The world has become fascinated with Ted Bundy, again. Ted Bundy is a man who needs very little introduction, as he is known around the world. He is infamous for his life of crime. It seems like talk of him comes and goes throughout the years, and it is back at full speed. There is a Netflix documentary out about lost tapes that were recorded throughout his trial.
There is also a Hollywood movie about to be released where Zac Efron plays Ted, a movie that has received a lot of backlash. It has been said to romanticize the man and show disrespect to the victims and their families. However, the movie does depict the very real fact that Ted was a charming, intelligent, and likable guy. It was not the typical stereotype that would come to mind when thinking about a guy like Ted.
Since the world is only introduced to people like Ted when they are adults, how they grew up is sometimes a mystery. The world can wonder about the type of childhood they had and if it had any impact on the person they grew to become. This article is going to explore Ted’s childhood and the little-known things that happened and see if there were any signs about what was to come in just a few years.
20 Bundy’s Place Of Birth
It makes sense to start at the very beginning of Ted’s life, and that is the place he was born. Bundy was born in Burlington, Vermont. He was born on November 24, 1946, to Eleanor Louise Cowell, though she was commonly known as Louise). He was born at the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers. This leads everyone to the conclusion that Louise was not married when she gave birth to Ted.
These homes are not so commonly found anymore, as it is much more accepted that a woman can have a baby without a husband or a partner in the picture. Some would say that the very fact that Ted was born at a place like this perhaps already set him up for the life he led.
19 Lonely Childhood
There were many people who grew up around Ted Bundy that would have been shocked when they discovered the truth of who exactly he was. They may think back to the boy they knew and wonder what happened to change how he lived his life.
Those who knew Ted as a little boy often described him as lonely and shy. He never really interacted with other little children on the street and tended to stay to himself. This is never a marker of something sinister at work because there are lots of children who display a solitary personality and prefer the company of themselves to others. They also all turn out to be well-adjusted adults.
18 Five-Fingered Discounts
This early sign may have been a bit harder to distinguish because it is something a lot of adults do when they are young. A lot of successful, well-rounded adults have dabbled in five-finger discounts at some point in their lives. Sometimes it is done with the innocence of a child, who doesn’t understand the concept of purchasing goods. Sometimes it is done as a teen who is going through a rebellious stage.
Bundy also went through a phase where he would shoplift and take things from stores without purchasing. It is hard to say whether this was any indication of the person he would one day become, but it should have raised some eyebrows.
17 Family With Strong Values
We have already mentioned a few of the acts Bundy committed as a young teen, and all would agree they are harmful, but it could have been made worse by the fact that Bundy grew up in a home that had very strong values. Bundy’s family was very religious, which would have its own code of ethics when it comes to appropriate behavior for a person.
A normal person may have felt guilty about committing acts such as what Ted did, but Ted started to slowly shut off the part of his brain that enabled him to feel guilty. This meant that as he started to get away with things, he did them more.
16 Feelings Of Failures
Psychologists have been studying the minds of people like Ted for years now in an attempt to understand how their brains work and what could be a possible cause for their behavior. One of the things that stands out about Ted is that he had constant feelings of failure. There were a number of failed relationships as a teen, and one was with a girl that Ted really loved.
It is possible that all of these feelings of failure are some of the contributing factors that led Ted to becoming the person he was and do the things he did. He was searching for a purpose and something he could do well; unfortunately, it was not the right thing.
15 “Found Fantasy Enjoyable”
When we are talking about a child who is lonely, there is one thing that can be noticed among most of them. They can often be found in a fantasy world. They create a world for themselves where they can be happy and have company. Even though we know how the story ends, Ted started out as a seemingly normal child who was lonely and found fantasy enjoyable.
This would not predict the future, but now that the world knows, we can start to piece together all the signs that we saw when he was young, and it all makes just a bit more sense.
14 What’s A Little Look?
Sometimes there are signs in a person’s childhood that could have alerted people and professionals to the person they may become. It doesn’t always mean they will become a person like Ted was, but it can definitely say that something is not right. When Ted became a teenager, there were some distressing situations that could have been a cry for help.
As a teen, Ted was often caught looking in windows of other people’s houses. Particularly if there was a female who lived at this residence. This may have been brushed off as a curious teenage behavior, but it should not have been. It may have been one of the first signs that something was wrong with Ted.
13 Nature Vs. Nurture
Nature Vs. Nurture has always been a big topic in psychology and it has been applied to almost every person that a psychologist has ever looked at. It is the idea that there are influences that help shape us to be who we are. It is nature, where we are genetically disposed to be a certain way? Or is it nurture, the environment in which we are raised?
Some would argue that Ted was a victim of both — that he was a product of how he grew up plus some mental health concerns that were going on. It is a theory that professionals continue to talk about when it comes to Ted and others like him.
12 Mother Was His Sister
Ted was born in 1946, which seems like a world away, and it was. In 1946, it was considered not OK to have a baby out of wedlock, which is what his mother did. That is why she gave birth at a center for unwed mothers. The negatives did not stop there. When she returned home with baby Ted, there was still worry that there would be talk about the family.
In order to stop this from happening, Ted was raised in a home where his mother was portrayed as his older sister. Anyone looking in thought that Louise was just Ted’s older sister when she was actually his mother.
11 Father’s Identity
We have talked a lot about Ted’s mother, but there has been little mention of who his father was. That is because no one was 100% sure of the identity of his father. His birth certificate stated that a man named Lloyd Marshall was his father. Marshall was a salesman and air force veteran. Louise later claimed that a different man, Jack Worthington, was his father. Worthington was apparently a sailor, but in the height of the investigation, they could find no record of a man with this name
Some family members even thought that Louise’s father, Ted’s grandfather, was actually his father but there have never been any facts or evidence to prove this.
10 Raised By Grandparents
Due to the societal scrutiny surrounding having a child so young and out of wedlock, Ted was raised by his maternal grandparents. Samuel and Eleanor Cowell raised Ted as if he was their own son, in order to help muffle some of the family embarrassment they all felt. This all seems absurd when we think about it now, but we have to remember that Ted was born in the '40s and it was a much different world.
Samuel and Eleanor were very wary of the social stigma that would face them if the world knew that their daughter had a baby out of wedlock, and they were prepared to help hide that by pretending Ted was their son.
9 Heavy Resentment
It is well known that secrets don’t tend to stay buried for long, and Ted eventually did realize who his mother was, and he immediately had some feelings of resentment towards her. He resented the fact that she never talked to him about who his real father was and basically left him to find it all out on his own. He felt betrayed in a sense.
There were a couple of stories about how Ted found out about his lineage; one story is that a cousin showed him his birth certificate, calling him ugly names. Ted told investigators that he found the birth certificate himself when he was young.
8 Loved His Grandparents Deeply
Despite the resentment Ted felt towards his birth mother, he deeply loved his grandparents. In a lot of interviews, Ted would often speak very warmly about his grandparents and always had good things to say. Ted later grew up to be acquaintances with Ann Rule, who was a true-crime writer. He told Rule that he “identified with,” “respected,” and “clung to” his grandfather.
Ted grew up believing that his grandparents were his parents, so it is understandable that he would have a strong bond with them. However, we may discover that it may not have been such a great thing.
7 Is It The Grandfather’s Fault?
Now, we know that Ted was raised by his grandparents, so we must wonder if they had an influence on the person he turned out to be. We know that he was very close with his grandfather and was often seen following him around. This may not have been a good idea, because there are not many reports of his grandfather being a very nice person.
There are reports that his grandfather was not very tolerant of others who did not look or act, like him. There were also a lot of reports that he was not the nicest and kindest person to Ted’s grandmother and animals in the community. All of this is very suspicious and leads people to believe it could have influenced how Ted turned out.
6 Or The Grandma’s?
Well, we now have half of the family story after learning about the kind of person Ted’s grandfather was, but we have heard little about his grandmother. In his own words, Ted described his grandmother as a timid and obedient woman who went through a lot of treatment for depression. This seems understandable when we hear about the man she was married to.
This timid demeanor could have also played a part in how Ted viewed women as he grew up. He definitely had an image of how men and women acted in a relationship. This would fall into the nurture category when discussing where attitudes and behaviors come from.
5 Unnatural Hobbies
Children have all different kinds of hobbies and activities they enjoy, and Ted was no different. He had his own hobbies, but they were nothing like the hobbies of other children of his age. Ted liked to play with certain kitchen utensils, and his aunt described a frightening situation when Ted was only 3 years old. She woke from a nap surrounded by objects placed there by Ted.
This is an example of a situation that would normally encourage a parent to get their child some help if they exhibited this sort of behavior. Ted never got that help, but we must wonder if everything would have turned out differently if he had.
4 Anti-Social Personality Disorder
Most parents would get their child some help if they noticed behavior that was a little ‘off’ or disturbing. They would speak to their doctor who may then refer them to a child psychologist to help figure out what is going on. This never happened for Ted, and it is speculated that as a child he was showing all of the signs for Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD).
ASPD is a mental health condition that is categorized by a blatant disregard for the rights of others. The person will show no empathy when violating these rights. They lack the emotional ability to feel guilt, so when they do something wrong, there is nothing there in their mind making them feel bad.
3 He Was Well-Liked
One of the things about Ted Bundy that stands out the most is just how well-liked he was. He was known as a charming man who didn’t appear to be troubled in any way. It was hard to believe (at the time) that he could have done any of the things he did. As a child, in school, Ted was remembered as an intelligent, happy, and popular child who had many friends and got good grades.
It was known that as Ted progressed to high school, he started to get more withdrawn and his grades started to slip. It would be hard to see this as a sign because this is similar to a lot of ‘typical’ teenager behavior going through their journey through adolescence.
2 Normal Athletic Behavior
There is a stereotype out there that boys like sports. While this is not true for all, it is true for some, and as a young child and man, Ted was no different. He enjoyed athletic acts, especially skiing. He was often seen going skiing and just enjoying life, something else that lead people to believe that there was nothing wrong with Ted.
As a child and teen, Ted was able to blend into those around him and he seemed to be able to ‘act’ as normal as he could. He participated in all the right activities and socialized with others when the situation arose.
1 Interesting Statistic
Statistics can tell us a lot, and there is an interesting one that stands out, as it pertains to Ted Bundy. Statistics are great because it can help us notice if there is a trend happening, or if someone is more predisposed to certain behaviors based on a selection of factors.
Statistics show that those who turn out like Ted did are mostly from families who do not have a father figure. How interesting that this one thing can impact how a person turns out. Ted was raised by a woman and a man, but it would not have been the same as if he was raised by a strong father figure. We will never know if having a father figure would have changed the fate of the world.
References: aetv.com, psychologytoday.com, twistedminds.com