A Chilling Theory On Ted Bundy's Motive For Murder

It seems barbaric to refer to a renewed collective interest in a serial killer as a "fad," but given the resurgence of dialogue surrounding Ted Bundy and his heinous crimes, once can't help but at least note the sway in social/pop culture focus. Over the past few years, true crime gurus and newcomers to the sinister topic of interest have refocused their sights on Ted Bundy and the 20 or more women he killed over the course of four years (1974-1978) in a vicious saga of terror and sadistic murder that chilled investigators and authorities to the bone (via Biography). Netflix recently released two projects devoted to the details of the murders: "Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" in 2019, and "Extremely Evil, Shockingly Evil and Vile" (with Zac Efron portraying Bundy) the same year.

For whatever reason, Bundy is back, and so are the various postulations as to why he did what he did. Of course, there's a lot that goes into unpacking the psyche of a serial killer, and when all is said and done, a murderer isn't going to interpret humane reality or an act on its behalf the same way a normal person would. That's just the fact of the matter. However, every story starts somewhere, and people can't help but wonder where or when Ted Bundy's really began. Was there a catalyst that spurned his actions? What could invoke such hatred and inhuman cruelty? Well, some speculators have presented the world with a few ideas. 

The Ted Bundy break-up theory

Ted Bundy, like most other habitual killers, exhibited a pattern in his crimes. According to Women's Health magazine, the most common attributes of his victims were a slim build, long dark hair, and caucasian ethnicity. While that might sound broad, the truth is that each and every one of the women that he murdered bore similar traits to his ex-girlfriend, Diane Edwards. Bundy and Edwards started dating while the two were enrolled at the University of Washington, and, for a while, their courtship was amicable. However, much of their time together was predominated by a looming sense of ineptitude on Bundy's part. He admittedly felt inferior to her aristocratic upbringing and didn't view himself as her equal. After she left him, those insecurities morphed into bitter resentments. 

Some experts attribute Bundy's patterns as a gesture of vendetta against Diane Edwards and that overwhelming sense of unworthiness he experienced while dating her. At the end of the day, it's just a theory, but psychologists and true crime enthusiasts often refer back to it while pondering the visceral nature of his exploits and what could have inspired them. "He wasn't real masculine. If I got mad at him because he did something he sort of felt apologetic about it. He wouldn't stand up for himself," Diane Edwards shared years later (per Mirror UK). While there's no justifying his atrocious brutalities, the dynamics at the core of their relationship and subsequent break up may have contributed to his murderous deeds. 

Other theories on Bundy's crimes

Experts and inquirers have developed various other theories on Ted Bundy's insatiable urge to kill since his slew of infamous murders took the nation by storm. According to Investigation Discovery, Bundy grew up believing that his grandparents were actually his parents and that his biological mother was his sister. The truth came out years later, and, when it did, he was overtaken by a tempest of confusion and misplacement in the world. In addition to being viciously bullied for a crippling speech impediment as a child, he looked back on his upbringing as anything but charmed. This, some say, could have played a large role in his decision to take innocent lives during his adult years. 

Others boil it down to a previous addiction to violent pornography that Bundy indulged in as a young man. "I would keep looking for more potent, more explicit, more graphic kinds of material. Like an addiction, you keep craving something which is harder, harder, something which gives you a greater sense of excitement, until you reach the point that pornography only goes so far," he shared in an interview before his death (via Women's Health magazine). Still, theories remain just that — theories. Meanwhile, the world continues to feverishly wonder without categorical confirmation why Ted Bundy turned into one of history's most notorious serial killers.