How High Was Ted Bundy's IQ?

Ted Bundy is arguably the most infamous serial killer in the annals of American crime. And if you've ever read or watched anything about him, you probably know he was highly intelligent. But just what was Ted Bundy's actual IQ?

Bundy's IQ was actually a very impressive 136. For a general frame of reference, he's probably smarter than your doctor, though a lot less beneficial to your health. Doctors come in around 120-125. To be a little more precise, Albert Einstein's IQ was between 160 or 190 (the experts have never pinned it down). Bundy's IQ falls into the second highest category of IQ rankings: "superior intelligence." And he's just four points short of the "genius" club.

There are generalities that can be applied to serial killer profiles, and one of them is that, across the board, they tend to be very intelligent. So how does Ted fare when he goes head to head with other famous practitioners of dark vocation? Sorry to disappoint you Bundy fans but Ted only ranks 8th on an IQ list that includes such notables as "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski (if you named your kid Ted you might want to keep an eye on them) and the co-ed killer Edmund Kemper.

Bundy's blunders

You might be asking: "If he was so smart, how come he ended up getting fried by the state of Florida back in 1989?" That's a fair question. Well, to begin with, Bundy was actually caught three times before he was locked up for good. Nevertheless, he was caught and you can pin it down to two things: The first was bad luck. A random police patrol car ran a check and learned the car Bundy was driving was stolen. Second: compulsion. It's intrinsic to the nature of a serial killer that they keep killing until caught or killed. Exceptions to this are rare. A serial killer like Ted Bundy might have a "cooling off period" — which can sometimes last for years — but they will eventually get the devil's shoulder tap and go back to strangling and hacking and all the things they love to do.

Bundy undone

Ted Bundy's high IQ made his crimes perplexing, his apprehension difficult, his containment damn near impossible, and his image... alluring. That's right. Just about everybody over the age of 30 knows who Ted Bundy was. At his trial — in which he thought himself smart enough to represent himself — he even had groupies in the courtroom.

He was on the run for a long time — January 1974 through to February 1978 — and killed between 36 (the number he admitted to) and 100 women. As horrific as all that is, it does take a sharp mind.

Ted Bundy has featured in countless magazine stories, books, and films, the latest of which was 2019's Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, starring Zac Efron. But don't take it all as gospel truth. The truth is that Ted Bundy did have a high IQ, but in the long run, his image has eclipsed his "career." And that, it seems, is where Bundy was very smart indeed.