Several years ago, I became fascinated with serial killer Theodore Robert Bundy. I read a plethora of books and developed somewhat of a reluctant affinity for him. Partly because I felt he wasn't a typical empty vessel of hate and destruction. Studying his biographical information, testimonies from friends and family, and pictures of him gave me the sense that he didn't come into the world destined to hurt and kill.
It's interesting. His longtime girlfriend, Liz Kendall (a pseudonym), wrote a book about her time with Bundy. "The Phantom Prince" is out of print and semi-rare, but not impossible to get a hold of and I did. It's a hard situation to interpret because it's from Liz's perspective, and she was undoubtedly very emotionally weak and sensitive. She was insecure and needy, not to mention an alcoholic. Still, it's an eye-opening study of someone (Ted) trying to function, DESPERATE to build normal relationships, and battling horrible demons. Literally, I think he was beset with demons.
Ted really seemed to want to be normal. Not only did he want to be normal, to the point of CRAVING it for its own sake, but he possessed good qualities. Ted had a great sense of humor, he was well-mannered, he doted on friends and family, he was intelligent. He once saved a toddler from drowning and Liz recounted that he ran a purse snatcher down (funny, considering what a thief he was from such a young age). He seemed to be a human being, like any one of us, who possessed a profound weakness in his soul, one which was able to be manipulated by adversarial forces. With each woman he murdered, he lost more and more of himself. Eventually there was very little of his spiritual -I- left in him.
Study pics of younger Ted and compare them with pictures of him after he'd murdered so many people. There is little left of who he was in his blue eyes, which grew black when he was angry, and he emanates spiritual weakness.
A wicked mythology sprung up around Ted and it is so surreal to me, so crazy that he has become such a dark figure in American culture. Understandable that he HAS, but still strange. I guess I've read so much about him and intuned so much of his humanity that I am bewildered by the films depicting him, the books, the hatred people have for him, and all the years that have passed. I was 2 years old when he was executed via the electric chair. I was but a twinkle in my father's eye when he brutalized and murdered women and little girls. But he had a life full of experiences, of people who adored and liked him, of water rafting in Washington, of buying kittens and rabbits for Liz's daughter, of drinking his favorite beer and working as a suicide hotline operator. It is difficult for me to reconcile the good with the bad, the life which was full of light and promise, with the convicted murderer who starved himself so he could slip out of his cell and gimp into the Colorado mountains to hide.
I am not a groupie. I harbor no perverse delight for Ted Bundy, nor do I think serial killers are "cool." But I will not say that redemption is impossible for those who possess even a glimmer of light or good intention in their spirits. I think it would be a grand act of mercy for everyone to put good thoughts out to Ted and other people like him (as in, not being an empty, hateful shell).
I have done this, tried to reach out to him, and had a very strange dream a few years ago. I was in the lobby of a big hotel and there was Ted, surrounded by girls who looked so much like his victims. They were laughing and happy and doting on him, and he was doing the same. He turned, saw me, came forward, and hugged me. He then kissed me on the cheek.
The following photos have been taken from Serial Killer Central. The one of Ted with his daughter is especially striking and very rare.