Sunday, October 21, 2012

Power/Control Serial Killers

Power/Control killers are the psychopaths or sociopaths who derive pleasure from exerting power and control over life and death. They enjoy watching their victims beg for mercy and cower in fear. In fact, they feed off the fear of their victims.
Theodore Robert Cowell (Ted Bundy) was born in Burlington, Vermont in 1946 to an unmarried twenty-two year old mother. He gets his name from his stepfather. His grandparents told him that he was their son and that his mother was actually his sister.
Bundy was a good student but, like many young people, he was devastated when his first love left him. He didn’t deal with grief the way most people do though. He spent years trying to get her back and, when he finally did, he started killing innocent people and then rejected his girlfriend – just as she had rejected him. Authorities speculate that Bundy started killing as early as age fourteen. Many of his victims were said to have a physical resemblance to his first girlfriend. 
Ted Bundy was one of the most infamous power/control serial killers in American history. He was handsome, charming and intelligent, traits which enabled him to seduce his victims. He’s believed to have murdered over one hundred women in several states, including Washington, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Colorado and Florida.
Bundy had several techniques for luring his victims. He would often fake an injury, with his arm in a cast or sling, to gain their trust. Other times, he would dress as a policeman or fireman. After luring women to his car, he would hit them on their head with a crowbar. He then raped, strangled and mutilated them.
He was also known to engage in necrophilia (sexual attraction/involvement with corpses). He would visit the corpses of his victims several times at the Taylor Mountain body dump site, apply makeup to them and have sex with them until they putrefied.
Bundy’s killing spree lasted from 1974 to 1978. When apprehended, he confessed to forty murders, blaming his addiction to pornography for his actions. This is one of his most chilling quotes. “We serial killers are your sons, we are your husbands, we are everywhere. And there will be more of your children dead tomorrow.”
Bundy was executed in 1989. His body was cremated and the ashes were scattered at an undisclosed location in the Cascade Range in Washington State. The state of Florida spent eight million dollars to electrocute him. Wouldn’t that money have been better spent letting him live out a life sentence in prison, stipulating that he be subject to intense scientific study? Don’t we need to learn “why” he and other serial killers commit such heinous crimes so that we can figure out a way to stop them?


  1. As a psychologist, I couldn't agree with you more, Pat. I think we need to study these killers because the profiles we now have are woefully incomplete and not always useful to law enforcement. It's not as if these killers are so common we don't need any more data, is it?

    1. Absolutely true, Lesley. We need all the data on serial killers we can get. Maybe someday, we'll learn how to stop them before they kill. After all, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

  2. To be honest, I never followed the Ted Bundy story closely. I had no idea about some of what happened, and I'm horrified to learn more. For such a short period of time, he took a lot of lives.

    This has been a fascinating series, Pat. This last part took the cake though. Like so many others, let me say, "But he looked so normal." Duh.

    1. Thanks for following the series, Marja, and for your comments. Don't forget that next week is my Halloween post, featuring some wonderful Halloween novels - including one of yours!