Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘serial killer

Ted Bundy and Halloween

with one comment

What’s the connection between Ted Bundy and Halloween? Well, there isn’t one really. At least not directly. Indirectly, as monsters go, Ted Bundy is about as monstrous as it gets. Halloween is the time for monster stories, here is the story of the man who probably more than any other helped popularize the term “serial killer.”

Bundy was born in 1946. His upbringing was unremarkable, if not exactly mainstream. He was born out of wedlock, and raised by his grandparents as their own. Unusual at the time, but Ted didn’t know that his parents were really his grandparents, so for him it was a normal life. He was a shy kid and didn’t socialize easily, again, nothing really abnormal here, some people are just shy. He went to college where he was an indifferent student. He fell in love, was dumped, found out his sister was his mom. After a period of depression he reinvented himself and went back to school, even wooing his lost love back into his life with his new persona. Nothing terribly odd here, Ted was smart and charming and good looking, he was going places. Almost everything he owned was stolen, it was almost a  point of pride with him. That’s not normal at all, but most people didn’t know it.

Then it gets really weird. In 1975 police in three (count em) states knew they had a terrible problem. Young women were vanishing, sometimes their bodies and bones were found. They had all died of head trauma. A few women had escaped an abductor, the police had a rough description of a man and his van. Then the police got lucky, Ted was caught after trying to run from a routine traffic stop. Under his front seat they found items like a mask, handcuffs, an icepick, and a crowbar. Ted claimed they were burglary tools. The police weren’t so sure. Ted and his van matched the description of one of the attempted kidnappings. He was convicted of attempted abduction and sentenced to 15 years in prison, he was also a strong suspect in a number of murders at this point.

Still, Ted denied everything and claimed he had been convicted purely on the basis of coincidence, the direct evidence linking him to any crimes was thin at this point. He still had many supporters, people who believed his claims. I mean, he was a charming and educated man with a future, not the sort of man to hunt and murder women in his spare time! Ted was charged with murder in Colorado, and moved there for trial. At this point he was still allowed a lot of leeway as a prisoner. He wasn’t shackled for court appearances and wore a suit. He was allowed access to the courthouse library when he was there to testify in hearings and such. And here Ted made a mistake. In an unsupervised moment he jumped out a window and walked away. He had made no further preparations, wasn’t able to get out of town, and was recaptured within a week. Most of his supporters deserted him at this point, but some were still convinced of his innocence.

Imprisoned in Colorado, Bundy made elaborate plans for his next escape. Basically he was able to walk out of the prison one Friday night in civilian clothes with several hundred dollars in his pockets … and it was 12 hours before the prison realized he was gone. Ted was several states away by then, and quickly settled in Florida and resumed his murderous ways. In Florida Ted’s compulsions to kill, if that’s what they were, overwhelmed his prior cautions, and he left plenty of evidence at his crime scenes. Suspecting the police were closing in, he panicked, stole a car, and tried to flee Florida. An alert Pensacola police officer spotted the stolen car, and after a struggle, apprehend him.  He still had a tiny coterie of supporters, but they couldn’t fight the overwhelming evidence against him this time, and Ted was sentenced to death.

Even on death row he was a cunning and manipulative SOB. He called a woman to the stand at a hearing as a character witness, and then invoked a forgotten law that allowed them to declare they were married. They had to allow her to visit him, and even though conjugal visits weren’t allowed, Ted managed to bribe guards into some alone time with his wife. And he fathered a daughter, even if he couldn’t escape, some of his DNA did. He tried though. He managed to saw through one of the bars in his cell once after obtaining some hacksaw blades, it was discovered before he could finish sawing the others. At the very end he started confessing wildly, hoping that some prosecutor or judge somewhere would halt the execution to extradite Ted for another murder in another state. Basically he offered to show where the bodies were if he lived. It was a desperate strategy, and it failed. On January 24, 1989 he was executed by the state of Florida. A crowds cheered outside the prison.

And since it’s Halloween, and this is Doug’s Darkworld, what, exactly, did Ted Bundy do to his victims? He would snatch them using as ruse like a cast and asking for help, often from very public places. He then killed them quickly with blows to the head.  Then he had sex with their bodies, returning to where he had dumped them afterwards until they were too putrid to have sex with. Sometimes he would take them home and dress them up, do their hair and nails. Biting and other violence often accompanied the necrophilia, a more accurate term than sex. And sometimes he just quietly crept into women’s rooms at night and bludgeoned them to death as they slept.

Sleep tight.

(Image credit and copyright: Florida Memory Project, Florida Photographic Collection, #DND0671 Author: Donn Dughi. I believe the image is being used legally under Florida copyright law. It’s Ted Bundy in Court in Florida in 1978 or 1979. I hope everyone had a good Halloween.)

Written by unitedcats

October 31, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Why are there no female Ted Bundys?

with 8 comments

Everyone knows Ted Bundy, right? The original and quintessential serial killer. Well, not the first one, but the first one where it finally got into the popular (and professional) consciousness that monsters might be normal looking people hiding among us. And Ted was a monster, no doubt about it, he killed dozens, maybe over a hundred, women. All strangers taken off the street, or killed in their homes, to satisfy his perverse needs. And he’s not alone, there have been many others caught since then. Men who hunt humans for their own psychological needs, sometimes rape and/or necrophilia is involved, sometimes it’s just killing.

 However, and it’s a big however, there are essentially no such female serial killers. There are female murderers, there are women who hunt enthusiastically, there are women psychopaths … yet somehow our culture essentially doesn’t produce any female Ted Bundys? Yes, there are female serial killers, but they almost always were simply killing for personal gain. The few examples offered up that I know of would be Aileen Wournos and the Countess Bathory. And both of them are very debatable, if there’s a Theresa Bundy out there somewhere, she hasn’t been caught yet.

So why is this so? Beats me. This sort of thing doesn’t get as much study as it should, basically because people get upset if there was some inherent reason why men were prone to this psycho-pathology for want of a better term. This topic  is also gets uncomfortably close to a wider observation that gets people upset when it is made, and that is violence seems to be a predominantly male activity. And while there may be cultural reasons for this, it’s hard not to conclude that men are more predisposed to violence than women. I know in the USA at least, they commit virtually all violet crime. The only category of violent crime with a fair proportion of women … is bank robbery. Which also has some uncomfortable implications, but we won’t go there for now.

And while not all male violence has a sexual component, a lot of it sure does. The aforesaid serial killers, clearly a sexual component in much or all of their crime. War and rape go hand in hand, anyone who denies that hasn’t been paying attention. And males in many cultures have a shocking tendency to harm or kill their sexual partners. Not to mention the rape and neo-rape that again is all to common in many cultures. This isn’t exactly a  secret, even if people don’t want to talk about it, “sex and violence” is a phrase everyone has heard or banded about in some context. It would be hard to convince me that on some level in all men, sex and violence are intimately linked. Is it cultural or inherent? A little of both I suspect.

However, getting back to my main point, let’s assume for the sake of argument that men aren’t inherently more violence than women, that women have just as many violent urges, fantasies, and even compulsions as men. If so, why then is it mostly the men who act out their violent urges? No idea there either.

What can I say, these are observations, not conclusions. Hopefully someday science will give them the attention they deserve. And I hope we listen to what they have to say, because this is important.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s a low resolution, grey scale reproduction of the original that is not being used for commercial purposes. Credit ad copyright: AP. It’s a boat that was washed way from Japan in last year’s tsunami, recently spotted drifting near the US west coast. It’s the first of a lot of debris drifting our way here in California and points north. I used it because it conveyed the kind of creepy mood this topic gets me into. No way was  going to post an image of Ted Bundy, they should be destroyed, not reproduced.)

Written by unitedcats

March 24, 2012 at 7:40 pm