The Ted Bundy Tapes: The Origins

This is the first part of a three part series

Katie Gary

Ted Bundy, a serial killer, necrophiliac, was responsible for the Chi Omega massacre and murders of over 36 women. But how did this maniacal pattern start? 

Ted Bundy was born in Burlington, Vermont on November 24, 1946. His mother, Elenor Louise Cowell, gave birth at a home for unwed mothers in Vermont, then later brought her son to her parents in Philadelphia. Since he was an illegitimate child, he was raised as the adopted son of his grandparents and was told his mother was his sister to keep the shame away from the catholic family. To this day no one knows who Bundy’s father is, but a few years later Elenor moved to Tacoma, WA and soon married Bundy’s stepfather Johnnie Bundy. 

Bundy grew up in a normal middle class family, but he started to show interest in the macabre at an early age. At age three, he became fascinated by knives. Bundy was a shy kid who did extremely well in school,  but his social life was the exact opposite. As a teenager, his sadistic side began to emerge. Bundy liked to peer in other people’s windows and thought nothing of stealing things he wanted from other people. 

Ted Bundy graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in psychology in 1972, and he soon was accepted to law school in Utah, but he never earned his degree. While a student at UW, he fell in love with a wealthy woman from California. She had everything that he wanted: money, class and influence. When they broke up, he was devastated. Many of Bundy’s later victims looked similar to his college girlfriend — attractive students with long, dark hair. 

By the mid 70’s, Bundy completely changed himself. He became more outwardly confident and active in social and political matters after being shy and isolated from others. He even got a letter of recommendation from the republican governor of Washington after working on his campaign. Bundy confessed to 36 killings of young women across several states in the 1970’s, but experts say that the final tally maybe closer to 100 or more. His killings followed the same maniacal pattern: he often raped his victims before beating them to death. 

While there are debates as to when Bundy started killing, most people believe that he began his rampage around 1974. Around this time many women in the Seattle area in nearby Oregon went missing. Stories circulated about one of the victims last being seen in the company of a young, dark- haired man known as “Ted.” He often lured his victims into his car by pretending to be injured and asking for their help. What these good Samaritans didn’t realize was their help would lead to their deaths.