Ted Bundy



Theodore Robert Bundy famously known as Ted was among the most notorious serial killers in the American history. He kidnapped, raped, brutalized and murdered over 30 women in the 1970s (Rippo et al, 2007). He proclaimed his innocence from the time he was captured until when he was executed on the electric chair. He later started confessing several crimes to delay his executions (Michaud et al, 1999). This essay analyzes some of the factors that might have contributed to him becoming a serial killer.

Alcohol and Drug abuse

There are no specific instances of his life that Bundy has been portrayed as an alcoholic therefore this might have not made him a serial killer.

Psychiatric history

Bundy is remembered by his elementary classmates as a happy, popular and intelligent child who kept lots of friends (Rippo et al, 2007). However, things changed on reaching high school. He suddenly became withdrawn and his academic progress also deteriorated (Michaud et al, 1999). It is said he had lost confidence especially when in a social situation. He was no longer popular as he used to be. His isolation might have contributed to his obsession for young women.

Criminal history

Ted had a record of criminal history from the time he was in high school. He started breaking into homes and cars (Michaud et al, 1999). Ted once said that the reason for him resolving to petty crimes was because he wanted to ski downhill. He felt that it was the only area that he was good in yet it was expensive. The money he made from stealing he used to pay for his skis (Nelson, 1994). His killing escapades is said to have started in 1960s.

Sexual problems

Since childhood, Ted had a problem in relating with girls (Nelson, 1994). He was therefore fond of peeping at them through the window (Michaud et al, 1999). This act of peeping made him become obsessed with women and might have greatly contributed to his killing spree.

Physical abuse

Bundy was at some point physically abused him by his violent grandfather (Nelson, 1994). It is said his grandfather experienced hallucinations and occasionally argue with invisible people. He was capable of hurting everyone including the family dog.

Psychological abuse

The psychological trauma he went through in the hands of an abusive grandfather contributed to his psychological issues. His parents concentrated on the younger children who were more demanding and ignored him. This led to depression and withdrawal (Rippo et al, 2007). Again, when in the university, he met his first love who broke up with him citing that he was immature and childish. The breakup was facilitated with Bundy’s lack of confidence (Nelson, 1994). This really affected him psychologically and emotionally (Michaud et al, 1999).

Dominant father figure aligned with a negative relationship with male caretaker figures

Even though Bundy appreciated his step parents, the man was reported to have a bad temper and would occasionally abuse him physically. However, there was no serious instability in his childhood.

Negative relationships with both natural mother and or adoptive mother

Ted’s mum being unmarried gave him up to Samuel and Eleanor Cowell to be his parents. This isolation from his real mum to some extent might have contributed to his defiant behavior. Again, being raised by his grandparents, he at some point perceived his mother to be his sister (Nelson, 1994). Bundy resented his mother for a very long time because she never talked to him concerning his real identity and who his biological father was (Michaud et al, 1999).

Treated unfairly

The surrounding in Cowell’s home is said to be harsh. Samuel was a loud and arrogant person who would go about announcing his dislike for some people (Michaud et al, 1999). Being in such an environment, Bundy must have felt being treated unfairly (Rippo et al, 2007). Furthermore, Samuel and Eleanor got other children and concentrated more on them and ignoring Bundy who resorted to isolation (Nelson, 1994).

Head trauma

The breakup between Bundy and his first love Stephanie greatly affected him making him fall into depression. It is said that he was obsessed with her for more than five years even after their separation (Rippo et al, 2007). This bitterness might have contributed to his obsession of seeing young college women suffer as he killed them (Nelson, 1994).

Demon seed

His father’s identity has never been identified and is therefore difficult to conclude whether he was a demon seed or not (Rippo et al, 2007).

The Trilogy

At no point has Bundy demonstrated arson, bedwetting or cruelty to animals. Such factors might not have contributed to him becoming a serial killer (Nelson, 1994).


In conclusion, having studied the circumstances that surrounded his growth, it can be concluded that Bundy became a serial killer just because he liked it (Rippo et al, 2007). From the way he murdered his victims, it can be said that there was something animalistic in him when he watched a woman die. For him, killing could be likened to orgasm since he derived pleasure from killing young college women (Nelson, 1994). His childhood had very little impact as to why he became a serial killer (Michaud et al, 1999).

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  1. Rippo, B. M., & Aguilar, A. (2007). The professional serial killer and the career of Ted Bundy: An investigation into the macabre ID-ENTITY of the serial killer. New York: iUniverse, Inc.
  2. Nelson, P. (1994). Defending the devil: My story as Ted Bundy’s last lawyer.
  3. Michaud, S. G., & Aynesworth, H. (1999). The only living witness: The true story of serial sex killer Ted Bundy. Irving, Tex: Authorlink Press
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