Ted Bundy was a notorious serial killer who's story overtook the media for several decades, even after his death. He travelled the United States, visiting state after state, with nothing but one objective in mind: killing. He successfully charmed and conned women from places varying from Washington, Utah, Colorado, Florida and Oregon, trapping them and ending their lives using nothing but a pair of ripped pantyhose, handcuffs, a gun and a ski mask that he kept in the trunk of his car.
Bundy had a difficult childhood in a religious household, anda rocky relationship with his stepfather. He experienced bullying in school, although in college he seemingly grew out of his shell and was able to adequately develop social skills that would lead him to form romantic connections. He eventually fell in love with a wealthy and pretty young woman from California, but was crushed after their breakup. She had short, brown hair, which later became a repeated characteristic in several of Bundy's victims.
As he matured, became more accostumed with violence towards people, beginning with rape and later on developping an affinity for murder. He would often lure young women to his car by pretending to be injured, and beat them to death afterwards. Officially on record, Bundy pleaded guilty to the killings of 36 young women, but it's believed that in reality that number may be closer to 100 or more.
But what drove him to be such a malicious person, responsible for such bloody crimes? In the last interview before his execution, he claims to have developed his desire to kill from violent pornography, explaining that during his "murder sprees" he felt as though he had been "under a trance…possessed by something so awful and so alien…absolutely horrified that he was capable of doing something like that". This was ultimately an attempt to gain the public's sympathy, since prior to that moment he had been viewed as nothing but an evil monster.
Essentially, what made Bundy so undeniably successful in not only luring young women into vulnerable situations, but also getting away with it countless times, was his charm, his intelligence and his looks. He was a phenomenal manipulator who was capable of performing exceptional mind games. the way in which he spoke smoothly with a calming tone made young girls feel safe around him, and trust him blindly. Although it's apparent in his timeline of murders that this man contained not one ounce of remorse, he was accomplished at acting as though he did. Deep down, psychologists believed he was extremely self aware of his motives and his personal backdrop. He knew exactly how he was being perceived, he knew what people thought of him, and therefore knew exactly how to act and what to say to please people and manipulate their perception of him. With his university degree in human psychology, he was ultimately an expert and had the perfect mental tools for successful manipulation, which is evident in the amount of women he managed to kill.
Beale, Victoria, et al. “Too Close to Ted Bundy.” The New Yorker, 10 Oct. 2015, https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/too-close-to-ted-bundy.
ABC News, ABC News Network, https://abcnews.go.com/US/notorious-serial-killer-ted-bundy-escape-custody/story?id=61032623.
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“Ted Bundy.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 15 Sept. 2021, https://www.biography.com/crime-figure/ted-bundy.