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Ted Bundy's most apt-and accurate-single-sentence self description was offered not to us but to the group of north Florida cops who interrogated him soon after his final arrest in Pensacola in February of 1978. Said Bundy to the police, "I'm the most cold-blooded son of a bitch you'll ever meet."
Not until he had explicitly confessed to his crimes (at least thirty murders) in the last days of his life did the full meaning of what Ted meant by "cold-blooded" become apparent. Bundy wasn't just a savage killer; he was a degenerate, too. All along there had been evidence that he sometimes mutilated his victims. But the perversity he acknowledged to Bob Keppel and the other investigators went beyond what any of them had ever guessed, or imagined, to be true.
Yet the Ted that we came to know-at his invitation, initially, to act as his investigators and biographers-was also complex, often fascinating to interview, and a consummate gamesman. Besides the sickness of "the entity" he revealed to us, there was also the intelligence, arrogance, and even the charm that made Bundy such a compelling-while at the same time repellent-figure.
In either incarnation, whether Ted was talking about his school days or detailing the essence of victim "possession"-he never seemed to stop striving for a fuller, more comprehensible explanation for who he was and why he had become a killer. The other factor always at play was his innate need to manipulate.
We discovered this at the outset in Bundy's first letter to us, written November 4, 1979, from Florida State Prison. He had been on Death Row there for just over three months after his sentencing in Miami on August 1 for the murder of two sleeping coeds in the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University in Tallahassee on January 15, 1978.
"It's too cold to sleep," he wrote. "It may even be too cold to write. An arctic breeze blows through the broken windows across the hall from my cell, drop-ping the temperature to the point where my breath turns to fog. Who called Florida the sunshine state? He should be in here with me."
Nowhere in the letter did Bundy mention his pleas of innocence except to note that there are "those who wish to accept them unconditionally and to the exclu-sion of all guilt evidence." These people, Ted wrote, were his solace. "As long as I have strong support-ers," he explained, "I have all I can ask for."
Bundy urged us to emphasize the mystery sur-rounding him; he specifically urged us not to search for evidence that he was guiltless as he claimed. "The facts to prove unequivocally that I'm innocent are not there," he informed us.
Bundy didn't get to the point of his letter until two pages later:
"I don't care what you write just so you get it right and just so it sells."
The letter was signed: "Best regards, Ted Bundy." Of the several self-delusions in Ted's letter, the one that irritated us most was his assumption that we, as journalists, were ready to act as his tools.
We had a basic agreement with Ted-already worked out in close consultation with his ardent partisan and soon--to-be-wife, Carole Boone, that we would reinvesti-gate the murder allegations against him, plus interview Bundy at length for any information he might have to help us disengage him as a suspect in any of the two dozen killings he was then accused, or suspected, of having committed.
Because the cases were interrelated, to clear him of one would necessarily clear him of several; maybe all of them. Doubtful as that possibility seemed, the chance that Bundy really was telling the truth-that he was innocent-was sufficient reason to undertake the project. Conversely, we told him and Carole that the evidence of his guilt would be fully investigated, too, and that we would be constrained to share such information with the proper police agencies. His let-ter to us in November, about five months after we'd gone to work, outlined an entirely different under-standing and signaled the impasse we reached with Ted a few months later.
We split the work. Hugh went to the state of Washington, then Oregon, Utah, and Colorado to retrace Bundy's trail and to seek, as we'd agreed, the overlooked-or possibly suppressed-evidence that Carole's dear "Bunny" was an innocent man. Consis-tent with his letter, but contrary to what we'd been promised, Bundy had absolutely nothing to offer-not a thread of exculpatory detail.
Nor did any of the many alternate suspects (Carole's favorite subject) in any of the Bundy murder cases prove viable upon review. The "facts and circumstances which point toward innocence" Bundy mentioned in his letter to us dissolved into nothing, upon close scrutiny.
Meanwhile, I digested what Hugh learned, read over the enormous legal record, and then journeyed to Orlando, Florida, to attend Bundy's January 1980 trial for the murder of twelve-year-old Lake City, Florida, schoolgirl Kimberly Diane Leach. Each day I attended court. Each night in my motel room, I conducted taped interviews with Ted, who spoke from a telephone in the Orange County jail.
He said he could not, at that time, talk about any of the cases against him. That would have to await his return to the Florida State Prison at the end of the trial. Therefore, beginning with our first taped conversation on January 8, 1980, Bundy confined our discussions to general biographical material. We be-gan at the beginning, with Ted's first four years of life in Philadelphia. He remembered those days fondly, recalling his grandfather Samuel Cowell as a mythic figure he adored as a little boy.
Apparently, he was repressing the truth. Seven years later, as part of an attempt to save his life by demonstrating Bundy's insanity, a psychiatrist would characterize Ted's grand-father as an abusive brute and worse.
Posted March 16, 2001
I've studied Bundy for years; I own every book on him; I own every documentary video; and NEVER before, have I gained the real information that I wanted: his own words and his own thoughts! Michaud and Aynesworth have put together their 150 hours of taped conversations w/ Ted into a truly FACINATING book. For once, we get to see what really was inside the most infamous and interesting killer's mind and soul. For me, this is a treat like no other. Upon recieving this book in the mail, I tore open the B&N shipping box and sat down to read. In ONE SITTING it was finished! The authors have left nothing out, and the book is written in interview form. This way, we REALLY get to see what Bundy said. Each entry is dated and timed. All of the talks were CLOSE, very close to the killer's end. There are no holds barred and the questions are straightforward. Bundy's answers are direct as well. I was happy that little of the book's pages are dedicated to the authors thoughts and insights--and 99% of the book's pages are verbatim Q&A interviews. 290-some pages of that is enough to make anyone interested in Bundy or serial murderers in genreal TREASURE this work of art.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 24, 2010
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This book is a very frustrating read to say the least. Expecting a confession, Ted Bundy rambles with his little shenanigan of describing to the two writers, Stephen G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth in the third person in considerable detail what it "would be like" to be a serial killer. This confession of what he was eventually executed for in the electric chair sadly never comes. Ted Bundy was born on November 24, 1946. Bundy murdered numerous young women across the United States between 1974 and 1978. After a decade of vigorous denials, he eventually confessed (although not in this book) to 30 murders, although the actual total remains unknown. Estimates range from 29 to over 100, with the general estimate being 35. Generally, Bundy would bludgeon his victims, then strangle them to death. He also raped almost all his victims and engaged in necrophilia. On January 23, 1989, the night before Bundy was executed at age 42 at Florida State Prison in Starke, Florida, Bundy gave a television interview to James Dobson, head of the Christian organization "Focus on Family" During the interview, Bundy made repeated claims as to the pornographic "roots" of his crimes. He stated that, while pornography did not cause him to commit murder, the consumption of violent pornography helped "shape and mold" his violence into "behavior too terrible to describe." He alleged that he felt that violence in the media, "particularly sexualized violence" sent boys "down the road to being Ted Bundys." In the same interview, Bundy stated: "You are going to kill me, and that will protect society from me. But there are many, many more people who are addicted to pornography, and you are doing nothing about that." Bundy is interviewed in this book for over 150 hours, and throughout the pages denies that he ever killed anyone. Bundy gives a rambling tale of his early school days, his shoplifting, his drinking and feelings of inadequacy because he was a small man, but he points specifically at pornography as the start of all his problems. Interestingly enough, for a "cold-blooded, savage killer" to point at pornography as the start of his problems is supported in a book written by David E. Caton entitled "Overcoming The Addiction to Pornography." Caton supports Bundy's claim by stating: "The moral conscience of man becomes desensitized and seared from the use of pornography. Pictures which at one time were repulsive, obscene and vile become attractive to the porn user as his moral conscious erodes. By viewing soft core pornography, the porn user has opened the door for all wickedness and evil acts to become acceptable to him. The desire for harder porn becomes obsessive as the softer material appears less erotic to the porn user. Most often the porn user escalated his immoral behavior by indulging in hardcore porn, child porn, sadomasochistic porn, satan worship porn, and snuff (actual killing) films. The damage done through this escalation of immoral behavior is irreversible without Jesus Christ. The porn user has now become a prisoner to the spirit of bondage. Such bondage often leads the porn user to act out scenes in pornography, thus raping, molesting and even killing innocent people." Finally, this book, while being a let down because Bundy never admits as to his terrifying deeds, does give you a glimpse into how a human being being could sink into the abysWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 23, 2007
I have been studying serial killers for years. And from all of the interviews and books that I have read, this book was the most thorough and detailed yet!! This book will make it seem like you are there talking to Ted Bundy himself!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 10, 2006
I have always wondered what goes on in a serial killers mind and this book answered a lot those questions. This book really showed how the mind of a mad man works. I never wanted to put the book down. Highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 9, 2010
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Posted June 6, 2009
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