The Messed Up Truth About Ted Bundy's Fangirls

Ted Bundy remains one of the United States' most notorious serial killers. Throughout the mid-to-late 1970s, he traveled throughout the country killing at least 30 women in seven different states. In addition to abducting, raping, and killing his victims, Mirror reports he often dismembered the women and kept their body parts as mementos. In some cases, he concealed the corpses in remote locations and returned at a later date to further violate them.

Although he ultimately confessed to killing three dozen women, per Biography, Bundy was convicted of only three murders. In 1979, he was found guilty of killing two Florida State University students along with the attempted murder of three others. Then, in 1980 he was convicted of murdering a 12-year-old girl in a separate trial. He was sentenced to death for all three killings. 

The heinous nature of Bundy's crimes was enough to draw international attention to his case. However, his physical appearance and demeanor also captured the attention of a startling number of women who became admirers of the brutal killer. During Bundy's trial, reporters approached one of his admirers and asked about her fascination with the accused killer. As reported by Crimeviral, the woman simply replied, "He just doesn't look like the type to kill somebody."

Unlike assumptions people often have about serial killers, Bundy appeared perfectly "normal," and was outwardly friendly — even charming –- which helped facilitate the trust he gained in order to commit his crimes.

Ted Bundy got married during his murder trial

One of Ted Bundy's admirers even managed to marry him during his criminal trial. As reported by Orlando Sentinel, Bundy and Carole Boone met in 1974 while they were working together in Olympia, Washington. During his trial, Bundy insisted on taking an active role in his defense and was permitted to question Boone, who testified on his behalf. During the questioning, Bundy proposed and Boone accepted the proposal. Bundy then stated, "I do hereby marry you." As they had already applied for a marriage license, and a notary was present in the courtroom to witness the exchange, the couple was legally married.

Boone testified that Bundy was a "warm, kind, patient," man, who never displayed "any destructiveness toward people." However, Psychology Today reports Boone was likely ignoring who Bundy truly was, and had instead fallen in love with "what she wanted him to be."

Although Boone knew Bundy before his trial, it has been suggested that the media's portrayal of Bundy inspired the admirers he gained following his arrest. As reported by Psychology Today, author Ann Rule, who knew Bundy personally, said Bundy was not "handsome, brilliant, or charismatic." In her opinion, "he somehow became all of those things as the media embraced him."

Polly Nelson, who was part of Bundy's defense team expressed similar sentiments. Although she said she sensed a degree of insecurity in Bundy, she said his "charm ... was too obviously disingenuous to be truly charming."

Most of Ted Bundy's admirers never met him in person

As reported by Psychology Today, author Sheila Isenberg has suggested many women who romanticize killers like Ted Bundy were abused in past relationships and have essentially been conditioned to seek difficult relationships. In addition to often denying the convicted killers were capable of committing the crimes, Isenberg suggests they find the idea of being involved with an inmate, and the challenges it presents, to be "exciting" or "thrilling."

Although some of Ted Bundy's admirers insisted he was innocent, others were keenly aware of what he did. However, they believed they somehow had the power to change him. As reported by Crime Viral, a vast majority of Bundy's fans only knew him through media reports and interviews. Therefore, they formed ideas about who he was without ever having met or interacted with him in person.

Having only seen a brief glimpse of Bundy, Crime Viral reports they did not have an opportunity to gain  insight into his true personality or the fact that he had a "psychopathic personality." Bundy himself admitted, "a huge part of [his] life was hidden from everyone ... "

Some women simply view inmates like Bundy as a "perfect" boyfriend. As they are incarcerated, the women know they cannot leave the facility, are unlikely to have an opportunity to cheat, and are lonely or bored enough to maintain constant contact.

Recent documentaries inspired a new generation of Ted Bundy fans

Others are simply seeking the notoriety that comes with being linked to a famous killer. As reported by Crime Viral, some women contact killers like Bundy in the hopes of securing a book or movie deal.

Although Ted Bundy was executed on January 24, 1989, several documentary films, which were released around the 30th anniversary of his execution, seem to have inspired an entirely new generation of admirers. As reported by MTV News, a startling number of teens and young adults have taken to social media sites, including TikTok, to express their interest, and even admiration, for the convicted serial killer. 

In some of the clips, the teens and young adults portray themselves as getting dressed and ready for a date with Bundy. Some videos include role-playing, with both males and females portraying Bundy's victims and the killer himself. Alternately, MTV News reports one user attempted to convince her followers that she was Bundy's granddaughter. However, she later admitted it was simply a joke. It is unclear how many of the teens and young adults are actual "fans," or whether they are simply trying to increase their number of followers.