Net­flix film re­veals charm­less Bundy

USA TODAY US Edition - - LIFE - Erin Jensen

Spoiler alert: This story con­tains de­tails from Net­flix’s “Con­ver­sa­tions with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.”

Net­flix is pre­sent­ing a new type of Ted talk.

The stream­ing ser­vice dropped “Con­ver­sa­tions with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” Thurs­day, 30 years to the day af­ter the man, who took credit for slay­ing dozens in the ’70s, died in the elec­tric chair at Florida State Prison. Bundy also ad­mit­ted to de­cap­i­tat­ing his vic­tims and to necrophili­a.

The four-part do­cuseries fea­tures au­dio from con­ver­sa­tions with Bundy be­hind bars, and from jour­nal­ists Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth and oth­ers. Pre­sum­ably, it is the per­fect primer to “Ex­tremely Wicked, Shock­ingly Evil and Vile,” the fea­ture film in which Zac Efron em­bod­ies the killer, which pre­miered at the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val.

Here are a few things we learned.

A child­hood friend said he set traps, and hurt a lit­tle girl

While Bundy in­sists on the tapes he “never lacked play­mates,” Sandi Holt, la­beled a child­hood friend, says, “He just didn’t fit in.”

“He had a horrible speech im­ped­i­ment, so he was teased a lot,” she said.

“He had a tem­per. He liked to scare peo­ple,” Holt con­tin­ued, adding Bundy liked to build what she re­ferred to as “tiger traps,” a pit with pointed stakes dis­guised with veg­e­ta­tion. “One lit­tle girl went over the top of one of Ted’s tiger traps,” Holt re­called, “and got the whole side of her leg slit open with the sharp­ened point of the stick that she landed on.”

Re­mem­ber­ing Bundy’s high school years, Holt said, “He tried to fool you and lie to you” and re­called him spend­ing time alone and not dat­ing.

As Bundy ex­plained, “It wasn’t that I dis­liked women or were afraid of them, it was just that I didn’t seem to have an inkling as to what to do about them.”

He nearly killed him­self be­fore his ex­e­cu­tion

Bundy con­fessed to com­mit­ting an es­ti­mated 30 mur­ders to Bill Hag­maier, an FBI spe­cial agent, span­ning seven states, on Jan. 22, 1989.

The fol­low­ing day, as peo­ple gath­ered out­side cel­e­brat­ing Bundy’s im­pend­ing death, Hag­maier said Bundy threat­ened to kill him­self with a writ­ing pen.

“At some point that day, Ted tells me that he’s not gonna sit in a chair,” he re­called, “and I said, ‘Well, what are you gonna do?’ He said, ‘I’m gonna die right here.’

“And he was sit­ting across from me, and he had a pen,” Hag­maier con­tin­ued, “and he said, ‘I can stick this so far up my artery it’ll squirt in your face. And I’ll be drained be­fore any­body even gets here.’ And, I said, ‘Is that what you want to do?’ And he says, ‘ I’m not gonna let them kill me.’ ”

Hag­maier ques­tioned Bundy, who was tot­ing the Bi­ble at the time, as to whether he should “push the en­ve­lope” with any higher form that might be judg­ing him at the end of his life.

“And he just looked at me and said, ‘You got me again,’ ” said Hag­maier. “And so then he prayed some, and I prayed with him.”

Bundy died the next day at age 42.

Bundy seem­ingly thought killing would bring him ful­fill­ment

Bundy propo­si­tioned jour­nal­ists with in­ter­views, in­clud­ing the re­quire­ment that his cases would be re-ex­am­ined so he could be proven in­no­cent. To get Bundy to open up, Michaud came up with the idea of us­ing the third per­son, po­si­tion­ing him as an “ex­pert wit­ness,” in­stead of a crim­i­nal.

“Well, it’s not an easy ques­tion, but I think we can spec­u­late,” Bundy an­swered when asked who could have done these things. “We can gen­er­ally de­scribe man­i­fes­ta­tions of this con­di­tion of this per­son’s be­ing skewed to­ward mat­ters of a sex­ual na­ture that in­volve vi­o­lence.”

“Per­haps this per­son hoped that through vi­o­lence, through this vi­o­lent se­ries of acts, if with ev­ery mur­der leav­ing a per­son of this type hun­gry ... Un­ful­filled. Would also leave him with the ob­vi­ously ir­ra­tional be­lief that if the next time he did it he would be ful­filled,” Bundy said.

Bundy said the per­son started “con­nect­ing naked women with vi­o­lence.”

“The in­ter­est (in pornog­ra­phy) be­comes skewed to­ward a more spe­cial­ized lit­er­a­ture, some of it pretty grotesque, which would pre­oc­cupy him more and more,” Bundy said.

When asked when the per­son first acted out, Bundy replied: “It would reach a point where the anger, the frus­tra­tion, the anx­i­ety, the poor self-im­age, feel­ing cheated, wronged, in­se­cure. He de­cides upon young at­trac­tive women be­ing his vic­tims.”

He was a mas­ter of de­ceit

The man who lured one vic­tim in by pos­ing as a po­lice of­fi­cer had many tricks up his sleeve.

Bundy de­layed a court ap­pear­ance by stuff­ing his cell lock with toi­let pa­per.

“He was dif­fer­ent, and he was smart, and he was a chal­lenge to the best,” for­mer Leon County Sher­iff Ken Kat­saris re­mem­bered.

Bundy also passed days on death row with the help of drugs. “His wife Ca­role (Ann Boone) would take drugs into Ted vagi­nally, and then he would take the drugs back to his cell rec­tally,” said Michaud.

“I smoke a lot of weed, and I have never in my life been so (ex­ple­tive) up,” Bundy said. “I don’t like the dope that just gets you mildly giddy. When I smoke dope, I like to hal­lu­ci­nate a lit­tle bit.”

He felt no guilt for his trans­gres­sions

Af­ter Bundy was found guilty in 1980 of the mur­der of 12-year-old Kim­berly Leach, he re­fused to be af­fected by his ac­tions. He was con­victed in the deaths of Florida State Univer­sity stu­dents Mar­garet Bow­man and Lisa Levy the pre­vi­ous year.

“I don’t feel guilty for any of it,” Bundy shared. “I feel less guilty now than I’ve felt at any time in my whole life. About any­thing. I mean re­ally.

“And it’s not that I’ve for­got­ten any­thing or I’ve closed down part of my mind or com­part­men­tal­ized,” he added. “I be­lieve I un­der­stand every­thing that I’ve done.”

“I am in the en­vi­able po­si­tion of not hav­ing to feel any guilt. And that’s it,” he protested. “Guilt is this mech­a­nism we use to con­trol peo­ple. It’s an il­lu­sion. It’s this kind of so­cial con­trol mech­a­nism and it’s very un­healthy.”


Ted Bundy took credit for killing dozens of peo­ple in the 1970s.

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