The Dangerous Mind of a Serial Killer: Analysis of Ted Bundy

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The Dangerous Mind of a Serial Killer
Analysis of Ted Bundy
Adam Boncic
Ramapo College

The Dangerous Mind of a Serial Killer
Analysis of Ted Bundy
What complex motives could have possibly driven an individual to passionate murder, contributing to over a hundred deaths? These brash, relentless actions can be influenced by a range of psychological, genetic and environmental factors. Unraveling the mind of a serial killer is far from simple, but there is almost always a catalyst towards their demeanor. There are, in fact, many diverse explanations for their sadism; some suffer from a brutal childhood, dysfunctional family, psychological disorders and mental illnesses. Anyone of these aspects could contribute to the psychopathic qualities of a serial killer. Specifically, there is America's most notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy, who validated for more than half of these accounts. On the surface though, Bundy appeared essentially normal to others. People thought he was a very verbally articulate, intelligent and even a charming man. They fell under his spell; they would not believe any accusations against Bundy. He built a façade, he oozed sincerity, and developed his false character very well. Meanwhile, behind closes doors, Ted Bundy committed a gross number of heinous murders. What led up to his attacks? This charismatic killer suffered from a combination of biological and environmental issues that triggered his motives for murder.

The type of environment a child is raised around is fundamental to their development. At a young age, personality begins to shape and is carried with them their entire lives. Moreover, looking through the lens of Ted Bundy, you will find a very troubling childhood which systematically only led to a more troubled adulthood. "Defense psychiatrist Dorothy Lewis said Tuesday that Bundy is mentally ill, that he suffered from a strange childhood that was bound to 'produce someone incredibly violent'" (Crawford, 1987, A1). As a child, Bundy lived with his grandparents, who may have suffered from "manic disorders." "The psychiatrist testified that Bundy's grandfather would violently swing cats by their tails and abuse other family pets in front of Bundy. He also exposed the boy to pornography", she said (Crawford, 1987, A1). Samuel Cowell, Ted's grandfather, was a man with extreme temper and would also become abusive. "Bundy's grandmother was hospitalized several times for psychotic depression and a cousin tried to commit suicide by jumping out of a window" (Crawford, 1987, A1). Ted's exposure to this was corrupting and detrimental, but nonetheless still claims to have "led a normal life and childhood".

The lifestyle, behavior and approach of Ted's "father" inspired him because that was the figure he followed and looked up to. "Instead of becoming submissive and meek like his grandmother and other female relatives, he instead began harboring the same attitudes and beliefs his grandfather held-that women were basically nothing" ("Ted Bundy"). Most sons have a greater connection and thirst to be like their fathers, which is the case here. It was from observing the actions of Samuel that helped form Ted's mind-set. This transformation was even present as a young boy. Consequently, Ted, only three at the time, was found one night by his aunt standing next to his sister's bed grinning widely in the dark. She was surrounded by knives, arranged around the shape of her sleeping body. It was not an uncommon occurrence ("Ted Bundy").

As Theodore grew older he began exploring and committing some petty crimes. Few knew he was a peeping tom, outside the window watching woman change. By 15, he had become a suspect shoplifter (thought he was above the law). Additionally, it is said that Ted murdered his first victim as a teen; however, there is no evidence regarding the case. "Despite his nocturnal activities, Bundy graduated high school in 1965 with a scholarship to the University of Puget...
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