How Ted Bundy Was Able To Easily Disguise Himself

Even 32 years after his execution by electric chair, Ted Bundy has found enduring infamy as one of the most notorious and brutal serial killers in U.S. history. Bundy is believed to have raped and murdered at least 30 women before his reign of terror was ended in 1978 when he was arrested for the last time after multiple previous arrests and encounters with the law (via All That's Interesting). Yet what baffles many is exactly how he managed to slip away, as surely such a depraved and later high-profile individual could have been identified sooner. 

Of course, Bundy was largely aided by his stunningly adaptive dishonesty, which likely started to become noticeable when he reached puberty, according to psychologist Al Carlisle. Yet Bundy's capacity to distort his physical appearance also played a vital role. Some of it was incidental, like fluctuations in the color of his eyes and face depending on his state of mind or changes in his weight. (Per A&E, one witness admitted that Bundy's nose had a distorting effect on his face.) The rest had to do with intentional manipulations of what others saw. 

Bundy almost instinctually knew how to appeal to people and lower their guard

Where Ted Bundy already had the mind for manipulation, his shape-shifting abilities likely came from acting classes he took in his early 20s, as they would have sharpened his ability to deceive others as well as give him some experience with makeup (via A&E). In his time as a murderer, Bundy altered his facial hair, posed as authority figures like police and firefighters to establish trust, and used fake casts to gain sympathy (via MEAWW). People who met him in person, regardless of what figurative mask he had on, seldom felt the need to be defensive around him. 

This was even the case after Bundy's second prison escape, allowing him largely avoid detection as he traveled from Colorado to Florida. In spite of becoming one of the most wanted men in the country, he was able to live under an assumed name for months. By the time he was caught for good, Bundy had managed to commit three more murders and was even let go after being arrested for speeding (via ABC News).