Theodore Robert Bundy (Ted Bundy) was an American serial killer and rapist who between 1974 and 1978 murdered numerous young women in several states. Bundy confessed to over 30 murders but the total number of his victims is not known. He brutally murdered young women and girls with a blunt instrument or by strangulation.
It is also believed that he raped many of his victims before and after death (Ted Bundy, http://en.wikipedia.org).Ted Bundy was born in 1946 in Burlington, Vermont, and was the illegitimate child of his mother, Eleanor, and an unknown man. At first, Eleanor and her son lived with her parents in Philadelphia. Friends and neighbors were told that Ted had been adopted by Eleanor’s parents and that he was actually Eleanor’s younger brother. When they eventually moved to Tacoma, Washington, Eleanor married John Bundy. In his adolescence, Bundy was a spectacular student and also very active in the local Methodist Church and the Boy Scouts.
His criminal activities began before he was out of high school: he was a thief, a shoplifter, and an amateur con man. As an adult, Bundy campaigned for the Republican Party and worked as a volunteer at a suicide crisis center (Ted Bundy, http://en.wikipedia.org).
Ted Bundy had a serious relationship with Stephanie Brooks who eventually broke up with him because of his immaturity and lack of ambition. It was then that he discovered that his parents were in fact his grandparents. Two years later Bundy courted Brooks once more, proposed to her, but then left her. Shortly after that he started murdering. Stephanie formed the archetype for his preferred victims who were young white women and girls with “long dark hair parted in the middle” (Ted Bundy, http://en.wikipedia.
org).From January to June 1974 Bundy murdered about ten victims in Washington State alone. Then he moved to Utah where he killed two more young women. He was arrested in 1975, escaped in 1977, and was recaptured a week later. In December that year Bundy escaped again and traveled to Florida where he restarted murdering women.
His final victim was a 12-year-old girl whom he abducted and murdered in February 1978 in Lake City. Shortly after that he was arrested, charged with murders, convicted, and sentenced to death in July 1979. During this second trial he marriedCarole Ann Boone in the courtroom. Ted Bundy was executed in the electric chair by the State ofFlorida on January, 24 1989 (Ted Bundy, http://en.
wikipedia.org).Biological view of Ted BundyMany mental disorders have a strong biological basis and heredity often plays a crucial part in a criminal’s abnormal behavior. To understand such a behavior it is important to find out whether other members of a criminal’s family ever suffered from a similar disorder (Sue, D.; Sue, D. & Sue, S., 2006).
In Ted Bundy’s case, it is possible to chart a family tree only on his mother’s side due to the fact that his father’s identity has never been authoritatively established. Bundy’s grandfather was often described by his family members as a very violent and rude person who, for example, used to swing cats by their tails and kick puppies just for fun (Ted Bundy, www.absoluteastronomy.com). Ted Bundy’s aggression and violence in his murders can be thus partly explained by those violent tendencies that he inherited from his grandfather.Psychoanalytic view of Ted BundyAccording to psychoanalytic theory, there are three aspects of the personality: the id, unconscious (the immediate gratification of basic drives – sex, aggression), the superego, unconscious (the restraints imposed by moral, ethical, and societal values), and the ego, conscious (regulates the demands of the id and the restrictions of the superego) (Psychology and Crime). Ted Bundy’s antisocial behavior can therefore be explained by the fact that his superego and ego were not fully developed and did not function properly in controlling his antisocial drives, pleasure-seeking, unbridled sexuality, and unrestrained aggression. His antisocial behavior evolved from being fascinated by images of sex and violence at a very young age to shoplifting and becoming an amateur con man as an adolescent and to murders and rapes as an adult.
The weak superego can also account for Ted Bundy’s lack of feelings of guilt that further encouraged deviant behavior.According to psychoanalytic theory, a delinquent ego effectively “blocks any potential restraint” from the superego and “permits the delinquent to rationalize criminal behavior” (Psychology and Crime). For example, in a television interview the night before his execution, Ted Bundy claimed that his violence was shaped and molded by consumption of violent pornography and violence in the media (Ted Bundy).Displacement is another defense mechanism that can be discerned in Ted Bundy’s case.
Psychoanalysts believe that delinquency often originates from repressed memories of traumatic experiences and from displaced hostility towards those who caused trauma (Psychology and Crime). It can’t be stated that Ted Bundy started murdering because of his breakup with Stephanie Brooks; however, it can be clearly seen here that hostility he felt at an unconscious level towards Brooks was directed to his victims who had appearance similar to that of Brooks.At last, Ted Bundy’s difficulty in getting along with other people and being unable to develop meaningful relationships can be explained by a disruption of the attachment bond between Ted and his mother during his early childhood. Bundy’s narcissism was particularly obvious during his incarceration. All those fan letters that he received from female admirers were his favorite subject that he liked talking about with detectives and interviewers. He became known because of his murders and seemed to enjoy his “popularity” and to be his own greatest fan (Ted Bundy).Cognitive view of Ted BundyIn what regards crime, cognitive psychologists are concerned with the content of a criminal’s thoughts and general thought structures. The basic assumption behind Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory, for example, is that humans advance through predictable stages of moral reasoning which are defined according to how a person thinks about justice, fairness, and chooses a right course of action.
He proposes six Stages of Moral Development and subsequent research on them revealed that criminals tend to have delays in moral development (Psychology and Crime). As an adult, Ted Bundy was not fully developed socially and emotionally. His maturity seemed to correspond to that of an adolescent. His manners were rude and more typical of a twelve-year-older than an adult. Bundy lived in a world of more and more violent sexual fantasies and also consumed a lot of pornographic magazines and movies. He used pornography to experiment, abuse and totally possess women like objects. At first, he nourished his fantasies by indulging in voyeurism and window-peeping.
Later he started to make them real while he was committing his murders. His boyish fantasies led him to sexually assault one of his victims with a steel rod from a bed, cruelly rape and sodomize many others.But besides the realization of his wild fantasies, Ted Bundy was also concerned with gaining a total control over his victims. This can be proved by the fact that in several cases he didn’t rape or mutilate his victims until he killed them. He was never interested in getting to know the women he aggressed; instead all that he wanted was to have them in his power.
He never allowed any woman to be totally intimate with him, not even Stephanie Brooks or Carol Boone. He always kept a secret part of his personality to himself. In fact, one is tempted to conclude that Ted Bundy felt inferior to his victims and that is why he killed most of them before they could discover his true boyish nature and primitive drives.Social and cultural view of Ted BundyAs Ted Bundy confessed not long before his execution, he always had difficulty in developing normal relationships with other people. He never understood why people around him wanted to make friends with each other or why they wanted to love and needed to be loved.
Perhaps he became seriously aware of this problem only after the breakup with Stephanie Brooks who was his first girlfriend and who abandoned him because of his immaturity. Anyway, it was after this event that Bundy started to change his personality studying psychology, campaigning for the Republican Party or working voluntarily for a suicide crisis center. He tried to create and then maintain a new image of himself and appear a perfectly normal person. He was handsome and appeared intelligent and thanks to these features he was appreciated by many of his acquaintances; he always attracted women who were important for him allowing him to establish dominance over them.