Ted Bundy Grew Up Thinking His Mother Was His Sister & Other Disturbing Details About His Childhood

Main photos: Young Ted Bundy [Wikimedia Commons; Louise Cowell [AP Photo/Kathy Willens]

What is it like to raise one of the most notorious serial killers in the world? Is it normal to believe your son is innocent despite an overwhelming amount of damning evidence? To answer these questions we look to Louise Cowell, better known as Ted Bundy‘s mother. Defined by lies, resentment and denial, this mother and son’s bizarre relationship helps explain how the “Angel of Decay” came to terrorize America.

Related: Zac Efron As Ted Bundy & 5 Other Big Actors Who Played Serial Killers

A Childhood Full Of Dark Secrets

Ted Bundy was actually born Theodore Robert Cowell in November 24, 1946. His mother, Eleanor Louise Cowell, gave birth to her first child at the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont. As a single young woman in the 1940s, Cowell’s first child was a scandal. The young mother listed Air Force veteran and salesman llyod Marshal as Ted’s father on the birth certificate, but later claimed that a sailor, named Jack Worthington seduced her. Neither Marhsal nor Worthington, who authorities claim never existed, were part of Ted’s life.

Instead of raising the child alone as a single mother, Cowell moved to her parent’s house in Philadelphia — where Ted was brought up believing that his mother was his sister. With Cowell as his supposed sibling, Ted was led to believe that his grandparents were his birth parents.

Much like the identity of his father, accounts of how Bundy discovered his real birth certificate remain conflicting. Bundy biographers assert that Ted’s cousin relentlessly teased him as a teenager, calling him a bastard and cruelly showing him his birth certificate. Bundy was reportedly devastated and full of resentment towards his mother. In an interview with the notorious killer, he explained his mother’s intensely private and distant nature:

“We didn’t talk a lot about real personal matters. Certainly never about sex or any of those things. My mom has trouble talking on inmate, personal terms. There’s this logjam of feelings in her that she doesn’t open up and explain.”

Not exactly the basis for a healthy adult relationship.

Related: Close Friend Of Serial Killer Ted Bundy Speaks Out For The First Time

A Family History Of Abuse And Depression

Perhaps the most chilling rumor about Bundy’s early years is the allegation that his grandfather truly was his father. Although there is no concrete evidence, some have questioned if Bundy’s abusive grandfather raped his mother, and inadvertently fathered the notorious killer.

Ted Bundy, 1975 mug shot [Salt Lake County Sheriff's Department]

Ted Bundy, 1975 mug shot [Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department]

Aside from the debated status of his paternity, Samuel Cowell was considered by many to be a tyrannical bully and a bigot. When describing his violent nature, historians point to a story about Samuel throwing his daughter, Ted’s aunt, down a flight of stairs because she overslept. Samuel was also rumored to beat dogs, and even tossed a neighbor’s cat by the tail. Despite his grandfather’s rage, Ted Bundy told his close friend and author, Ann Rule, that he looked up to his grandfather and “identified with him.” What a role model….

Adding to his troubled home life, Ted’s grandmother received controversial electroshock treatment for severe depression. Between his mentally unstable grandmother, abusive grandfather, and intensely secretive mother, the Cowell/Bundy family tree was uniquely disturbing.

Related: Charles Manson On Ted Bundy: “He’s A Poop Butt!”

Violent & Materialistic From The Beginning

From an extremely early age, Ted gravitated toward the macabre. One particularly chilling childhood story includes three-year-old Ted assembling a collection of kitchen knives around his sleeping aunt. When his aunt awoke to the disturbing display, she looked up to see tiny Ted staring at her next from the end of the bed.

Along with an interest in death, Ted was known to obsess over material objects. When Ted’s mother married John Bundy in 1951, Ted was reportedly ashamed of his stepfather’s modest earnings as a military chef and was mortified that John drove a “sensible” Rambler. Even as a  young small child, Ted would drag his mother to the most expensive clothing displays at the department store, asserting his penchant for materialistic goods. In an attempt to distance himself from stepfather, Ted began calling him John instead of father and refused to become close with his four half-siblings.

Mother Knows Denial Best 

Louise Bundy winces with a pained expression outside the Miami courtroom where her son was found guilty on all counts Photo: AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Louise Bundy winces with a pained expression outside the Miami courtroom where her son was found guilty on all counts [AP Photo/Kathy Willens]

Despite her son’s early attraction to violence and history of burglary, Louise was her son’s biggest defender. For years and in the face of seemingly irrefutable evidence, Louise stood by her son.

Related: Inside The FBI Files: 10 Classified Pieces Of Evidence From The Ted Bundy Investigation

Louise’ was especially vocal about her son’s innocence before his 1989 Death Row confession. Prior to and at the onset of Ted’s trial, his mother affirmed that her child was incapable of such gruesome acts, stating:

“Ted Bundy does not go around killing women and little children! And I know this, too, that our never-ending faith in Ted — our faith that he is innocent — has never wavered. And it never will.”

In this Jan. 24, 1989 photo, Standing in her dining room in Tacoma, Louise Bundy, mother of convicted murderer Ted Bundy, wipes away a tear. He was executed minutes later Photo: AP Photo/The News Tribune, Russ Carmack

In this Jan. 24, 1989 photo, standing in her dining room in Tacoma, Louise Bundy wipes away a tear. He was executed minutes later [AP Photo/The News Tribune, Russ Carmack]

Unfortunately, Louise was wrong. Her son was more than capable of killing women and children. After her son finally confessed to dozens of murders, Louise’s love for Ted never faltered. Ted and Louise spoke twice on the day of his execution — her final words to her son illustrate her undying love:

“You will always be my precious son.”

As recent as 1999, Louise was outspoken about her son, expressing shock that anyone would connect her son to the 1961 death of eight-year-old Ann Marie Burr. Louise told local media:

“I resent the fact that everybody in Tacoma thinks just because he lived in Tacoma he did that one, too, way back when he was 14. I’m sure he didn’t.”

If only Ted had been capable of such compassion, perhaps dozens of his victims would still be alive today.

To learn more about Ted Bundy, watch the “Angel of Decay” episodes of Investigation Discovery’s Serial Thriller on ID GO now!

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Main photos: Young Ted Bundy [Wikimedia Commons; Louise Cowell [AP Photo/Kathy Willens]

  • This does give some perspective as to his background but still doesn’t answer the “why” After all, having a bully and bigot for a grandfather doesn’t normally produce serial killers plus he has a mother who gives him undying love? Where did the violence and hatred of women come from? Did they ever find out?

    • Laura Lynn Kemp

      Most likely the hatred for women came from the fact that he felt betrayed by his mother. If you look into other cerial killers this is usually the case. Secondly from what I have read he was a sociopath which unless they are put in therapy at a very early age, usually turns a person into a cold hearted violent person.

      • Corinna Carpenter

        He had cold, dead eyes. Just pure evil.

        • Mary Strobridge

          I thought so too.And he was not this great genius they made him out to be.I think his IQ was about 124.

          • Corinna Carpenter

            He was a genius in the sense that he was able to hide his evil side from pretty much everyone he knew. His high school and college classmates thought he was a great, fun guy to know. He blended in easily. You’d think he would come across as a very creepy and dangerous person to avoid but he was so good at hiding it.

          • Juliana

            He was the perfect psychopath. I believe he has this long of a staying power in our society because he would never come across as a serial killer to most women. He could get the women, he had that charm and intelligence that drew them in, he just chose to murder them, rather than date them and have a normal relationship with them. He’s still the best representation of what women even today should be looking for in the men they meet and that’s why he remains fascinating. Women should be required to study this man in full in order to fully appreciate what he’s done and how he did it, so they too can be more prepared in their own personal lives today.

          • Mary Strobridge

            End of discusuion.I don’t care to talk and further about a psychopath that nothing better else to do but bash womens’s head in.

          • Mary Strobridge

            Psychopath or socialpath, makes no difference,he was both.I hate him.

          • Corinna Carpenter

            Well, you did make a comment about his ‘genius’ and I replied, so…….

          • Juliana

            Actually Ted Bundy had a IQ of 136 not a genius level but well above average.

            Andrew Cunanan had a IQ of 147 so he was much smarter than Ted Bundy yet his rampage went on in a shorter span of time and he was confronted quicker.

            I wouldn’t use a person’s IQ either way to qualify their abilities to murder multiple people.

            He was attending law school so he was probably book smart and his charm carried him the rest of the way.

          • Mary Strobridge

            One place said 124 and another said 136,No i’m not using his IQ as a “ability” to murder,even though you perceived it that way.It’s the crime writers than label him as “bright” even the Judge that sentenced him.Ridgeway’s IQ was much lower and could get away with many more murders and deceived the PD in murdering for year!!! I hardly would call him Bundy)a charmer but a psychopath and serial. killer.Besides that his looks are overrated.

          • Jagdar

            That IQ makes more sense, since was in law school. Of course, I met some dummies in law school, so you never know..

          • Jagdar

            That is far from genius. I wasn’t aware that that was his IQ.

        • Juliana

          Sure he is in a mugshot. But he murdered 30 + women and he was able to do that with his good looks and charm. A mugshot is a aftershot now that he’s been caught. He looked much better in real life and this picture appears to be a later picture of him closer to his time of death.

          • It is really stunning how he had so much going for him and chose to act out on his anger as if it was all a game to him. This man killed out of a terrible rage and what he did to innocent women is just gruesome. He has no redeeming qualities. Talk about having a double life and getting away with it. It really is stunning to realize that people like him probably do have a high IQ to pull off what they do and it is always stunning to me that I am repeatedly shocked to see that often they look nothing like what they are inside. That is really something to come to terms with and the lessen to learn. However, if we follow our gut instincts, you are able to feel things about people that your eyes don’t see. I actually married someone briefly when if I had listened to what my inner feeling was telling me, I could have avoided a lot of suffering as he turned out to be emotionally abusive and I found out really soon and got out of it. I hate to admit it but I had to learn that lesson more than once. Maybe that’s why all this duplicity in people interests me so much. My friend’s would tell you that with me, what you see is what you get so I tend to be unprepared for people who are hiding behind a mask. I guess you really can’t take people at face value? How sad is that? Even though my father was a psychiatrist, how come I was never taught that ?

          • Corinna Carpenter

            He was not good-looking at any point in his life.

      • Juliana

        Actually he’s more of a psychopath then a sociopath although they can get intertwined which might be the case here. But believe it or not most psychopath’s aren’t violent in their lives ever. Most are high achiever’s Type A personalities. The are CEO’s, President’s, very successful men and women. They have the ability to mimic feelings which they don’t possess, and that’s how they achieve most of their success’s in life, they simple don’t care who they step on to get where they want to go.

        I read a study many years ago that 1 in 3 people are psychopaths. That most of us know one in our personal lives and they never commit a single crime. That they are born this way and can’t be fixed, and it’s actually considered a good trait without diagnosis because they become powerful people in their own right in the business world. I know one myself and he has never been arrested, he’s never committed a crime as far as I know, but I am fortunate enough to know what he’s capable of so I’m in front of it not behind it wondering what the problem is with him sometimes. He has never hit a woman, a child, and probably never will. He’s a pathological liar, he pretends to be something he isn’t, he is very charming, very smart, and you will believe him every single time, until you realize what he is, and he walks into a room and can get the number of every single woman in the room and he’s not especially good looking either, but I’ve seen him do it, I’ve made bets with him that he can’t, but I always lose those bets. So Ted Bundy could have used his psychopathy to have been the President of this country, he was very much into politic’s, but he went sour and became lawless and cunning, and murdered any time he wished too. He is by far one of the most dangerous person’s you’d ever meet.

        • Laura Lynn Kemp

          I actually know a few psychopaths also. My uncle for instance is a schizophrenic psychopath with dissociative identity disorder but he is extremely intelligent.

      • Sandie Gray

        Learn how to spell before speaking out loud…please!

    • Juliana

      Supposedly he loved women. If he had any hatred it stemmed from the family secret, the lie. He didn’t know his sister was his mother until he was much older. His grandparents were his parents for all intents and purposes. But his mother took him away from the only parents he ever knew and as he grew older he found out his sister was his mother. So that could have been his trigger point but he used his good looks, intelligence, and charms on all the ladies in his life, not just the women he murdered.

    • stevie70

      he was mad at his mother for lying about being his sister and didn’t find out she was his mother until he was in college and also there was a long haired brunette girlfriend from college he loved but she dumped him and he killed a lot of women that resembled her….both events happened around the same time period

  • I just discovered ID channel last year after watching the Dexter series which I’ve yet to finish and I hope the story can continue. While not intimately familar with the Ted Bundy case, the actor in Thriller Killer didn’t seem anything like what I remember from the news. He came across more like a creepy Manson type , not the preppy, short haired student. Nevertheless, I think this mini-series did a good job telling the story from the victims and detectives POV. While he may have been a charmer, he didn’t have one redeeming quality. I still wonder why Bundy was so completely evil and did he ever really tell anyone anything that would make sense of his behavior? Ponography and a bully for a grandfather doesn’t cut it especially with a mother who loved him unconditionally. In the series, he seemed anxious to tell his story and I’m getting the impression that his behavior was never fully understood. Bundy is nothing like the lovable Dexter. I’m glad he’s dead and he should have been caught long before he was. They didn’t have the technology of today but if anyone has seen the film SAVAGES, I imagine that the police could have been too busy chasing some stoned hippie and distracted by the so called fake drug war. Has there ever been a serial killer like Dexter who has a code and only kills evil murderers who got away?

    • cherlives

      I’m sure there are tons of murderers who think they are just like dexter…

      • Juliana

        Dexter is a fictional character so he really shouldn’t be compared to the likes of a Ted Bundy type.

        • Paul Strutzenberg

          Yep that and also Dexter only killed those that “deserved” it and met his “CODE” No such thing with Bundy he was just a bastard who didn’t care about who he killed

    • Linda Boyce

      A couple of decades ago, Mark Harmon (Gibbs from NCIS) played Bundy in the movie The Deliberate Stranger. It was PERFECT casting. Harmon said it gave him nightmares. He did an AWESOME job!

      • I remember that was good and just realized they are doing another one tonight at 9 and 11 called: The Hunt for Ted Bundy starting in five minutes tonight 6-14-15

        • Juliana

          If you have on demand and the id discovery channel you missed the entire series Serial Thriller that was just on last week, 3 nights in a row leading up to this show The Hunt For Ted Bundy. You should check out the 3 part series.

      • Jagdar

        I will have to look that one up. I just started thinking abut Bundy because we watched as show “Serial Thrillers” and the first 3 episodes are about Bundy. I was a young woman in the 1970s and remember the Washington murders. I lived in Colorado, and remember the news there. At that time, I was so horrified that I wanted Bundy to get the death penalty. Today, many years later, I realize the death penalty is so flawed that no civilized nation should employ it. Life imprisonment is also justice, and it shows our humanity as a country.

    • Juliana

      The Serial Thriller series that I just watched dropped the ball on casting this actor to portray Ted Bundy, so it sort of left a bad taste in my mouth on the show itself. I did however think they captured the time in history pretty well, but that really was all back round noise. This actor ruined the entire point of the show which was to engage the audience watching it and to play a game of clue with us to figure it out on our own.

      No offense to you but it’s so hard to believe there are people that know so little of this case, but as you said you are one of them. There is a wealth of information available that wasn’t even available back when it happened. I also realize we have a whole generation growing up that have no idea what this monster did or what he was. He’s a lesson on being careful who you trust, he fit in well to society, he was handsome and charming, very disarming. That was why he so easily got away with so many murder’s. He attracted women with his good looks and sweet charms. By far one of the most dangerous men in recent American History. He got away for so long because of the lack of technology today, but it was overwhelming data available to get him sooner, but it weighted down the investigation. His own girlfriend contacted investigator’s 3 times and they told her she was barking up the wrong tree.

      As far as serial killers of today, it’s become even harder to catch them because of all the new technology. The serial killers of today are far more savvy and are leaving nothing to chance. They are better at covering up their crimes than at any other time in history. How many serial killers are laughing at investigator’s today? How many have been captured in recent years? How many do you think are roaming around freely right now? Too many to count. In my area alone there are at least one possibly two, and likely 3. All active, all killing, all dumping bodies, and not one clue to capture them anytime soon. So beware of that handsome stranger who charms you, he could be your worst nightmare.

      Ted Bundy got desperate and sloppy at the entire of his reign of terror. Today’s killers have learned a lot about murder from this monster.

      • Juliana, I just wrote a paragraph reply to you and I think it disappeared but I was living overseas in the early 70’s (with no TV) and there was very little TV where I was staying when I got back late 1975 so I just wasn’t around to follow the story. I can’t remember when I did become aware of him but I just know that some of my reckless behavior in the 80’s, I would never repeat in today’s world. Even after Bundy it was not unusual for people to go off with strangers. I must have had an angel watching over me. Also, I didn’t realize there are so many running around today and very scary to realize that they have gotten smarter and we are not catching them with all our advanced technology. As someone was saying, I wouldn’t be opposed to a national data base of DNA…how invasive to our privacy could that be compared to what we go through with travel and all the tape recording thanks to the Patriot Act? Seems like what I see more of on TV now is people killing other people for money and so forth. I don’t remember hearing about that back then although I’m sure it’s nothing really new. You made some interesting comments about the difference between psychopath and sociopath. Did you watch the Dexter series? Whatever misses in the story, I still found that extremely compelling and fascinating but I don’t think real life serial killers are living within a code like he did. The doctor said he was a psychopath but he didn’t really fit the profile. I suppose it was all a fantasy and just appeals to our sense of justice seeing that the guilty were getting their just dessert. I wish it didn’t end the way it did. It is terrible to think that today’s killers learned a lot about murder from the Bundy monster.

        • Jagdar

          I suspect there are many women my age, including me, who were careless in trusting others when we were young. Looking back, I am quite sure some figurative guardian angel/luck was watching my back.

    • Crystal

      I only watch the ID channel. Nothing else ever – it can give some great informative insight on the minds of a killer, rapist, child milestone, or any type of predator. The more knowledge you have with you, the more aware you are and the more you are able to protect yourself and/or loved ones.

  • donji

    Ted was offered life without parole for 3 of the florida murders thank God he turned it down!

  • AlexisKlatt

    It was once thought that a rough childhood creates criminals, however scientists are now learning sociopathy & psychopathy are genetic.

    • Patty Graybeal Hinten

      Some of it could be genetics, some a person’s surroundings. Read “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout, PhD. Very interesting reading.

      • AlexisKlatt

        When was this book written? It is just now the experts in the field are find out it was more genetic than anyone ever realized.

        I do know of adults who were once horrifically abused as children who turned out to be altruistic because they can feel another’s pain because of what they’ve been through. So it’s looking more & more like the sword cuts both ways.

        But thank you for your suggestion. I shall check out this non-fiction book.

        • Kimmy Shepard

          I believe it is mainly genetic as well, but cruel and unusual environments growing up help to fuel such actions and behaviors.

          • AlexisKlatt

            I was an abused child but I turned altruistic because I can now feel the pain & suffering of others, keenly, having been there.

            Jeffrey Dalmer led a pretty good life at home with his doting parents who still have a hard time believing their son was as bad as he was.

            Being a retired dog trainer & working in the field of dog genetics, I can tell you for a fact that it is nearly ALL genetics & training only modifies the genes that are already present. For example training an unstable-temperamented dog for guard/protection or simply as a family pet, creates a loose cannon, ready to go off at any time when the right situation presents itself.

          • stevie70

            Dahmer’s parents sent him to live with his grandma since they couldn’t handle his drinking and anger and she was the only relative he cared for….the grandma kicked him out too since he kept bringing home underage boys and the house had a “bad odor”…..too bad they didn’t send him to a place to get help around age 12 when he started dissecting the neighbors pets

          • Lafayette Hubbard

            I think he was an adult then, after he got out of the Army, if I’m remembering correctly. I thought it was noteworthy that his parents moved to another state when he was in high school, leaving him behind by himself. Always thought the family had some dark stuff brewing under the surface..

          • Aleksandra Mi

            You can’t compare your trauma to the trauma of other child because it is a very individual thing! Genes can only make a person predisposed to certain behaviours, they do not determine them. For example, genes can make a child more sensitive and it has been shown that the same gene that makes a child violent in unhealthy family settings will make another child more peaceful then average in healthy family settings.
            The research shows that genes switch on or off depending on environment starting in the utero, for example depending on mother’s stress and the brain constantly changes due to experiences. To think that environment has little to do with child’s outcome is just irrational. Children constantly learn, their brains are mostly shaped by the type of care they receive.
            Just because you became empathetic due to your childhood trauma (which happens often) doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen for another child. Many factors come into play, not just type of abuse /neglect but attitude of caregivers, type of attachment, whether the child had at least one person who they could turn, to, family dynamic and so on. You might have experienced the same type of trauma as someone else but the circumstances surrounding it might have been totally different.
            Psychopaths and cold blooded killers are very empathetic too, they (because of their abuse) can understand emotions of other people very well and are obsessed with studying others. What they lack is emotional empathy -they do not get emotionally involved in situations of others. They have no compassion, usually because they shut down their emotions to protect themselves from trauma. Those children usually had a caregiver who intimidated them and shamed them for their vulnerability or for some reasons they choosed to identify with abuser and not with abused -themselves. Generally abused women are more likely to identify with a victim and fail to protect themselves as adults but men often identify with abuser and seek to do to others what has been done to them. So there is even gender predisposition but not determination. Healthy men do not abuse others!
            Genes on it’s own do not make people become serial killer. Period.

          • Elaine Higgins

            Excellent analysis. Thank you.

          • Lafayette Hubbard

            I’m sorry to hear awful stuff happened to you, and impressed that you’ve processed it and made your life about something better. Good on you.

          • Deborah A. Davis

            very true.

        • Deborah A. Davis

          severe emotional or sexual abuse as a child can cause schzophrenia, but a true sociopath or psycopath is genetically linked from the get go.

          • ANK

            Many horribly abused children went into “helping positions & careers” because they wanted to make a difference in the world., wishing to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem

          • Aleksandra Mi

            What most people don’t understand is that the only thing abused children have in common is this – abuse. They differ in genetic predisposition, personality, family dynamic, attachment, caregivers attitudes, type of care they received from community, extended family, school, level of intelect. Every situation is different and sometimes nuances make a big difference in the outcome of particular child. One small fact can influence the type of defence mechanisms the child will adapt.

          • Deborah A. Davis

            Very true ANK, but Bundy was unable to control the impulse to kill, he was very very sick individual, he was a sociopath, a psycopath and on and on.

          • Aleksandra Mi

            False. There is no gene that makes someone a psychopath. There is genetic predisposition. A person raised in healthy environment will turn out well even with the gene. They might not be as feely touchy as some and mighty take more risks but they will be fine. Generally our society has very unhealthy practices towards children and very little support for parents. I don’t know anyone who was raised in a healthy family setting.
            Interestingly the same genetic predisposition can have opposite effect depending on environment.
            Research shows that children with the same gene turn out more violent then average when raised in unhealthy environment but more gentle then average in healthy environment.
            I’m really fed up with this genetic determination dogma. It only exist so we don’t have to look at the sick structure of society that makes people sick and just drug people instead.

          • Jagdar

            Much of what I have been reading here is consistent with my own suspicions – psychopathy and mental illness are a combination of genetics and environment. I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. In fact, it is highly possible that one without the other would not result in such a deranged person as Bundy.

          • Sheri Bri

            SMART RESPONSE! Finally a good post!

          • Ariana Wade

            You are spot on. Acting like this is purely genetic takes the responsibility off of the individual and therefore the community structure. I married a verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive guy and was with him for 6 and a half years. He said he would murder me if I ever left. I await the day now. Anyway, my oldest son was 2.5 years old when I left. Well, he was a ball of perfect bright light and radiance when he was born, but by the time I left, he was violent, hostile, suicidal, depressed, and antisocial at three years old. Well, his dad was only seeing him nine hours a week so I was able to get him into some serious therapy and he really turned around. I was horrified that I could see him following his genetic predisposition of psychopathy due to his crappy environmental start on life. Now, his father sees him about 40% of the time and screws with his head. So, I am seeing all the signs of psychopathy again. He talks about killing people when he’s mad. When he’s calm, he’s empathetic. The courts do nothing to protect children, so the cycle repeats. Furthermore, my ex’s father is fighting prison time for raping nine women when he worked as an officer in the jails. Go figure.

          • Jagdar

            I thought schizophrenia was mostly a genetic thing.

          • Deborah A. Davis

            Jagdar, its both, in my clinic and studies, we see girls who were raped consistently from a young age and they develop Schizophrenia, its the mind’s way of coping with the pain, however Bundy’s mother and grandfather had psychiatric issues as well, being a sociopath does run in families and they should not reproduce, very dangerous, no one knows who’s bundy’s father really is either, some say maybe his grandfather who was abusive.

          • Elaine Higgins

            Please don’t tell me you have a clinic. You have the audacity to suggest who should not reproduce! Also, I find it difficult to consider anything in your post seriously because your writing skills are remarkably poor.

          • capn_saveahoe

            I’m not understanding why suggesting sociopaths should not reproduce is a problem. A. They may pass on bad genes. B. They will quite likely pass on toxic interpersonal dynamics. Why in the world would you ever want either? Oh, I know… It’s because we are all programmed to believe that reproduction is something that just can’t be touched. I say sterilize every last one of those bastards.

          • Lafayette Hubbard

            Your ignorance about mental health is astounding. You should read more. What about people with depression? Should they be sterilized? Or, as in your case, what about people with sucky personalities?

          • Cindy Lynn Pederson

            Why is it there always has to be someone ignorant like yourself to join in and think you can attack others by their own comments. Is it jealously I wonder. Or is it wanting your comment to be the spotlight? Maybe you need help yourself.

          • Cindy Lynn Pederson

            And who cares about writing skills . For heavens sake this isn’t English class. Get a life!

          • Cindy Lynn Pederson

            Also no if the genes are there people absolutely shouldnt reproduce. Thats a given. You pass your genes to the children and so on and so on. My brother is a sociopath and I endured years of abuse by him and let me tell you lady its not a gene that can be controlled by a doctor or anyone else.

          • Lafayette Hubbard

            So have you been sterilized, or is that just for other people with “bad” genes? Ridiculous.

          • Lafayette Hubbard

            And then you do the thing you’re attacking someone else for doing.

          • Lafayette Hubbard

            The grandfather also killed animals, a marker of serial killers. I have to differ with your statement that early sexual abuse can lead to schizophrenia, which is associated with chemical imbalances in the brain. I’ve never read that and don’t know how it would be determined, since, as you say, schizophrenia is a genetic disorder. Do you have links to research I could read?

          • Lafayette Hubbard

            It is. People on this thread seem to be using it as a catch-all term. We don’t know if Bundy was schizophrenic or not; I doubt it. He is more like in the personality disorder category rather than psychotic, but it would taka a professional diagnosis to know, and that field, especially with regard to serial killers in general is always evolving. There are very strong indications that Bundy’s crimes were highly compulsive. But it’s not just one issue in his case, it’s complex.

          • Lafayette Hubbard

            Actually there’s zero link between psychosis and early trauma. Trama can cause lots of problems, like detachment or violent tendencies, etc. but people with schizophrenia aren’t even usually violent or aggressive. Hollywood has left it’s mark on our understanding of mental health issues and it often causes misunderstandings and mistrust.

    • ThePhoenixRises

      Since I’ve been banned from Charisma for the crime of exposing heresy I can’t reply to you there, so here is y reply to your post:

      “The truth is out there. You just need to dig for it as buried treasure.
      It is only revealed to those who have the qualities Jehovah wants in
      his New System of things. To the all the rest it is hidden.”

      That is gnosticism, and a heresy. Sorry, your arguments fail the logic test.

      • ANK

        It works for me & over 8 million of us. How’s it working for you?

    • Ella


    • Deborah A. Davis

      Totally correct ANK, right on the money, it is genetic alright, many diseases are including ADHD and so so many more. People need to do the research and understand this.

      • ANK

        And psychopaths are reproducing faster than any other group What does this tell us about the future???

        • Jagdar

          Um, we will know beginning January 21, when Trump is inaugurated. I do believe he is narcissistic and also pyschopathic.

          • Deborah A. Davis

            that is ridiculous, he has many good qualities he is not a killer, having a slightly selfish disposition does not matter.

          • Lafayette Hubbard

            Wonder if you’re rethinking that now.

          • Mary Avery

            Yep, you were correct.

        • Deborah A. Davis

          Scary ANK very scary that is why the world is getting worse and worse, they should not reproduce, like Bundy was smart and educated but he was unable to control his impulse to kill, he just could not do it, he had to be destroyed and while he was in Colorado in custody he asked a detective, “where do they have the death penalty?” He was told Florida and that is where he went last, to destroy the part of him that was evil and he could not control.

        • Nathan

          That couldn’t possibly be true.

    • Joy Weeks

      rejection and overwhlemingly, the feeling of not being wanted, begins the unhealthy and vicious cycle of acting out. He had an addiction that he was feeding.

  • Betty Echols

    In reference to the genetic disposition of criminals, I saw a study where a rapists son, who knew nothing of his paternity status, turned out to be a rapist himself.

    • kanis

      I agree. For example – my mom is very fearful person and so am I. In other words genetic matters.

      • Deborah A. Davis

        genetics matter alot.

    • Deborah A. Davis

      very true, psycopathic tendencies and sociopathic which is a milder form of psycopathic does run in the family, envirnmental also plays a role if the individual has a pre disposition toward the disease.

  • Ester Yates

    Ted,did some awful things in his life.To bad to even mention.How ever we have a loving forgiven God.Before Ted died he ask for be forgiven,and i true God forgave him.What a awesome God we have,

    • Sandie Gray

      umm…are you related to Andrea Yates?

      • Yeah, I’m wondering the same thing, sounds like her. I’m a little late to the opinion poll because I didn’t know there was one. I guess he could be forgiven, that’s up to God, if the chair was painful enough to make up for all the bad that he has done wrong, I don’t know how that works with God when someone has killed a bunch of people. I don’t know how bad it would hurt to be electricuted, I haven’t ever meet anyone that has been in that type of a situation. I didn’t know that Ted Bundy was a saved Christian, I always thought he was some sort of devil worshipper. Wonder if he got baptized in prison to??

        • Sandie Gray

          It is interesting to say the least….and now that you bring up good questions this time later warrants some additional investigation.

        • Jagdar

          That is assuming there is a God, of course. I”m not so sure there is.

    • So, if me and some people go knock over a Piggly wiggly and take out a few people It’s ok as long as everyone asks to be forgiven? Well heck, that’s easy, what are we all waiting on???

    • Chainsaw69

      You need help as much as Ted and his dumbass mom/sister.

    • Ann Brown

      How convenient.

  • Jane rousseau

    Fascinating….. a Mother’s love knows no bounds. How devestated she must have been. Back in those days mental illness wasn’t spoken of openly as it is today. Seems as though he started out young and it manifested throughout the years into what we all now know it became. I think alot of people prefer to pretend there is no problem and hope it goes away, sadly we know that rarely happens.

    • Juliana

      I don’t think Ted Bundy has ever been classified with a mental illness. He’s a psychopath which is a mental disorder that can’t be treated and it’s far different than a mental illness which can be treated. Maybe you have them confused.

      • Jhona Huntington

        Very true. Psychopathy falls under anti-social personality disorder. There are no known cures for this and therapy will not give people with this disorder empathy. It is believed to take hold at very early ages of development.

        • kanis

          Remember people not every psychopath is a killer. There are plenty of people without empathy making career.

          • Jhona Huntington

            True. There are sociopaths like Bernie Madoff who had a career and only killed people financially, which in turn led to many suicides. Not all with antisocial personalities are violent, which is actually rare, but there is a prevailing indifference to the needs and rights of others.

          • Faron

            Psychopaths should be exterminated. They have been the root cause of evil since the dawn of man. If we just let them function, we might as well prepare for the great mass murder in the vein of the Holocaust. At that point, innocents are going to be the ones that suffer- as always.

          • orderof9able .

            I’m a psychopath. Exterminate me? We own you. I’m a good person, but in light of what you said, you will be exterminated one day. Good people are abused and develop psychotic tendencies. Your lack of love breeds this. Watch your back, and who you rub the wrong way. We are everywhere.

          • Goonerville Gonad

            You’re not a psychopath, you’re just an arsehole who seeks attention.

          • orderof9able .

            I’m glad you think that, dumbass.

          • tham

            Con artists are all sociopaths, whether street types or Wall Street shakers. Lots of them around actually. I wonder what percentage of the population could be classed as sociopaths. I consider psychopaths to be different animals.

          • capn_saveahoe

            Well, you would be right. Psychopaths and Sociopaths ARE in fact completely different animals. Some of their behaviors intersect, but the psychological mechanics behind them are vastly different.

      • Lafayette Hubbard

        There’s plenty of evidence of mental disturbance in Ted Bundy and likewise someone can be psychopath and never break a law. It’s highly represented among CEOs of large corporations, for instance. Ted Bundy bit his victims, raped them and then usually bludgeoned the to death. There was evidence that he liked having intercourse with them after they were dead, and that he return to the corpse to style their hair, etc. He probably was a psychopath, but It’s not going far out on a limb to say there was more gong on than just a lack of empathy.

    • Sandie Gray

      I agree, denial isn’t as accepted today as an excuse like it used to be. Now it seems like just plain ignorance if you cannot see the truth even if it is your own child.

    • kimberly ann goodhall

      yeah right no boundaries only one, where she wouldn’t tell him who his BIOLOGICAL FATHER REALLY is!! funny nobody has figured it out yet . dna if any exists , test it x then compare it, compare TED’S dna to GEORGE h w bush

  • Juliana

    I have 2 sons and no matter what they did I would never stop loving them, guilty or not of a heinous crime. I understand her love for her son but don’t understand her denial. I know if either of my son’s were convicted I’d believe they were guilty but would still love them. She just went too far with her denial of what her monster son did.

  • JFK

    I believe there is more of nature than nurture in pathological killers. I’ve seen too many examples of children raised in identical circumstances, yet, one turns out to be a functioning adult, and the other pursues a life of crime and dysfunction. We spend our MOST formative time in utero – I think that sampling amniotic fluid and storing it for future study should be required, along with a national DNA registry for all citizens. Too many criminals are walking away scot-free because their DNA has never been captured by law enforcement. A national registry would make it impossible for that to happen at very little cost in terms of personal liberty.

    • Ella

      I completely disagree, people aren’t ‘born’ sociopaths or serial killers. There are many functioning adults who were raised in similar circumstances, but that doesn’t mean they are totally normal and unaffected by what they suffered. Not to mention there are also many functioning adults that just happen to be sociopaths, that never commit a murder, but also hold no empathy.

      If you were going to argue that point of view, then you should rather argue that there are people like this born from NORMAL families, and LOVING homes, but I don’t know if there are. I hold a belief that no one is predisposed to that sort of thing, and that under the right care anyone can become a normal functioning and empathetic adult.

      • HoyesMiGente

        But there are anomalies. And inexplicables, And yes, some born with something n their brains that allows them to become these monstrous killers. IIt behooves us to accept that there are some very mentally sick people who are not redeemable of their fetish’s or aberrant, abnormal behavior.

      • Faron

        I’m afraid that’s not true. I’ve personally known many psychopaths and they are not human. Many of them had normal families.

        • T3hWhiteHorse

          Circumstances evidence is the worst kind of evidence. Of course all things are a combination of genetics and environment.

      • Deborah A. Davis

        That is incorrect Ella, Psycopaths and Sociopath’s are born that way, it is genetically linked, his grandfather who is probably his real father that raped his mother, that is a no no can cause mental problems and his grandfather was a violent man who looked at pron as well, Envirnmental factors can make it worse, but believe me its in the genes.

        • Ella

          Do you have a source for what you are saying?

          • Deborah A. Davis

            Honey I have a Masters degree in Health Care and I have done much research on genetics and any peer reviewed psychology journal will have the answers to your questions. Of course genetics is involved and envirnment also plays a role as you know, but many doctors believe it is genetic and then envirnmental, Ella Bundy grandfather may have inpregnated his mother, research has shown that close relatives having offspring there is genetic and psychiatric defects. Bundy had collected knives and put them around his aunt when he was a child 3 years old, very odd behavior for that age and he abused pets. His biological father/grandfather had mental illness as did his grandmother. It usually runs in the family, that is why if i was raped by a serial killer, I don’t think i could have the baby, it would drive me crazy, worrying about him or her later in life. Female’s are much less likely to have psycopathic or sociopathic tendencies like bundy had, it is genetic. Do the research i have to get ready for work.

          • Sheri Bri

            A masters degree forgot to teach you how to spell. Take note…..ENVIRONMENT AND PSYCHOPATHIC.
            I disagree. It is not all genetic. Do the research.

          • capn_saveahoe

            I’m pretty sure pshychopathy and sociopathy ARE genetic. Whether that person will develop into a criminal is the part that seems to be influenced by environment.

  • Paul Strutzenberg

    Just finished watching and man did they get a good actor! Not that he looked anything like Bundy but he had the creepiness factor times a THOUSAND!

  • Cherie Hancock

    I always loved Ted Bundy I find serial killers really interesting

  • jackichin03

    Your first choice crimefeed.. >

    ……………….. Find Get More </b

  • temanaadrius

    I guess being lied to about one’s parents might lead to being a troublemaker of sorts, perhaps.

    • stevie70

      Jack Nicholson, Bobby Darin and Eric Clapton all grew up thinking the mother was their sister since they were born out of wedlock so their grandparents raised them….they didn’t turn into serial killers

      • Deborah A. Davis

        great point steve, so its genetic.

  • Kathy Kelly

    Interesting about the knife incident at age 3.

  • truthspeakerz

    ted wasn’t the only one in his family that was nuts his cousin al was crazy to he had that beautiful redhead and barely touched her.

  • Michele

    Hi, I have long suspected that I came in contact with Ted Bundy at a VA KOA campground in 1972. That summer we went to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach and stayed at a KOA in each area. I was 13 at the time, had brown hair parted down the middle and I believe my contact with him occurred at the KOA in Williamsburg. There was an activities building on the premises and there was music and dancing on the second floor on the night I saw him. He was by the top of the stairs and I was getting ready to go down them when he approached me. He had a sling on his arm and he spoke with an accent. I could not really understand him, but I followed him outside when he motioned for me to do so when we got to the bottom of the stairs. I knew that he was older, I was obviously naïve and I was just trying to communicate with him as he seemed to be in some sort of distress. Before I knew it, he was taking my hand and pulling me into an area that was hidden by trees, but still close to the walkway. He continued to hold my hand/arm close to my side and he leaned in to kiss me. This of course was very odd to me and as I recall his breathing was very intense, his eyes were blank, yet piercing and his body was very stiff. Before I had a chance to even react to him, I heard my sister yelling for me, I turned my head in response, he let go of my hand and when I turned back to him, he was already gone and no longer in sight. I am guessing he slipped further into the woods of which he must have been familiar with. I realized very quickly that it could have gone very badly. I was grateful my older sister was looking out for me and i knew I would be way more careful moving forward. I didn’t really give it any more thought other than letting the memory of it serve as a reminder to me of what not to do. That is until the story of Ted Bundy emerged in the news. I knew instantly that he was the same person that I came in contact with all those years ago. Same hair, same eyes, same MO….there is no doubt in my mind! I have considered contacting someone regarding this matter as I am sure there are other victims from other states out there, but I never new where to begin. I am not sure if anything will come of my post today, but I felt compelled to finally share my story..

    • Deborah A. Davis


    • tham

      You could certainly reconstruct his timeline. You might be able to confirm or refute the possibility he was in the area at the time you were.

    • Midna Supora Mcellion

      That’s pretty amazing, thanks for sharing! What a twist!!!

    • Raeb22

      Thank you for sharing…

    • Tavishi Sharma

      wow it’s amazing how god works in different ways..

      • Pamela Valemont

        Well, unfortunately, God did not work to save the many Bundy killed, now did he?

        • Dana W

          They never mention that part.

        • Nathan

          Blame God for free will then because Bundy is the only one responsible.

          • Sharli

            It’s funny how you give “credit” to god for the good things but when something bad happens its because “free will” and we can’t blame god anymore.

            It is simply wrong place wrong time for the victims and good timing for the survivors.

          • Lafayette Hubbard


          • Nathan

            Like I said, you can blame God for free will, but not anyone’s actions. We get the credit for both good things and bad things that we do.

        • Lafayette Hubbard

          Right? I always think that when I hear how angels or god saved someone. It’s so self-important to say that god saved you when many others didn’t make it. Kind of like being fine with millions of souls burning in eternal torment because they didn’t realize something or say the right words when they were alive.

      • Dee Mellott


    • Mario Sanchez

      Curious if during your encounter you noticed the smell of alcohol on the man who accosted you? Given the chance that at 13 you may’ve not known or been familiar with the odor of alcohol when it’s coming off of a human maybe you realized that at a later time, if ever. I bring this up as Bundy had in interviews spoken of the need for alcohol’s ability to dull his inhibitions and that it made it easier for him to fully appear to his intended victims and or possible witnesses that he was what he was pretending to be. It made the “acting” aspect easier.

    • Nathan

      But the cast is only part of the ruse, he should have something he needed your help with.

  • Tory

    It’s ok to love your child unconditionally but to be in denial about your son being a murderous psychopath when their is overwhelming evidence is just plain old stupid.

    • Jagdar

      Not stupid. Psychologically blocked, because of an inability to deal with pain.

  • Samtian

    So how long did he grow up thinking his mom was his sister? Until he was 5? And at 5 he knew how to feel ashamed about his stepfathers salary?

    • CherDash

      He was in college. He found out about the same time his girlfriend broke up with him. I think the combination of those two things put him over the edge.

  • Michelle Lizzette

    I am so confused. Many stories state he didn’t realize his mother was his sister until a teenager. How can that be if his mother took him and raised him from age 3 and her new husband adopted him. He would’ve lived life from age 3 calling his mother “mom”, so how would him finding out his mother is his mother in his teen years affect him.

  • Joni Day

    He had an awful childhood with the worst role models, and he was born in Shame. His mother never had a good relationship with him.

  • Wubbsy

    Honestly, I don’t think it would matter exactly whom they were to him. He believed that his grandparents were his birth parents, and that his mother was his sister. Confusion aside, he still had the equivalent of parents, and I personally wouldn’t be that bothered to find out such a thing were true, if it were. I’d think that exposure to somebody who did the things that Samuel did, plus the fact that not all of his own lights were on that should have been were more to blame.