10 Weird Facts About Ted Bundy’s Childhood
This is the second article in a series on serial killers. How does a killer become a killer? Once upon a time, they were born, held, named, taken pictures of. What kind of childhood helps to produce serial killers? In knowing this, perhaps these conditions could be avoided…
Theodore Robert Bundy was born November 24, 1946 and was executed on January 24, 1989. He fits the typical “American serial killer” role to a tea — white, male, in his 20’s or 30’s with an atypical childhood. He went on a three year killing spree killing numerous young women. He eventually confessed to 30 murders although many suspect that the number was higher and some suspect the number was much much higher. He used his good looks to lure victims and often pretended he was injured or was an authority figure such as a police officer. He was found guilty of 30 murders of young women and was sentenced to death. His last words were: “I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends.” Then, he was executed in the electric chair.
What kind of an upbringing would allow a child to turn into a man such as Ted Bundy? While I am neither condoning nor belittling the agonizing pain of his victim’s and their families, such behaviour does give one pause for thought. Are some people born evil? Are they raised to become evil? I believe it’s a little of both. Bundy definitely lead a different childhood. Here are ten weird facts about young Ted Bundy’s life.
Ted Bundy was not his birth name.
He was born Theodore Robert Cowell and remained so for a few years. After he moved to Tacoma with his mother, she changed his last name to Nelson. Within a year after that, his mother Louise Cowell met Johnnie Culpepper Bundy. They later married and Johnnie Bundy legally adopted Theodore and changed his last name to Bundy.
Ted Bundy thought his mother was his sister for many years.
He was born at a home for unwed mothers. To avoid the social stigma of having an illegitimate grandchild born to a young mother, his grandparents claimed him as their own. They told young Ted that Louise was his sister and not his mother. He did not discover the truth of his maternal parentage until at least the end of high school or perhaps in the first couple years of college.
No one is really sure who his biological father was.
His mother gives two different stories for this. The name on his birth certificate was Lloyd Marshall. However, she later spoke of being seduced by a war veteran named Jack Worthington. There is one other option, however. Some members of Bundy’s family think that his grandfather may also be his biological father. He was mentally unstable, violent and abusive. He would also fly into a rage if anyone spoke of Ted’s biological father.
He showed violent tendencies as young as three years old.
His Aunt Julia, Louise’s younger sister, recalls incidents of laying down for a nap in her home and waking up to find knives surrounding her and a smiling three year old Bundy at her side. This paints an eerie, strange picture of a toddler arranging knives around his sleeping aunt.
Bundy’s grandfather (who he thought was his father and indeed may have been) tortured animals.
Bundy describes incidents of his grandfather Samuel abusing the family dog. He also claimed that Samuel would swing neighbourhood cats around by their tails. Ted himself has been said to torment animals with knives. He would mutilate animals with the knives which seemed to fascinate him so much.
Young Ted was active in the Methodist Church and even served as Vice President of the Methodist Youth Fellowship.
He was also involved in the Boy Scouts of America club. Although later he stated: “I didn’t know what made people want to be friends. I didn’t know what made people attractive to one another. I didn’t know what underlay social interactions.” He was often described as shy and introverted at this age.
His criminal activities began before he finished high school.
He was a habitual liar. He compulsively stole and shoplifted. He later claimed that he was also involved in voyeurism at a young age specifically by peeping into windows. He was arrested twice as a juvenile but the records were later expunged.
He majored in Psychology in University and graduated with a degree in 1972.
He started taking classes upon his graduation from high school in 1965 in Psychology and Oriental Studies. After a serious girlfriend broke up with him for his lack of ambition, he rededicated himself to Psychology and earned his degree in 1972. He was well liked by his professors and graduated with honors. He started dating a woman with a child (relationship lasted six years) while concurrently and covertly re-establishing his relationship with his girlfriend who dumped him. After a year of their born again relationship, he proposed and she accepted. Two weeks later, he dumped her and began his killing spree. He would not break up his six year relationship to another woman until he was arrested for kidnapping in 1976. There are many who say that most of his victims looked like the girlfriend who original dumped him (long dark hair parted in the middle).
He volunteered at a suicide crisis center alongside a now famous crime author, Ann Rule.
As a part of his psychology classes, he volunteered at a suicide crisis center. Imagine, a serial killer talking people out of killing themselves. Completely bizarre. One of his co-workers and friends was Ann Rule who is now a well known crime writer. She was researching the crimes Ted committed all the while not knowing it was her friend who committed them. She later published a book called : “The Stranger Beside Me” detailing her relationship with Ted and the numerous crimes he was convicted of.
Ted was heavily involved with the Republican.
In 1968, Ted managed the Seattle office of Nelson Rockefeller’s presidential campaign and attended the Republican Convention in Miami. After his graduation in 1972, he went to work for the state Republican Party. He was later involved in a minor scandal when the democrats found out that Ted had been following one of them around posing as a college student and taping their speeches and reporting the information back to his Republican office.
Ted Bundy’s journey to adulthood had many odd facets. Perhaps a closer examination of serial killer’s pasts can lead to their earlier detection and possibly even prevent serial killers from killing.