The case of Ted Bundy Paper

PSYC 281: Case Study

The case of Ted Bundy

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The purpose of this extra credit activity is to have you apply knowledge gained from our course to a detailed case study in the form of a reaction paper. The case study follows these instructions.

Your written product will be FOUR (4) PAGES in length (typed double-spaced, using 12-point Times New Roman font and one-inch margins). You must use APA format as well. Do NOT use direct quotations, but rather use your own words in your responses. In your paper, BE CAREFUL TO ADDRESS ALL OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS IN RESPONSE TO THIS PARTICULAR CASE STUDY:

  1. According to the definition(s) presented in both the lecture and the reading, is Ted Bundy acting abnormally or meeting criteria for a particular diagnosis? In particular, what are his symptoms? Provide examples.
  2. What are the primary, predisposing or precipitating causes of his disturbance? Consider environmental influences, such as his family or peers, school, the era, etc.
  3. Bundy was described as charming and intelligent. What else might Bundy be described as? (Note: Does not have to be a DSM-5 diagnosis) Of the two potential diagnoses, which would be most accurate?
  4. Given what you know about treatment for individuals like Bundy, what would you recommend for treatment and why (if any at all)?
  5. Although it is rare, it appears that Bundy did not show signs of any abnormal behavior from a young age. Given what you read, why might there be no evidence for abnormal behavior until adulthood?
When answering these questions and preparing your paper, include a citation for the article (see below) and at least 2 additional sources (your choice) to support your answers. Your textbook CANNOT serve as one of these additional resources.
Meyer, R. G., & Weaver, C. M. (2012). The case of Theodore Bundy. In Case studies in abnormal behavior (9th ed., pp. 196-199). Boston: Pearson.

***To submit your paper on eCampus, use the Turn It In link. Remember that when papers are submitted through Turn It In, they are checked for plagiarism using an electronic system. As an additional reminder, you are not permitted to submit a paper that you have submitted previously to any course, or a paper that someone else has submitted to this or any other course. All work needs to be your original work! Penalties will be applied for cases of plagiarism.***

Theodore (Ted) Bundy was born on November 24, 1946 in Burlington, Vermont. As an illegitimate child, he never knew his father. He spent the first three years of his life in Philadelphia with his grandfather. At age 4, he moved to Tacoma, Washington, to live with his uncles and their families. Bundy was upset about moving away and leaving his grandfather. At the time, Ted’s mother met Johnnie Bundy, who worked at a local military base as a cook. Like many children, Ted reacted to his mother’s new boyfriend with jealousy. In 1952, after Ted’s mother married Johnnie, they had their fist child, followed by 3 more. His parents did not drink or smoke, and Johnnie Bundy was described as having a violent temper when provoked

Bundy idolized his first-grade teacher, who wrote superlative evaluations of Bundy and his intelligence. When she left to have a baby, Bundy was very distraught. His second-grade teacher was a different story. He recalled despising her, and remembers her breaking a ruler over his hand because he had punched another student in the face during lunch. The sense of unease that Bundy later identified as growing into the “entity” that murders was already felt then, at 7. He described it as a disturbing uneasiness.

Throughout his school years, Bundy did well, always receiving A’s on major projects. He fondly recalled his mother helping him with homework, and attributed his success to her diligent help. Bundy went to Sunday school every week through high school, He studied the Bible extensively, but felt he never retained any of it. He was politically oriented and recalled telling his mother about the hypocrisy of Christianity. In high school, Bundy never got into trouble. He felt inferior to others who had more material possessions, and he reported being inept with girls and only had one date ever during high school.

From early on, Bundy found it difficult to integrate socially. He took part in few organized sports because he felt that they were too serious and that he was too small. His stepfather never attended any games, and his mother disliked sports because they cost money. Bundy was distressed when he couldn’t get on the baseball or basketball teams. As a result, he became proficient at skiing and established a ticket forgery system that allowed him to ski free of charge. Bundy depicted his childhood home life as empty, and he felt overlooked and forgotten.

Bundy described himself as having an “entity”, which he sometimes referred to as “the malignant being”, inside him that compelled him to kill. He asserted that his desire during the killings was not the violence itself, but that he wanted to have full possession of the victim. The sex was not extreme, and he claimed to have spared the victims as much pain as he could. According to him, the “entity” grew slowly within him, growing stronger and more powerful after every deviant act. However, since Bundy was perceived to be a pathological liar, there is no way to corroborate what he said.

Bundy’s first documented murder occurred in Seattle in January 1974, where he smashed Sharon Clarke’s head with a rod while she slept in her bed. After being in a coma, she survived with no memory of the event. Sharon was a stranger to Bundy, and no explanation was ever given for the attack. Several weeks later, a college student living a few blocks away, Lynda Ann Healy, disappeared. Over a period of 7 months following Lynda’s disappearance, young women disappeared with regularity. From March through June 1974, four more female college students disappeared.

On July 14, 1974, Bundy approached several young women with his arm in a sling, asking them to help him put a sailboat on top of his car. Several women refused when he said they needed to go in his car to get the boat, but Janice Ott agreed and was never seen again. The same day, another young woman disappeared. The remains of these women and several other unidentified women were later found in a forest near the same lake Bundy was at. The killings continued through October 1974, and Ted’s victims tended to be college-aged, white, attractive and with long hair.

In January, 1975, Bundy began killing in Colorado. One victim was taken while sleeping; another disappeared on her way to meet a friend; a third was found fully clothed except for her jeans pulled down. Finally, on August 16 1975, Bundy was arrested for driving suspiciously slowly down a street and refusing to pull over when ordered by a police officer. The police found a hair in his car matching one of the victims, and a witness said he saw Bundy the night one of the victims disappeared.

Bundy used his charm, intelligence, sense of humor and good looks to manipulate those around him. He was exceptionally cooperative, and his captors showed him courtesy with special health foods, and no physical restraints when attending court. Bundy insisted on defending himself, and was provided law books as requested. While on trial, he was allowed to wander through the Aspen law library as he pleased, allowing him to escape. Eight days later he was recaptured. During the trial, Bundy carved a hole around the light fixture in his prison cell and escaped through a 12-inch opening, moving from Aspen to Florida.

On January 15, 1978, five young women were severely beaten in a sorority house near Florida State University. Two died and at least two were raped. One month later, a 12-year-old girl disappeared after school. She was found strangled to death with her sexual organs mutilated. Bundy had been living under a pseudonym and survived by stealing a car and using stolen credit cards. On February 15, 1978, Bundy was again arrested while driving slowly at 1:30 A.M. Although he identified himself as Kenneth Raymond Misner, it did not take long to discover that he was Ted Bundy.

Bundy adamantly claimed innocence. One severely incriminating piece of evidence was matching teeth marks on the buttocks of one of his victims. Bundy again displayed his charm and intelligence during trials. He was flooded with attention, and using his legal skills and over a period of time tauntingly admitting to 23 additional murders, Bundy was able to keep himself alive for 10 years with appeals. He had several offers of marriage and even fathered one child, before finally dying by the electric chair on January 24, 1989.


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