It's called The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy. In the book we learn that Bundy was a tender lover, super with her kids, a great cook, possessed a funny sense of humor, and was insecure. In other words, he seemed totally normal. We even discover what kind of beer he liked. Did she suspect? She says not for a long, long time. That's what they all say. But do we believe them? By the way, you can pick up a copy of the book on Amazon for around $119.
4 The Bundy-Mobile Ends Up In A Museum
There was much excitement in 2010 when the Washington D.C.'s National Museum of Crime & Punishment unveiled a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle. And not just any Beetle, but Ted Bundy's Beetle. The very one that Carol DaRonch fought to get out of. The very one he had killed in. But did they really need to rope it off with strings of handcuffs interlocked? "This was kind of like a death wagon," said a retired D.C. police deputy chief. According to The Washington Post, the car was in a private collection owned by one Arthur Nash, who also owns clown and serial killer John Wayne Gacy's box of clown paint. The Nash "murderabilia" collection was reportedly worth millions.
3 Buffalo Bill Channeled Bundy In The Silence of the Lambs
In Thomas Harris' 1988 novel The Silence of the Lambs and the 1991 film of the same name, there is a serial killer called Jame Gumb, who is known by the nickname "Buffalo Bill". Anthony Hopkins, playing serial killer Hannibal Lecter, is helping the FBI agent played by Jodie Foster to catch Buffalo Bill. Seems Bill's modus operandi is to approach women, faking injuries, and to ask for their help. Just like our Ted. And there's more. While he was in prison, Bundy helped the FBI to hunt a notorious serial killer known as "The Green River Killer". At the time, Bundy was on death row and keen to be as helpful as he could be. For purely selfish motives, of course.
2 The End Of The Road: Prison, Fatherhood And Death
The ironic thing is that if Ted Bundy had stopped killing when he went to Florida, he may well have gotten clean away. But he just couldn't stop. Taking up a fake name (Chris Hagen), he rented a room in Tallahassee and, one cold January day, crept into a sorority house on the Florida State University campus. There he attacked four women, killing two and seriously injuring the other two before fleeing. A few weeks later, he r*ped and killed a 12-year old girl named Kimberly Leach. Stealing a car, he fled Tallahassee and was arrested in Pensacola. Bizarrely, during his conviction, Bundy married one Carole Ann Boone. She produced a daughter many believe is Bundy's. Nobody knows where Boone or her daughter are. Understandably, they just wanted to disappear.
1 The Devil Made Him Do It
He was a law student, had worked on a crisis helpline, had a string of pretty girlfriends and was a rising star in the Washington State Republican organization. Heck, he was a delegate to the 1968 Party Convention. He was just a normal guy. Or so it seemed. Years later, a convicted killer awaiting execution, Bundy perfected the art of keeping himself alive by giving out bits of information to interviewers and police. At one point, he said that an "entity" inside him had driven him to r*pe and murder. The night before he was executed he granted an interview, his final interview, and talked about the entity and how p*rnography had driven him forward along a path that ended in r*pe and murder. At 7:00 the next morning, he was dead.