- Hybristophilia is a paraphilia in which sexual arousal is responsive to being with a partner that is known to have committed a crime, such as rape, murder, or armed robbery.
- One of the most infamous examples of hybristophilia is Ted Bundy, who attracted numbers of women to his trials each day, and received hundreds of love letters while he was incarcerated.
While the rest of the world cringes in horror at the crimes committed by violent men, there are some women who are riveted by their stories. Ted Bundy was no exception. He had numerous pen pals and visitors during his time in prison and on death row. While on trial in Florida, women flocked from all over the area and neighboring states, just to get a glance at him.
Born in 1946 to an unwed mother, Ted Cowell was a precocious child. His grandparents raised him in Philadelphia as their own child and he grew up thinking his mother, Louise, was his sister. His grandfather was a violent man and the toddler was becoming just like him. Ted’s aunt Audie told his attorney that when he lived with her family, she woke up surrounded by knives, with three-year-old Ted grinning nearby. She was terrified and must have encouraged Louise to take Ted far away from his abusive grandfather. By age four, Louise moved him to Tacoma, Washington to be near his cousins and other family members. He was later adopted by his stepfather, Johnny Bundy, with whom he had a distant relationship.
By high school at Woodrow Wilson High, Ted Bundy was an attractive, clean-cut boy. He didn’t date much, admitting later he didn’t understand how social relationships worked, but his peers found him jovial and quiet. He told interviewers that by his teenage years, he had already begun having fantasies about murder and necrophilia. By college at the University of Washington in Seattle, he had discovered his parentage and began to resent his mother. It is commonly believed that the discovery of his birth certificate and his breakup with a college girlfriend, Stephanie Brooks, lead to him finally act on his murderous desires.
During this time, he had another long-term girlfriend who was devoted to him. In fact, after his arrest, Liz Kloepfer wrote a book about their six-year relationship under the pen name Elizabeth Kendall. (The Phantom Prince, 1981) She admitted sticking with Ted throughout his years of cheating, lying, and his unwillingness to marry her. He even picked up a marriage license once, but later became incensed with her and tore it up in front of her. During this time, Bundy was murdering young women in Washington State and Oregon without Liz’s knowledge. He brazenly used her VW bug to transport his Lake Sammamish victims in July 1974, yet she still had a hard time getting over him years later.
After graduation from the university in 1972 and some stints in local politics, Bundy became interested in becoming a lawyer. He took his time getting around to it, but he eventually applied and was accepted to Utah Law School in 1974. It wasn’t just because he needed to get out of Washington state, he had not been accepted at any local law schools. He left girlfriend Liz behind in Seattle. Moving to Salt Lake City brought new horizons and a fresh batch of young women to murder. The heat was getting to be too much in Washington anyway.
Unfortunately, his law classes were way over his head. He noted they were “a great disappointment” and shortly thereafter, dropped out of school. On November 8, 1974, Bundy attempted to kidnap 18-year-old Carol DaRonch at a local mall in Murray, Utah. He got her into his car under the pretense of being a police officer. Once she was in the car, he tried to handcuff her, but she broke free and hitched a ride to the police station. Bundy killed several other local women, but was arrested in 1976 for DaRonch’s kidnapping and received a sentence of 1-15 years.
While in custody, he tried to escape but was caught in the prison yard with an escape kit. He was extradited to Aspen, Colorado to go on trial for the death of Colorado victim, Caryn Campbell. Bundy escaped from the prison before being discovered eight days later, wandering around town disoriented. He was then moved to a prison in Glenwood Springs, Colorado with tighter security. In December 1977, Ted escaped from this prison and made his way to Florida, where he murdered 2 sorority girls and bludgeoned 3 other women in January 1978. He also killed a twelve-year-old girl after abducting her from her school. Bundy was arrested after being found driving a stolen VW Beetle and was taken to prison. Once investigators realized they had a wanted fugitive in custody, they quickly determined he was linked to the brutal killings of three Florida girls and his trial began in June 1979.
During his trial, throngs of young women, long hair parted in the middle to resemble his victims, came to thrill at the tales of the charming law student. Despite being present for photographs of Ted’s bite mark on the buttock of the victim, Lisa Levy, they attempted to catch his eye and to see if he would wave. Nightly updates were shown on the news about Bundy’s trial, noting his status as a serial murderer. Meanwhile, Bundy was receiving bags of letters and postcards from many admirers from all over the country. He reveled in the attention.
In 1978, while Bundy was still on trial for murder, he started a romance with a woman named Carole Boone, an old flame from Washington State. She moved to Florida to be near him and support him. Though they were denied a marriage by Florida prison officials, they found a loophole in an old law on the books. The law said if a marriage proposal was made in court, the marriage was legal. When Bundy put Carole on the stand as a character witness, he asked her to marry him, she accepted and their marriage was now binding. Bundy was legally married to Carole shortly before being convicted of murder. He even fathered a daughter with his wife while on death row, though her whereabouts are currently unknown. Carole left Ted in 1986.
Whether Ted actually loved any of the women in his life is something we’ll never know. Based on what we know of psychopaths, they aren’t capable of feeling love the way we do. One thing we can say about Bundy is that women loved him and he loved their attention and subservience. Ted was a murder addict and it’s safe to say the only reason he didn’t kill the women around him was so he wouldn’t be caught. In fact, he told Liz he had considered killing her daughter and her but was able to stop himself. No matter what we think, Ted Bundy was a dangerous man who would have eventually killed any woman who got in his way. Luckily, the law prevented any further killings or escapes with his death in Old Sparky, Florida’s electric chair, in January 1989. Sadly, very few bodies of Bundy’s victims have been found to date.
For more information, questions, and artwork by Ted Bundy, please visit BundyPhile.