Born on November 24, 1946, Ted Bundy is considered one of the most prolific serial killers in the USA. Although he had a good life ahead of him, some of his issues affected his entire being.
Being a smart and promising young man, Ted Bundy was a leading figure in state and local politics. He once aspired to become the governor of Washington State. Everyone thought they knew his capabilities, but nobody ever thought that Bundy was capable of 30 gruesome killings.
But what drove him to kill 30 innocent women?
After his first arrest in 1975, Bundy was evaluated by psychologist Al Carlisle at the Utah State Prison. Carlisle was asked to do an evaluation for the court and spent twenty hours with Bundy. Carlisle saw nothing indicating what was typical of a killer, yet was convinced that Bundy could be dangerous.
Once Bundy was incarcerated in a Medium-Security unit, he started planning an escape and was transferred to Maximum Security. Carlisle continued to meet him, gathering information about him personally and concluded that there were many factors that influenced Bundy’s development.
Although in one of his interviews Bundy blamed an addiction to pornography for being a spark of his killings, Carlisle saw that as too simplistic. He proposed that the ability to repeatedly kill developed through the evolution of three primary processes:
- Fantasy – imagining scenarios for entertainment or self-comfort.
- Dissociation – avoiding uncomfortable feelings and memories.
- Compartmentalization – relegating different ideas and images to specific mental frames and keeping boundaries between them.
In Carlisle’s words, serial killers can present a public persona that appears to be “good” and nurture their dark side that allows murderous fantasies free reign. Because they have painful memories of abuse, disappointment, humiliation, frustration, or bullying, they have turned to fantasies to comfort themselves.
They are even capable of developing an alternate identity that feels more powerful or provides greater status. Ted Bundy had detailed the hero fantasies which eventually turned into sexual possession.
It is believed that Bundy’s life grew boring, frustrating or disappointing and his fantasy life became more attractive. But the unrestricted fantasy possibly developed into an unquenchable addiction.
The mask of sanity let Bundy deflect others from discovering his secrets and carry on seeking new victims. Some people say that it’s almost impossible to have both good and evil within the same mind. That’s why Bundy had to find a way to minimize the polarity between these two parts. What was wrong for Bundy as a child became acceptable as an early teen and then desirable when he was in his late teens.
Carlisle believed that Bundy was the author of his own creation and he’s a good example of how an ordinary child can become a skilled, predatory killer.
Once evaluated, Bundy was classified as a High Factor 1 Psychopath, meaning he was an intelligent human being with very few signs of psychopathy early in his life.
The components of Factor 1 Psychopathy include a grandiose sense of self, pathological lying, conning-manipulative behaviors, lack of remorse, lack of empathy, and failure to accept responsibility. That’s why Bundy insisted on his innocence until death and used various tricks to delay the trial.
In his psychological profile, Bundy was described as one who was suffering from a chronic mental disorder along with a violent or abnormal social behavior. Diagnosed as a sexual psychopath, he engaged in the sexually sadistic behavior.
The profile also said Bundy was an intelligent man, but very insecure. This insecurity was primarily because of the inferior feelings he had then, which was caused by Bundy’s lack of wealth that he felt more and more because of being surrounded by his wealthy classmates.
Although women described Bundy as being charming, he was shy. A psychological evaluation revealed that he strongly depended on women and feared humiliation in his relationships with the opposite sex.
According to the profile, Bundy had a pattern of women he chose to kill. All women were single, white and thin. He attacked women of his own race. It was also apparent that Bundy’s victims came from different states, indicating that he had an access to his own transport.
While it is commonly believed that Bundy’s trigger was a girlfriend who had dumped him while he was in college, another trigger may be the fact that his biological mother, who Bundy had believed was his sister, was actually his mother.