Monsters within our society come in many forms and are caused, or created, through numerous means. One such monster was a man known as “Ted” Bundy who blamed pornography as the primary cause of his monster behavior. Monster theory lists seven possible theses for classifying “monsters”, both fictional and real, ranging in abilities and social influence. Due to Bundy’s assigning of blame for his crimes to pornography, Bundy is best associated with Monster Thesis #1: The Monsters Body is a Cultural Body. Bundy’s blamed our current cultures obsession with sex, and therefore it’s prolific production of pornographic material, as the catalyst which created his desire to commit his crimes. The following paragraphs explore Bundy’s life, crimes, and demise.
Theodore “Ted” Bundy was born November 24, 1946 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to an unwed mother and raised by his grandparents, who for a good portion of his life, Bundy thought were his actual parents. As a high school student he was well known and well liked although not an extremely social person. Research on serial killers has found that “during their teenage years, the majority of serial killers avoided social events, such as parties, which did not let them experiment with sexual activities among their peers” (True Crime Magazine 1)and, like Bundy, causes serial killers to look for other forms of sexual gratification. He is described as having one long term relationship which he ended abruptly. Bundy attended several colleges and eventually law school. While in law school Bundy “was the assistant director of the Seattle Crime Prevention Advisory Commission and wrote a pamphlet for women on rape prevention” (Wikipedia). Some would say, Bundy had studied his “craft” as serial rapist and murderer for quite some time.
Bundy managed to elude suspicion and capture for more than twenty years. Once in custody, Bundy “confessed to thirty homicides, but the true total remains unknown” (Wikipedia). There are those who believe that Bundy may have killed a hundred or more women. While in prison he continued to elude to killings for years and there are numerous unsolved murders which took place between 1967 and 1989 in the Pacific Northwest that can easily be attributed to Bundy. Bundy was “a good looking, intelligent law student, who learned to lure women into his car by various forms of deception” (The Monsters Among Us Blog 5). Bundy’s victims, all women, ranging in age from their late twenties to as young as twelve, were brutally murdered and raped. Most were “picked up” in restaurants and bars, but as the years went on and Bundy became bolder and more confident in his abilities, several were kidnapped directly from their homes. Most were dumped or buried in rural forest settings shortly after capture, with others kept and raped after death, and a smaller number beheaded with their heads and other body parts kept as trophies.
Sexually explicit material is readily available, though numerous, easily accessible means, within our society. With regard to the general population as a whole, many people believe that “sexual materials can precipitate violent sexual crimes, such as rape” (Donnerstwein 2). The Federal Bureau of Investigation, “reported that serial-rape murderers are commonly found with a large pornography collections” (True Crime Magazine 3)at the time of capture. Although nothing factual has as yet been found, one study states that “research by a number of individuals in the social-psychological area has indicted, that under appropriate conditions, exposure to erotic forms of media presentations can facilitate subsequent aggressive behavior” (Donnerstwein 2). Most serial killers are found to have indulged “in violent and sadistic fantasies with 81 percent of the sexual or serial killers surveyed listing pornography as their primary sexual interest” (True Crime Magazine 2). There is a growing amount of research related to interviews of victims of sexual crimes. One research article, looking at data from a survey of 100 women’s experiences with sexual violence found that “twenty eight percent of respondents reported that their abuser used pornography and that for twelve percent of the women pornography was imitated during the abusive incident” (Kennedy Bergen and Bogle 1). Other studies focus on the finding of police officers during arrests of criminals involved with sexually related crimes. One study found that “75 percent of defendants in violent sex crimes had some kind of hardcore pornographic material in their homes or vehicle” (True Crime Magazine 2)
Ted Bundy granted an interview to psychologist James Dobson on January 24, 1989, just hours before he was executed (The Monsters Among Us Blog 2). Bundy was interviewed while waiting to be brought to the execution room as hundreds of people stood outside chanting for his death. The tape of the interview, “which triggered a seven-hour battle between Dobson and Bundy’s attorneys was to be released only if Bundy’s execution was carried out as scheduled” (Casuso 1). One could infer that Bundy’s attorneys did not what an interview, that seemed so rational, to be released if Bundy received another stay of execution validated by an insanity plea.
During the interview Bundy claimed that it was pornography, and not insanity, which had been his legal defense, that caused him to become a serial killer. Bundy explained that when he “was thirteen years old, he discovered dirty magazines in a dump near his home and was instantly captivated by them” (The Monsters Among Us Blog 2)just as some people become hooked on cigarette’s or heroin after the first “puff” or “shot”. From that point on, Bundy continuously sought to find pornography depicting greater levels of violence and sexual depravity. Bundy claims that pornography was what turned “fantasy to reality” (The Monsters Among Us Blog 2). He was no longer able satisfied with visual images of sexual acts and violence and discovered an overwhelming desire to personally experience the actions he had experienced on only a visual level previously. It is thought that Bundy’s earliest murders took place as early as 1967 when Bundy was just twenty years old. If true, Bundy’s first murder, “encouraged” by his obsession with pornography, was just seven years after finding his first “dirty magazine”. Bundy invited a camera crew to record his last comments before death “because he felt he owed it to society to warn of the dangers of hardcore pornography and to explain how it had led him to murder so many innocent women and girls” (The Monsters Among Us Blog 4).
Despite the fact that Ted Bundy, and other notable serial killers, had a significant interest in pornography most researchers agree “that a relationship between pornography and murder does not prove anything” (True Crime Magazine 6). They explain that pornography in and of itself does not drive a person to commit rape and murder, there must be other underlying factors. The curious part with regard to Ted Bundy is that a dozen or more psychologists could not, in his case, “nail down” that underlying factor. Bundy, by all accounts, was a normal guy from a normal family until, as he states during the final hours of his life, he found his first “dirty magazine”. Still, current statistics show that “over 50 million Americans who are porn consumers may not even guess that, contrary to popular belief, research studies have never shown pornography to cause violence” (Dukes 1). Most pornography consumers simply believe that pornography does not make themselves violent in a sexual manner. In fact, some research related to pornography has “found it to produce a cathartic effect” upon many consumers “and thereby to reduce the amount of sexual assaults” (Kennedy Bergen and Bogle 1). One researcher found that there is a “growing body of research that could support the claim that access to sexually explicit media may be a major factor in reducing sex-related crime” (Dukes 1). The interesting factor with regard to Bundy, and apparently other serial killers, is that, according to their own claims, pornography seems to have had the opposite effect from the majority of society.
Ted Bundy “spent ten years on death row and had won three stays of execution in the past” (Casuso 1)due to his attributing crimes to insanity. On January 24th, 1989, Ted Bundy’s luck ran out and the, serial killer, kidnapper, rapist, burglar, and necrophile was executed in the electric chair in a Florida State Prison (Wikipedia). One state attorney general stated, with regard to Bundy, that “there is not another man like him of his magnitude of killings across the United States” (Casuso 2). Whatever lead Bundy to commit his crimes, be it pornography or insanity, Bundy was truly a monster living among us who raped and killed for over twenty years fueled, by his own admission, by “dirty magazines” and videos, before the internet and Craigslist began providing erotic services at the touch of a button. One can only imagine the monster Bundy might have been, and the proliferation of his crimes, if he had lived during our current electronic age.
Casuso, Jorge. “Bundy Blames Pornography.” The Chicago Tribune. Chicage: The Chicago Tribune, 24 January 1989. Newspaper.
This newspaper article published the day after Ted Bundy’s execution describes the final hours of Bundy’s life, his final appeals, and his final interview just hours before his execution.
Donnerstwein, Edward. “Pornography and Violence Against Women Experimental Studies.” Annals of The New York Academy of Sciences(1980): 277 – 295. Journal Article.
This professional journal article looks at several experimental studies related to the use of pornography and violence against women. It looks at antisocial behavior on the part of those who regularly view pornography, their relationships with women, and their tendencies toward aggression.
Dukes, Catherine. “Pornography and Violence.” Sons, John Wiley and. The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Ltd., 2015. 205 – 125. Encyclopedia.
This encyclopedia article discusses the universal availability of pornography to the public and the links of pornography to violent behavior among a portion of those who view pornography.
Kennedy Bergen, Raquel and Kathleen A. Bogle. “Exploring the Connection Between Pornography and Sexual Violence.” Violence and Victims(2000): 227 – 34. Jourmal.
This article specifically looks at the link between pornography and sexual violence. The researchers interview over one hundred victims of sexual violence and the links between their assailents and pornography.
The Monsters Among Us Blog. https://themonstersamongus.com/ted-bundy-tells-how-pornography-is-what-led-to-him-becoming-a-serial-killer/. 1 July 2016. Web Site. 6 May 2018.
This article is a summary of the final interview of serial killer Ted Bundy. The article is a summary of the transcript of Bundy’s final interview and focuses on Bundy’s statements that pornography led to his string of murders.
True Crime Magazine. http://www.thecrimemag.com/hardcore-pornography-spark-ted-bundys-urge-kill/. 1 January 2017. Web Site. 6 May 2018.
This article looks at the influence pornography had in the crimes committed by Ted Bundy and other serial killers. It assembles a series of quotes by well known serial killers. The quotes are all related to the serial killers thoughts on pornography.
Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Bundy. 3 May 2018. Website. 6 May 2018.
This website article is a summary of the life of Ted Bundy. It discusses all things “Bundy” from his early life to his education, his first crimes, his extended family, his sexual tendencies, his statements about pornography, and his eventual execution.