Have you ever wondered about the workings of a serial killer’s mind? What drives a seemingly normal man to commit unspeakable crimes? Are upbringing and frayed social bonds partly to blame? In the case of brutal serial killer Ted Bundy, there were signs of disturbing behavior even at an early age. Psychologist Reverend James Dobson, who interviewed Bundy just before his execution, underscored that violence portrayed in media and pornography played a crucial role.
Born Theodore Robert Cowell, Bundy grew up without his real father. In the mid-1940s, being born out of wedlock, everyone around him was told that his grandparents were his parents. Thus began Bundy’s lifelong resentment for his biological mother for concealing his real parentage, leaving him to track it later on in life. He went around telling people, including a girlfriend, that his stepfather John Bundy was not his real dad.
Bundy’s downward spiral would become pronounced later on. During his high school years, he got arrested for burglary. The would-be serial killer had friends in his school, though he told biographers he opted to be alone during his adolescent years. Bundy had stormy romantic relationships.
In the book Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection authored by John Cacioppo and William Patrick, it was stated that “the lonely often engage in extremes.” The book also mentioned that “unwanted isolation in any form can be disruptive to an organism designed by nature to function in a social setting.”
Reverend Dobson, a staunch anti-pornography advocate, believed and underscored that, beyond the dysfunctional family and failed relationships with women, the negative effects of violence in media plus pornography played a big role in leading Ted Bundy to his murder sprees. Bundy said prior to his execution that he was not blaming pornography, but it did fuel his fantasy life.
In the interview at the Florida State Prison in January 1989, Bundy said that “it happened in stages.” He said that it was like an addiction, craving for something that gives a sense of excitement. Before landing in jail, Bundy had perused materials depicting sexual violence. He became consumed by pornography. He admitted that he raped and killed over 30 girls and women, most of them bludgeoned with sharp things and dismembered, and was suspected of committing 50 murders.
Bundy stated in a somewhat bizarre manner that he had been in prison a long time, and he met a lot of men who were motivated to commit violence just like him. And he revealed that there is this one thing common among serial killers: pornography addiction.
“Every one of them, and without exception, every one of them… was deeply involved with pornography,” he said.
Before being led to the electric chair in January 1989, Bundy deflected blame for all his wrongdoings to many things, including pornography, except himself. Therapist Dr. Albert Ellis is noted for saying that “thinking negative thoughts is a choice we can refuse to make.” Unfortunately in the case of Ted Bundy and other demented minds out there waiting for their next prey, an impaired ability to self-regulate may hinder that.