While studying law for his upcoming murder trial, Ted Bundy became distracted by a particular female paparazzi who he’d allowed to take pictures of him. When he’d read enough, he closed his books, went over to the camera and bared his teeth in an exaggerated grin, making the woman collapse in a fit of giggles. The photographer later said the serial killer was “The most attractive and charming man I’d ever spent 10 minutes with.”
In 2008 Ann Rule published one final chapter to her book “The Stranger Beside Me” (originally published in 1980). In this chapter she answers commonly asked questions to the best of her ability with the knowledge she has obtained over the years.
Who was Ted’s biological father?
This has never been absolutely established. His mother, Eleanor Louise Cowell, said simply that Ted’s father was a “sailor.” His birth certificate listed his father as Lloyd Marshall, thirty, an Air Force veteran, a graduate of penn state university. Jack Worthington was another name listed as his father. Born at the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont, on November 24, 1946, Ted had “illegitimate” stamped on his birth certificate. Many feel that he was a child of incest, fathered by his mother’s father, a man known for his violent temper. To the best of my knowledge, blood samples were never taken to establish or refute this. DNA testing was fifty years in the future. Ted had many names: Cowell, Nelson, Bundy, and all the names he stole from other men to protect his identity when he was on the run.
Did Ted Bundy really father a child in prison?
Yes, I believe he did. A frequent visitor to Raiders Prison in Starke, Florida, told me that prisoners in the early 1980s pooled their money to bribe guards to allow them intimate time alone with their female visitors. Whoever won that lottery did have enough privacy and time to impregnate a wife or girlfriend. Furthermore, the baby girl born to Carole Ann Boone is said to resemble Ted a great deal.
Where are Carole Ann Boone and her daughter now?
I have always tried not to know anything about Ted’s ex-wife (who divorced him before he was executed) and child, feeling that if I had no information, I could never accidentally tell anyone in the media details that would invade their privacy. I have heard that Ted’s daughter is a kind and intelligent young woman– but I have no idea where she and her mother may live. They have been through enough pain.
Where are Meg Anders and her daughter, the child who looked upon Ted as a father figure back in the seventies?
I have also attempted to know very little about Meg and her daughter, who is now around forty. Meg wrote a book, using the pseudonym “Elizabeth Kendall” many years ago. Entitled “The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy” and published by a small Seattle press that no longer exists, it has been out of print for years. I was surprised recently to receive a phone call from Liane Anders, Meg’s daughter. Ted had hurt her emotionally, too. In the tangled way humans respond to trauma, Liane said she felt a lingering guilt about the young women Ted killed– as if there might have been some way she could have stopped him from killing. I pointed out that she should have no responsibility whatsoever for what Ted did. She was only a little girl when it all happened, a child who once loved and trusted him. Perhaps one day, she will write about her feelings, and I hope that “Elizabeth Kendall” will see that her book is reissued.
Was Ted Bundy ever cleared of homicides he was suspected of?
Perhaps once or twice– officially. I believed that he had killed Katherine Merry Devine after picking her up in the University District in December 1973– and so did her parents and many detectives. But there was a “sleeper” suspect that Thurston County, Washington, sheriff’s detectives were also watching over the twenty-eight years her murder went unsolved. His name was William E. Cosden and he had a record for rape and a doubtful acquittal on rape and murder charges back in Maryland. In March 2002, DNA retrieved from Katherine Merry’s body and clothing was compared to Cosden’s and it was a definite match. Cosden had believed he skated away clear. He had been visiting relatives who owned a service station in Olympia when the fourteen-year-old hopped down from the ride she had gotten from Seattle. He met her there in the gas station/truckers’ stop, and she trusted him.
Cosden is now safely locked away in prison.
Wasn’t Ted Bundy really nice…. underneath?
Were you ever afraid when you were with Ted Bundy– especially all alone at the crisis clinic all night long?
Again, the answer is no. I had always prided myself on my ability to detect aberrance in other humans– both because I had that innate skill and through experience and training. And I have berated myself silently for a long time because I saw nothing threatening or disturbing in Ted’s façade. He was very kind to me, solicitous of my safety, and seemingly empathetic.
The only clue I had was that my dog– who liked everyone– didn’t like Ted at all. Whenever he bent over my desk at the crisis clinic, she growled and the hackles on her neck stood up.
The lesson is clear: pay attention to your dog!
Don’t you think that Ted Bundy should have been kept alive– and studied by psychiatrists while he served life in prison?
No, I don’t. Ted would have found a way to escape again, and he would have been more dangerous than ever. He fooled any number of intelligent, experienced people– including myself– and he was fully capable of doing it again and again. That was too big a risk to take.
What was Ted’s I.Q.?
It was 124 on the Standard Wechsler-Bellevue. Enough to graduate from college and obtain further degrees. However, he never tested at the genius level.
Where is Ted Bundy buried?
No one but those closest to him knows. His body was cremated, and he had asked to have his ashes scattered in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. This was probably a wise choice, as a recognizable grave would be in danger of being desecrated.
I have read in numerous print (that) in July 1986, Bundy’s execution was stayed just fifteen minutes before it was to take place. And then again in October, his execution was stayed just seven hours before. Are these accounts accurate or just media sensation? And equally important, if Ted Bundy had only fifteen minutes or seven hours to live, why did he not confess until January 1989? Did his attorneys assure him that he would not be executed? Why did he wait and not pull this card in 1986? How did he know he wouldn’t be executed then?
First of all, he did not come within fifteen minutes of execution in July 1986; it was fifteen hours. He did come within seven hours of dying in November that year. His attorneys had filed eighteen appeals. I think he had begun to feel invincible– that there would always be another chance. He could not have known absolutely, however, that he wouldn’t sit in Old Sparky on each date set.
He took a chance, and he won again. However, neither I nor anyone else could say then– or now–what Ted was thinking.
And this brings us to the most omnipresent question of all:
What was Ted Bundy really like?
I don’t know. He was so many things to different people. He was an actor, a liar, a thief, a killer, a schemer, a stalker, a charmer, intelligent but not brilliant, and doomed.
I don’t think even Ted knew what he was really like.
September 2008 from “The Stranger Beside Me”
This is no way to be Man ought to be free That man should be me Talk to the walls Echoes down the halls Dream of dreams An allusion freedom seems Write thoughts on paper by reams
Toilet flushes Water gushes Makes such a noise Lack of privacy annoys Nightime [sic] sounds Jailer makes rounds No freedom abounds Prisoners are clowns
So the night slowly passes No wine of wine glasses No girls to make passes Just us caged asses Cards are alright I play them all night
Sleep comes on slowly Read the words of the wholly The scriptures bring peace They talk of release They bring you to god I’m here that seems odd But His gift is so clear I find that He’s near Mercy and redemption Without an exception He puts me at ease Jailer, do what you please No harm can befall me When the Savior does call me
I look back on this day And what can I say More of my life wasted No freedom I’ve tasted 7:30 it’s chow time At that hour who feels fine Milk, mush, and toast Not much of to boast
Sweep the floors Talk of whores Hear the thunder of prison doors Do your chores Listen to bores How guys made scores Or escaped distant shores
I wrote a letter That made me feel better Words to the outside That’s how I keep my pride I write words of hope It’s really no soap I mean what I say Where there’s hope there’s a way I’ll be free someday
I sleep quite a lot Escape though it’s not In sleep I don’t care I forget the night mare The bars and the screams Are not in my dreams I don’t smoke cigarettes Or have sad regrets This sleep liberation Is tranquil salvation
- A poem by Ted Bundy sent to his friendand true crime writer Ann Rule.
Before he killed anyone, serial killer Ted Bundy would go on “dry-runs” to test his skills in serial murder. He would pick up a woman, terrorise her, but release her unharmed just to see if he was capable enough. In later interviews, he compared killing to learning how to be a better mechanic or chef. He told interviewers that he thought he had a Ph.D. in serial killing and that he took time to select the perfect victim- both physically and mentally. When asked about how he selected a victim, he stated that: “I have known people who…radiate vulnerability. Their facial expressions say ‘I am afraid of you.’ These people invite abuse… By expecting to be hurt, do they subtly encourage it?”.
Ted Bundy had an unusual childhood. He grew up thinking that his mother Louise Cowell was his sister and his grandparents were his parents, a farce that the Cowell clan arranged to avoid the scandal of an illegitimate child being born to a young, unwed woman. Ted’s grandfather Samuel Cowell, the man who filled the role of father in his earliest years, was an abusive bully and bigot who regularly beat his wife and the family dog and once threw his daughter Julia down a flight of stairs for oversleeping. Gradually, Cowell’s violence escalated. As the atmosphere in the house grew more and more tense, the impressionable child developing within its toxic influence began demonstrating strange behavior, such as surrounding his then-teenage aunt Julia with knives while she was sleeping.
In 1950, when Ted was four years old, Louise abruptly changed her surname from Cowell to Nelson and left her home in Philadelphia to live with her cousins in Tacoma, Washington. She took Ted with her, which no doubt set off some alarm bells in his head as to who his mother really was. A year after the move, Louise fell in love with a military cook named Johnnie Culpepper Bundy. The two married in May, 1951, and Johnnie formally adopted Ted. In the years that followed, the couple added four more children to their clan, and Johnnie made a concentrated effort to establish a bond with his adoptive son, taking him on camping trips and other father-son activities. However, Ted steadfastly spurned all advances, regarding Johnnie with open contempt that often manifested itself in outright insolence because his stepfather was uneducated and made little money. To Ted, who coveted wealth and refinement above all things, Johnnie was an embarrassment.
Ted was a sensitive child, shy and insecure in his interactions with other children. Friends noticed that the tiniest slight unraveled him, and that he had a violent temper that was easily roused. As he entered into adolescence, these problems only grew more pronounced, until his sophomore year of high school when he finally (in his own words) “hit a wall” in his social development, experiencing a sudden and extreme alienation from his classmates.
“I wasn’t sure what was wrong and what was right,” he would later explain about this private crisis. “All I knew was that I felt a bit different.” Ted’s uneasiness with relationships led him to spend large amounts of time by himself, when he’d brood over his social failings and supplement his lack of experience with the opposite sex through fantasies, which gradually became violent. To facilitate these fantasies, he searched detective magazines, crime novels, and true crime documentaries for tales of sexual brutality, particularly accompanied by illustrations of dead bodies. He also began roaming the neighborhood at night, peering in windows to watch women undressing and retreating into the woods to take off his clothes. Slowly, this deviant behavior would evolve into sexual gratification achieved through the assault and murder of young women.
“I don’t wanna die, I’m not gonna lie to you. I admit that. And I’m not asking for clemency, I’m not asking for forgiveness. I’m not asking for sympathy. I know they’re gonna kill me sooner or later… you don’t need to worry about that, but… there’s a lot of crimes I can solve, if the state can just see fit to let me live for two or three years longer, I mean… Look, I know I’m not like other people, I know I can’t… feel sympathy for other people. But I’m still human.”
While Ted Bundy was dating Elizabeth Kloepfer, he got in touch with one of his ex girlfriends behind her back.The same girl had rejected him years before after he was deeply in love with her and, according to many psychologists, this rejection is one of the reasons Bundy harboured so much hatred toward women. All his victims resembled her, having long brunette hair parted down the middle. One day, she phoned Bundy and asked him why he had been ignoring her for so long. He replied with “I’m sorry Stephanie, I have no idea what you’re talking about.” and the two of them never spoke again. The killer later admitted that he had only got back in touch with Stephanie Brooks to show her how rejection felt. This type of extreme social manipulation was an early warning sign that Bundy had no empathy and was a true sociopath.