Meet Theodore Robert Cowell

TRIGGER WARNING: THIS ARTICLE MENTIONS RAPE, SEXUAL ASSUALT, NECROPHELIA, MURDER, CHILD MURDER, AND HUMAN DISMEMBERMENT!

What we all love to see, Ted Bundy in handcuffs
Ted Bundy waving to the camera

In another blog post I mentioned that the murder of Elizabeth Short is what opened up my interest in true crime. Well, Ted Bundy opened up my interest in serial killers and the psychology behind what they do. So of course, I had to write an article about him. I know he is highly publicized in the media (even today), but I just had to write this.  I pretty much know every single thing there is to know about Teddy. He is easily the most infamous serial killer in American history. He truly embodies the whole “not all monsters look evil” saying. I am pretty sure if you just say the name Bundy to somebody, they will know exactly who you are talking about. Unlike most serial killers Ted Bundy was not given a “nickname” by the media, he was always just well, Ted Bundy. Please don’t come to me talking about how cute or handsome he is. Don’t tell me about how he is attractive and charming. Because believe me there are women out there who have a crush on this man. I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT! There is nothing attractive about a murderer, rapist, and just flat-out sociopath. Gonna drop a little spoiler here, Ted Bundy was executed in 1989, just a few weeks before I graced the world with my presence. Almost 32 years later and he is still one of the most talked about serial killers of all time. Oh yeah, this will be a two parter because…. it’s Ted f****** Bundy.  

Theodore Robert Cowell was born on November 24, 1946 to Eleanor Louise Cowell (known as Louise) at the Elizabeth Lund Home for Unwed Mothers in Burlington, Vermont. Guys, this is 1946 being an unwed mom was a huge no no, so most parents took care of the problem by sending their daughter’s away to these homes. I can only imagine the kind of treatment those poor girls got while they were there. Louise would never reveal who Ted’s father was although his birth certificate assigned the paternity to an air Force veteran named Lloyd Marshall. She would later come out and claim his real father was a war veteran named Jack Worthington.  Ted was lied to by his family from the very start, he grew up believing his mom was his sister and his grandparents were his parents. His grandparents would tell friends that they adopted Ted because they wanted a child in their older age.  

Ted’s grandfather was known to be a violent and abusive man. He once took a neighbor’s cat, swung it around his head and flung it just because he doesn’t like cats. He also flung Louise’s young sister Julia down a flight of stairs for oversleeping. Bundy would tell often tell people that his grandfather was his role model and someone he looked up to. He also started showing disturbing behavior by the age of three. It is alleged that Julia recalled awakening from a nap she had been taking in her room to find herself surrounded by knives from the kitchen and Bundy standing by the bed smiling. HELLO! THAT IS A GIGANTIC RED FLAG! Now there is no solid recorded evidence but it is believed that Ted is a result of incestuous rape and his grandfather is his actual father…. yes, his daddy grandpa if you will. Speculation about this has been going around for years and it is believed that is why Louise would often lie about who Ted’s father is. She kept it a secret out of fear and to avoid social stigmas. When ted was a preteen/teen he learned the truth about his family. He now knew that his sister was his mother and his parents were his grandparents.  

In 1950 Louise changed her last name from Cowell to Nelson at the urging of multiple family members. I’m not really sure why she changed her name and I’m not sure how she picked Nelson as a replacement. After the name change her and a young Ted moved to Tacoma, Washington to live with cousins Alan and Jane Scott. In 1951 Louise met Johnny Culpepper Bundy while attending a singles night at the local church. The two married later that year and Johnny adopted Ted, giving him his now well-known last name of Bundy.  By the age of five Ted had three different last names. I’m kind of glad that happened because speaking from a strictly media standpoint, Ted Bundy is a much better serial killer name than Ted Cowell or Ted Nelson. Ted Bundy is just so much catchier. Johnny and Louise went on to have four children of their own and although Johnny tried to encloud Ted in many family activities and really feel part of the group, Ted would often remain distant. He never got close to any of his siblings and I’m pretty sure none of them like him…..can you really blame them!? 

By the time Bundy reached high school he was well known and well like although Bundy claimed he was alone most of the time as he didn’t understand how to form friendships. Bundy excelled in high school and built the reputation of being a very intelligent and charismatic student. Ted Bundy favorite pastime was downhill skiing, and he enthusiastically pursued the activity by using stolen equipment and forged lift tickets. AGAIN, THAT IS ANOTHER RED FLAG! He had been arrested at least twice on suspicion of burglary and auto theft. When he turned eighteen the details of these incidents were expunged from Ted’s criminal record. Which is a common practice in Washington and other states. After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1965 Bundy attended the University of Puget Sound for one year before transferring to the University of Washington. Here he studied intensive Chinese, believing that one day China would play a big part in running most of the world and knowing the language was imperative.

In 1967 Bundy became romantically involved with fellow UW student identified as “Stephanie Brooks”, I don’t know her real name but this is the one that has been most commonly used in the media. In 1968 Ted dropped out of college and took a series of minimum wage jobs before volunteering in the Seattle office of Nelson Rockefeller’s presidential campaign. Oh yeah, Ted was a hard-core republican, not sure why that is important but now ya know. What’s that commercial with the shooting star and rainbow….” The more you know”? In August Bundy attended the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami as a Rockefeller delegate. Shortly thereafter Brooks ended their relationship and returned to her family home in California where she took an office job, frustrated by what she described as Bundy’s immaturity and lack of ambition. Psychiatrist Dorothy Lewis would later go to on say that this event might have caused a pivotal change in his emotional and mental development. Basically, saying that Stephanie made Bundy a serial killer without actually coming out and saying it. 

Devastated by Brooks’ rejection Bundy packed up traveling to visit family in Colorado, Arkansas, and Philadelphia. While here he enrolled for one semester at Temple University. Going back to his birth and that whole mess for a second.  It is believed he looked up his birth records and found out his true parentage while visiting Burlington in 1969. If his Grandfather is in fact his dad the birth certificate is not going to say that, duh. I would hope people aren’t that stupid. That same year Bundy made his way back to Washington and met Elizabeth Kloepfer (A.K.A Liz Kendall) while she was working as secretary at the University of Washington School of Medicine. They would be in a relationship until 1976 which is the year Bundy got incarcerated for the first time. Liz Kendall had a young daughter whom Ted Bundy was very close with, he was more or less a father figure to the girl throughout the entire relationship. In the mid 1970’s Bundy reenrolled at UW where he focused on his new major, psychology. He made good grades and was well liked and respected by all his professors. Well not all of them. A professor who taught Ted Bundy told the media that he believed Ted wanted to study psychology so he could learn how to better manipulate people and get them to do what he wanted. 

Ted Bundy graduated from the University of Washington in 1972 and shortly after joined Governor Daniel J. Evan’s re-election campaign, where he did some shady shit. Pretending to be a college student, he shadowed Evans’ opponent, former governor Albert Rosellini, and recorded his stump speeches for analysis by Evans’ team. After Evans was re-elected, Bundy was hired as an assistant to Ross Davis, Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party. At the start of 1973, despite having mediocre LSTAT score Teddy Bundy was accepted into the school of law at the University of Puget Sound and the University of Utah after submitting letters of recommendation from Evans, Davis, and several UW psychology professors. See, this was not a stupid man, he was very intelligent. While on a business trip to California that same year Bundy rekindled his relationship with Stephanie Brooks while he was still dating Liz Kendall. The women did not know about each other, that dog crap piece of shit person…was that a redundant insult? 

While Bundy was studying law at UPS he continued to date Brooks who was still living in California. She would fly to Seattle to stay with Bundy several times that year. Despite his almost obsession with Brooks years before he ghosted her in 1974. He just abruptly cut of all contact with her and did not return any of her phone calls. This was way before texting, e-mail, and social media, so landlines were really the only way to keep in touch with people. Well, I suppose you could send a letter in the mail. Finally, my girl reached him on the phone a month later and asked him what the hell was going on. In a calm, dead voice Bundy responded; “Stephanie, I have no idea what you mean”. He didn’t even say good bye that rude ass. Stephanie never heard from him again after that and let me tell you….she dodged a big f****** bullet. Him ghosting her was probably the best thing that could ever happen to her.  Later while sitting on death row Bundy would tell an interviewer that; “I just wanted to prove to myself that I could have married her”. Stephanie Brooks concluded in retrospect that he had deliberately planned the entire courtship and rejection in advance as vengeance for the breakup she initiated in 1968. PETTY PATTY LEVEL 100! Man, you guys think women are spiteful….shit Ted Bundy took that to a whole other level. Bundy slowly began to lose focus on his studies and started skipping classes at law school. By April 1974, he had stopped attending entirely, as young women began to disappear all over the Pacific Northwest.  

Oh damn, a cliff hanger DUM DUM DUMMMM…I mean not really but let me be dramatic. Now we are done with all the formalities, thank god. In my next article we will dive into Ted Bundy’s time as a serial killer, his capture, and his eventual death. Be there to read about the series of events that cemented Ted Bundy’s infamous reputation in American history. 

Want to pop this in here as well. I am not glorifying a serial killer/serial killers in any way, shape, or form. I am not on any level agreeing with that they have done and I do not think it is ok by any means. I don’t think serial killers are “cool” or “hip”. I am simply interested in the psychology that makes them tick. That is why I do the research that I do, be it; Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker), Dennis Rader (BTK Killer), Gary Ridgeway (The Green River Killer), The Zodiac Killer or whoever. I RESEARCH THEM SIMPLY OUT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INTEREST! Nothing more, nothing less. Remember, serial killing of any kind is bad. You know what? Just don’t kill people.  

Sources:

“A Stranger Beside Me” – Ann Rule

“Ted Bundy – Victims, Family & Death” – Biography

“Serial killer Ted Bundy strikes again” – HISTORY

“Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes”- Netflix

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