America’s Most Notorious Killer

Anoushka Borthakur | Staff Blogger

Every now and then the internet breaks when people all over the world have a new obsession. Of all the bizarre obsessions people have, obsession with killers tops the list. OJ Simpson, Andrew Cunanan, The Zodiac, The Boogey Man, and most recently Ted Bundy. Yes, charming, smart, educated, necrophiliac, serial killer Ted Bundy. Ted Bundy is experiencing a pop culture resurrection thanks to Zac Effron and Netflix.

Though he was born Theodore Robert Cowell, over the years he would be known by many aliases. He committed his crimes in the 1970s. Fortunately, many of us were not born at that time. One might think what drove him to kill as many as thirty-six (maybe more) women and as it turns out this mystery can be solved if we look closely into his childhood. Nobody wakes up one day and decides to kill people, they must have suffered from a traumatic event, a stressor.

During his time in the prison he was evaluated by many psychologists and when asked about his childhood he always painted a very pretty picture. He spoke highly of his grandparents and his mother and said that he never noticed that his father was not part of his life. Ted Bundy was interested in politics and politics is all about image. He portrayed himself to be someone who had a happy childhood, happy teens, good in academics and in sports, in short, someone who never even had a shadow of trouble on him. In reality, this was far from the truth. To hide the fact that he was an illegitimate child, his grandparents told him that they were his parents and his mother was his sister. That, in my opinion, was the first mistake. He often saw his “father” abusing his “mother” and his “sister” and that might have helped him become “America’s Most Notorious Killer”. This was mistake number two.

When he was 14 years old, he found a box in the attic with his birth certificate. Under father, it was written “Unknown”. That is how he found out that he was illegitimate. Single traumatic event? For Ted Bundy, his entire life had been a stressor. Theodore Robert Bundy at age 25 was a Republican campaign worker in Seattle. At age 28, he was a University of Utah law student who would go to church regularly. At age 29 he was a convicted Utah kidnapper. As he moved from Seattle to Utah and then to Colorado, the trail of bodies of young women followed him. Bundy liked to keep Polaroid pictures and body parts of his victims as a souvenir to remind him of the hunt and the kill.

He was first arrested in 1975 in Utah while he was driving his Volkswagen Bug. The patrol officer arrested him for driving without headlights before dawn. He had already killed over two dozen women by then. The police found a ski mask, a second mask fashioned from pantyhose, a crowbar, handcuffs, trash bags, a coil of rope, an ice pick, and other items initially assumed to be burglary tools in his car.

A bail of $15,000 was paid by his “parents”; mistake number 3. After his trial, he was charged with kidnapping and assault, but not of murder, and was sentenced to serve a maximum of 15 years in prison from where he tried to escape by hiding in the lawn with an ‘escape kit’. The next time he was successful in escaping and was a fugitive for six days in Aspen, Colorado during which he managed to kill a few more women before he was executed by electrocution in Florida.

Murderers do not come out of the shadows wearing a red cape and devil horns with a knife in their hands. They are regular being living their life until they are not anymore and go on a cross-country killing spree. People in Bundy’s life did not believe that he was capable of such violence, but his victims would like to argue.

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