The following are the first 3 chapters from the book “Ted Bundy: The Horrific True Story behind America’s Most Wicked Serial Killer”
The Birth of a Psychopath
Every monster born into the world is an innocent, screaming baby — Ted Bundy was no exception. On November 24, 1946, our killer was born Theodore Robert to Louise Cowell in the city of Burlington, Vermont. In regards to his father, nothing certain can be said — it has never been determined, despite Louise claiming on the boy’s birth certificate the father had been a salesman and Air Force veteran. There were rumors among the family that Louise’s own dad may have fathered the child, but no evidence was ever produced supporting this claim.
Whichever the case, Louise moved into her parent’s house with the newborn Ted, and lived in Samuel and Eleanor Powell’s home for three years. During this time they began feeding Ted a lie — one he wouldn’t know the truth of for many years — primarily due to social stigma and old-fashioned beliefs. The trio of adults agreed to make everyone believe Ted had been born to Samuel and Eleanor, and that his mother Louise was his older sister. These lies would go on until Ted reached his college years; the rage of being lied to for so long may have contributed to developing his psychopathic disorders.
Within the Powell household, Samuel was an abusive tyrant. In spite of initial claims that Ted had been close and looked up to the man, his family would later admit the grandparent had been extremely violent, bigoted, and regularly spoke to himself. Bullying at home was so powerful that Eleanor aged into a depressive, withdrawn old woman who required periodical electroconvulsive therapy to treat her mental state.
Young Theodore watched this all through confused, infant eyes and it definitely affected him. At one point, he surrounded his aunt Julia, with kitchen knives, while she was sleeping. Then he stood by her with a grin until she awoke. While this is disturbing behavior for any child, the fact that Ted was only three-years-old when it occurred, made it that more disturbing.
When Ted was four, Louise decided to move to Tacoma, Washington, where her cousins, Alan and Jane Scott lived. This would be where Ted’s young life would develop and his first run-ins with the law would occur; although they were minor offenses and showed no sign of a soon-to-be serial rapist and killer.
A year after the move to Washington, Louise met a hospital cook at church and they instantly fell for each other. The man, Johnny Culpepper Bundy, formally adopted Ted as his son, soon going on to have four children with Louise. Ted was always distant, feeling uncomfortable around Johnny and the children, and would state later in life that he had never liked him.
Ted’s own recollections of his teenage life were memories of reading crime novels and magazines for stories and scenes that included sexual violence and maimed bodies, as well as peeping in women’s bedroom windows. Ted’s mother would later claim that he was an excellent son who never forgot a special occasion to gift her with something; he often spoke of his dream to be a policeman or a lawyer. Classmates also remembered Ted as a friendly, well-known student, yet Bundy claimed to biographers he had never grasped the concept of friendship.
Ted Bundy’s behavior soon showed sociopathic signs and a general disregard for the law. Breaking into cars, Ted would steal objects he found inside with the intent of selling them. He was also quite skilled at shoplifting, taking advantage of it to support his skiing hobby. Ted was arrested, at least twice as a minor, however, the details of the incidents were expunged from his record as soon as he reached the age of 18.
Ted was done with high school by 1965, and began studying at the University of Puget Sound. He did not like it there because his classmates were all from wealthy backgrounds and it made him feel inferior. After a year, he transferred to the University of Washington, where he studied Chinese. At the same time, he looked for simple, minimum wage jobs; he never lasted longer than a few months at a time. Whether it was working as a grocery bagger, shelf-stocker, or volunteer at a Seattle suicide hotline, his superiors remembered him as an unreliable and untrustworthy young man. Ted also volunteered in political activities for the Republican Party, such as Nelson Rockefeller’s presidential campaign of 1968.
It was around this time that Ted met the woman that would perhaps become the most pivotal of his life; even more so than any of his unfortunate victims. Although he had never been a model boy, things were about to turn a lot uglier in Ted’s young life.
Ted had a problem that had been tormenting him all his life.
He always wanted to be just like those wealthy, happy young men he had studied with at both universities. Part of that was finding a beautiful girlfriend he could parade around, who would give him the support he craved. Ted finally found her in the spring of 1967; a beautiful young woman named Stephanie Brooks. She was pretty, rich, smart, and had a lot of class, just like the women he had observed longingly at university. Just like Ted, Stephanie studied at the University of Washington. She also loved him a lot.
Ted was truly happy around Stephanie; he envisioned a future where the two could be married and grow old together. However, while he was imaging these things, Stephanie was growing increasingly uncomfortable with her boyfriend’s lack of ambition in life. He did not seem to be on the path to success. Her parents also appeared to dislike her partner, and this may have been an influence for the decision she took next.
When Stephanie told Ted of her decision to break up with him, he was in shock. It was a slap in the face for someone he had been trying so hard to impress, and find a way to be like the rich boys he had envied. Despite many letters and attempts at recovering the relationship, Ted was unable to accomplish anything and it got to him. He entered a depressive stage, filled with rage and confusion, which led to dark thoughts.
Ted’s heart was broken, and he began to harbor a deep hatred towards women — most of the victims whose lives he took were women that looked very similar to Stephanie: Caucasian, dark-haired, and beautiful.
It was around this time, in early 1969, that Bundy traveled east and visited several relatives in Arkansas and Philadelphia. He went in search of his origins and discovered birth records in Burlington, Vermont, revealing the true details of his birth and parentage. This did not help his state of mind, furthering his anger towards the world.
He returned to Washington later that same year and met Elizabeth Kloepfer — known as Meg Anders in some documentation. She was a divorcée and single mother from Ogden, Utah, working as a secretary at the university. Elizabeth became Ted’s next girlfriend, though he was not faithful to her. Ted’s life was about to take a change for the better…at least for now.
Back in Washington, Ted felt he had a chance to try again and he re-enrolled at the university, this time studying Psychology. His grades were excellent; he also had a good relationship with his professors and became friends with many people in various positions. One of those people was a writer named Ann Rule. She would go on to write one of Bundy’s most well-known biographies, The Stranger Beside Me. Even though Ann believed Ted to be a sadistic sociopath, she took somewhat of a human, defensive stance on him. During this time, Ted also became interested in fulfilling his childhood wish of studying law and began to think of a school where he could study to become a lawyer.
Describing Ted’s sexual habits, Meg Anders stated Ted was insistent on practicing sadomasochistic sexual intercourse with her, almost strangling her to unconsciousness, on one occasion, despite her pleas for him to stop. He also requested she remain completely still when they had sex; not making a single sound as if she was a corpse. Only in this manner could Ted reach orgasm.
Bundy graduated in 1972 and immediately joined Governor Daniel J. Evans’ re-election campaign. He had started sending admission requests to begin his studies at several law schools, and some were considering giving him a chance. Ted stated that in his eyes, the law was the answer to his search for order. During his time working for Governor Evans, he followed Evans’ opponent Albert Rosellini around, recording his speeches for analysis. Evans was successfully re-elected and Bundy caught the attention of Ross Davis, Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party. The chairman liked Ted and the way he worked, and he helped him with recommendations. These ended up helping Ted get accepted by both University of Puget Sound, and University of Utah’s law schools in early 1973, despite that he had not done well in the admission tests. He would decide on University of Puget Sound law school the following year.
Ted Bundy was on the rise. His success was spreading and he was showing signs of being a truly heroic citizen — on one occasion he saved a three-year-old child from drowning and was rewarded with a medal by the city’s police department. On another occasion he was involved in performing a citizen’s arrest on a thief who attempted to steal a person’s bag. Bundy recovered the bag and gave it back to its rightful owner — an act that did not go unnoticed. On a revisit to the University of Washington’s campus, Ted came across his friends and professors; everyone had something positive to say about him. His newfound security and position in society was highly respected by his peers and teachers, and they now had a far different — and better — image of him, than before.
Despite all the success and good news, Ted would get another chance to feel triumphant.
One of Ted’s business trips in the summer of 1973 took him to California, where he met up with Stephanie Brooks; at this point he was still in a relationship with Meg Anders. Stephanie was shocked by Ted’s transformation — he had gone from a man with no ambition and little vision, to a successful politician, graduate, and now a law student. He was everything she had wished for in a man, and this made her re-start their relationship once more, primarily due to the fact that she did not know he was already with somebody else. Stephanie flew to Seattle to stay with him a few times, and Bundy even introduced her to his boss, Ross Davis, as his fiancée. They discussed marriage during this period, and Brooks was over the moon.
But it was all for nothing.
In January 1974, only a few months later, Ted stopped answering her calls and ignored her letters. He did not visit her anymore, nor did he seem interested in continuing a relationship with her. When she finally got a hold of him a month later and asked him why he had distanced himself without any explanation, he told her he had no idea what she meant and hung up. She never heard from him again.
Ted had achieved vengeance for her earlier breakup, and proved that he could have been her husband; the husband that she had always wanted.
Ted Bundy would not be satisfied with what he had done to get his revenge on Stephanie. For some reason, it just was not enough. Perhaps he should have just let it all go — acknowledge things do not always go the way one wants them to go, and had taught Stephanie a lesson for rejecting him. Perhaps his inferiority complex had come back with added poison and started to eat at him and fill him with doubts. It is possible Ted simply wanted to hurt someone for the bad things that had happened to him.
Ted was about to pursue a new career; one much darker than any previous.
The rapes and murders were about to begin, and once they began nobody could stop them…
…At least not until it was too late.
Something Finally Snaps
It had been a good period for Ted. One that had given him hope, showing him he was somebody worth a damn and could make a difference in the world. He had given his life a massive turn for the better, and rubbing shoulders with some pretty influential men and women.
Curiously, Ted’s participation in the Republican Party would bring him close to Rosalynn Carter, President Jimmy Carter’s wife, who in turn would have the strange misfortune of meeting John Wayne ‘Killer Clown’ Gacy and James ‘Jim’ Warren Jones; both infamous killers who were as scary as the protagonist of this biography.
Ted was troubled and spiteful towards women, with a strong fetish towards hardcore pornography involving rape, torture, and snuff. Speculation was he had acquired the taste for it from his grandfather, Samuel, who was believed to collect pornographic material of extremely violent content. This would define Ted, in spite of doing well in other aspects of his life.
The exact date and location of Bundy’s first murder has never been confirmed, due to the fact that he has provided biographers and investigators with many different and conflicting accounts of his acts during the period of his first murder.
To this day, details are still not clear. Ted once confessed to a member of his defense team, Polly Nelson, whose career would arguably be destroyed by defending the monster that was Ted Bundy that he first attempted to kidnap a victim in 1969, on a visit to Ocean City, New Jersey. He also told her he committed his first murder in 1971. However, he also told a psychologist he had killed two women in 1969 in Atlantic City, but also confessed to a homicide detective that he had first murdered in Seattle, in 1972, before taking another life in Washington, in 1973. The facts got even more confusing when evidence was found linking Ted to the 1961 abduction and murder of an 8-year-old in Tacoma; at fourteen years of age, but denied any link to this crime.
The truth is that while Ted Bundy’s official murder/rape records may have started in January, 1974, with his first sexual assault and attempted murder, his taste for causing pain started slowly and with small but telling signs manifesting themselves a few years before then.
In 1972, a woman recalled having sex with him during a one-night stand, in which Ted choked her almost into unconsciousness until he reached orgasm. When she confronted him on why he had done it, he feigned ignorance. He confessed regularly practicing the same act on other women, and that it would help him enter a new state of mind, giving him great pleasure.
Shortly after this event, Bundy stalked an attractive woman at a bar and followed her into a dark alley. There, he found a large plank of wood and advanced past her, expecting the woman to pass through a secluded area where he would ambush her. Nevertheless, the plan failed when the woman entered a nearby home. This attempted assault whetted his appetite for a future attack. He began to stalk other women in the hopes of getting a chance to rape, and murder them.
Ted’s first true attack occurred when he approached one of his stalking victims undetected, to the point he was literally just behind her. He carried a club and his victim was distracted opening the front door to her home. Pouncing on her, Ted smacked her with the club, causing her to fall to the ground and scream in terror; at the last minute he had second thoughts and fled the scene.
Ted was learning, perfecting his abilities and honing the necessary skills he would use in the future. He had mastered the skills required to leave as little incriminating evidence at a crime scene as possible, as well as beginning to find ways to earn the trust of his victims. Everything was a soft set of practice attacks, eventually leading to the big moment of his first sexual assault.
It took place on the 4th of January, 1974.
Karen Sparks was an 18-year-old dancer, who studied at the University of Washington. She lived alone in a basement apartment in Washington, and never would have imagined what was going to happen to her on that cold night; this would literally ruin her life forever.
Ted had been stalking Karen and observed her movements that night, realizing she was all alone and sleeping. Shortly after midnight, he broke into the apartment through a window, without waking her, and found her asleep. Her young, scantily-clad form must have driven him crazy with lust, for what he did next was horrific — he wrenched a metal rod from Karen’s bed frame and used it to bludgeon her into unconsciousness, repeatedly slamming it into her skull without mercy. When she had been knocked senseless, he took the same bloody rod and shoved it into her vagina, brutally assaulting her with the rod, causing extensive internal damage. Leaving her for dead, Ted disappeared into the night, but Karen survived; found lying in a pool of her blood the next day. She entered a coma that would last several months. She would go on to survive the ordeal, but with permanent brain damage.
Bundy did not wait long for his next attack, either — this new assault ended in the death of his victim. It left such a mark on his mind, Bundy needed a period of recuperation.
In the early morning hours of February 1st, Bundy targeted a similar victim to the previous one; Lynda Ann Healy, a beautiful 21-year-old Psychology student at the University of Washington, who worked with special-needs children. She also worked at a local radio station giving ski reports. Lynda had actually attended psychology classes with Bundy. She did not live alone, sharing her cozy 5517 Northeast 12th street residence with four other women. Unfortunately, this fact did nothing to stop what happened to her. Lynda slept in the basement, while her best friend slept in the room beside her. The other three women slept on the floors above; all of the girls were quite close to one another.
The night before the attack, Ellie — Lynda’s best friend and roommate — thought she saw a shadow move past the window on the side of the house. Although it put her on edge, she thought nothing more of it after noticing how the strong wind was pulling at the tree branches outside. The truth would never be known. In all likelihood, it was Ted Bundy, already planning what would take place the next morning.
It was a swift, ruthless attack. In spite of the girls’ security awareness, one of the house doors had been left unlocked. This costly error allowed Bundy entry into the house, and he descended to the basement. The noise of his victim could be muffled by walls and ceilings. Unfortunately his crime was a complete success. Lynda did not even realize Bundy was in the room and suffered a heavy blow, knocking her out with no chance to resist. Bundy then gagged her and removed her nightgown, taking a moment to dress her in jeans, a white blouse, and shoes.
Never directly admitting to killing Lynda, Bundy only hinted at what he would have done if he had abducted her — but it is believed he took Lynda to his home and kept her there, continuously raping and hurting her until she either died or he decided to kill her. Meanwhile, back at Lynda’s home, three of the girls had early classes or jobs and had already left the residence. Ellie awoke to the sound of the phone ringing. It was Lynda’s boss, asking why Lynda had not shown up for her daily report. This seemed very strange to Ellie; Lynda had mentioned meeting an ex-boyfriend that weekend, but she was always responsible with her job and classes. Ultimately, Ellie decided to continue getting ready for class and for a few hours forgot about her roommate’s strange disappearance.
By nightfall, the girls would learn more information — a missing person report had been filed and two officers had visited the home to check for any suspicious signs, without success. However, lifting Lynda’s bedsheets, one of her roommates found a large stain of dried blood on the pillow and mattress. A careful search of the room also revealed: a bloodstained nightgown and the discovery of missing clothes. The details began to reveal a story about what had taken place; someone made their way into the house, attacked Lynda and carried her off.
The police, accompanied by Lynda’s roommates and friends, fanned out to search for Lynda across the city and surrounding areas, as well as questioning neighbors for any eyewitnesses. Both the searches and the questionings yielded nothing, and the girls of 5517 Northeast 12th street slowly lost hope in finding her again. It would not be until 1975, when Lynda’s skull was discovered in a wooded location west of Seattle, resting in the dirt alongside the remains of five other victims, that Lynda’s fate was revealed.
At first, the abduction of Lynda Healy was not associated to the work of a serial killer, but as more women began to disappear in the area, the general climate of terror started to grow.
Unfortunately, Ted Bundy was just getting started.