true crime

As a university student, Ted Bundy worked at a suicide hotline. It made him a 'better' killer.

In Netflix’s Ted Bundy biopic Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, we learn that the serial killer, who murdered at least 30 women, worked at Seattle’s Suicide Hotline Crisis Centre while studying psychology at the University of Washington.

This is where he met and worked with author Ann Rule, who wrote the seminal The Stranger Beside Me. 

While this particular job might seem completely at odds with the person Bundy was, it may have made him a ‘better’ killer.

Watch the official trailer for Netflix’s Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile below. Post continues after video…

Speaking to Women’s Health, psychologist Darrel Turner, PhD, said: “I’m not surprised that he worked at a suicide hotline.

“Psychopaths will very often put themselves in a position to, in a weird way, learn what normal people are like so they can blend in better by faking emotions that they learn from other people.”

Turner says that Bundy’s work there would have given him insight into what people need to hear and feel in order to be persuaded.

He added: “As someone who made a life study of manipulating other people, I think it makes sense that he would get a job like that.

“There’s this grandiose sense of self that comes along with psychopathy.

“This sense that you are someone special and that you are a powerful person and a need to feel powerful and a need to feel control, and so I think that working at a suicide hotline satisfied that need in Bundy, as well.”

“It’s absolutely a possibility that it made him a better serial killer.”

Over the years, countless experts have studied Bundy, to try to figure out why he became a serial killer.

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Psychiatrist Al Carlisle, who carried out a 90-day psychological assessment on Bundy while he was in prison, has suggested that Bundy’s ‘lonely childhood’ could be what lead to his ‘psychopathic tendencies.’

Speaking to A&E Real Crime, Carlisle said: “If early in life a person is lonely and doesn’t fit in and is empty, they begin to look for some way to undo that, to satisfy their loneliness. And they turn to fantasy to comfort themselves. This is what happened with Bundy.”

That loneliness may have been partly down to Bundy’s unusual family set-up. According to Investigation Discovery, he grew up thinking his biological parents were his grandparents, and that his mum was his older sister.

According to Carlisle, finding out the truth years later had a big impact on Bundy.

Bundy’s first signs of criminal behaviour were in his teens when he began peeping in windows and shoplifting.

Others suggest that breaking up with his first girlfriend, Diana Edwards, was what made Bundy a killer.

The couple met at university.

“The relationship I had with Diane had a lasting impact on me,” Bundy said in The Ted Bundy Tapes.

“She’s a beautifully dressed, beautiful girl. Very personable. Nice car, great parents.

“So for a first-time girlfriend, you know, it was really not so bad.”

ted bundy girlfriend diane edwards
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Ted Bundy with Diane Edwards. 

Bundy, who often felt that Diane was out of his league, spent a lot of time trying to impress her.

From working for the Republican candidate for Seattle to applying for a number of law schools after college, Bundy tried hard to gain the approval of his girlfriend and her affluent parents.

"She inspired me to look at myself and become something more," he said in the Netflix documentary.

"We spent a lot of time driving around in her car, making out and telling each other how much we loved one another."

But after failing to get into law school, Bundy and Diane's relationship quickly dwindled and over the summer, Diane broke it off.

"She stopped writing [to me] and I started to get fearful of what she was up to. I had this overwhelming fear of rejection that stemmed, not just from her, but everything.

"In there, somewhere was a desire to have some sort of revenge on Diane."

Following their split, Bundy made it his mission to reconnect with Diane. He had a plan for revenge.

Even while he was dating single mother Elizabeth Kloepfer, Bundy continued to try to rekindle his relationship with Diane.

Another theory is one that Bundy actually cited himself - an addition to porn.

In the interview the day before his execution, he said: "I was essentially a normal person, I had good friends, I led a normal life except for this one small but very potent, very destructive segment of it that I kept very secret and very close to myself and I didn’t let anybody know about it."

Bundy spoke of buying soft core porn magazines in the local grocery store before becoming compelled to find more violent material.

He said: "Like any addiction, you keep craving something harder, which gives you a greater sense of excitement, until you reach a point where the pornography only goes so far."

Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile are both available to watch on Netflix now.

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