I recently visited a Facebook group where true-crime fans gather to chit-chat about the latest foul play. The group’s members are mostly women because, well, women are overwhelmingly the most voracious readers of true crime (some surveys have found as much as 75% of the TC market is female). There’s no question about their earnest fascination with all things felonious. Their binge-watching of Investigation Discovery strikes fear in their husbands.
But on that day, one of the ladies was polling her chat-mates. “Which serial killer,” she asked, “would you like to date?”
A few dozen answers had already accumulated, and none were, “What a moronic question!” <Angry Emoji> And by far, the winner of the serial-killer speed-dating challenge was, predictably, the handsome, congenial conversationalist Ted Bundy.
So I asked my crime-writing colleague Kevin Sullivan—probably America’s most knowledgeable Bundy scholar—to weigh in on the strange warmth Ted seems to inspire between the loins of some, um, innocent admirers.
By KEVIN SULLIVAN
I’ve been writing about the serial killer Ted Bundy for many years now.
I recently submitted to my publisher the manuscript of my fifth and final Bundy book. It’s been a long and productive run, seeing that my main Bundy book, “The Bundy Murders: A Comprehensive History,” was published in 2009. Add my two and a half years of research that preceded the book, I’ve been at this for some 13-plus years.
And yet only recently— within the last couple of years—I have learned of a hidden society of women who, as odd as it might sound, absolutely love Ted Bundy. They’d like to be his girlfriend, have sex with him, and even bear his children. And they are a faithful lot, meaning there’s apparently nothing Bundy could do to turn off their affections and drive them away.
How did I learn of these otherwise very nice women?
Through Facebook, of course! Because I interact with the people who read my books, I occasionally see some of these ladies on the Bundy sites talking to each other and, invariably, the love and attraction for Ted is in full view.
In the past, I would sometimes jump into the middle of their conversations and explain that instead of “dating” you, Bundy might want to kill you. Maybe a crowbar blow (or two) to the head followed by strangulation. And if Bundy was feeling especially frisky, he might just sever your head and take it home for later pleasuring.
I know what you’re thinking: These women must not really understand who Ted Bundy was. Surely, they have no knowledge of the terrible, diabolical things he did.
That’s not the case at all. These women really do understand, but that makes no difference, apparently. They love—or have some strong attraction to—the man. This affection for Bundy doesn’t wane even as the known facts of his murders come up.
Several months ago, I posed a question on Facebook. Is it a form of mental illness? That one post attracted over 750 comments! And, yes, some were from these women who were now blasting me for suggesting it had anything to do with a mental issue.
I soon learned that the term for this attraction is called hybristophilia, and that it’s considered a “condition.” How is that condition defined? “Hybristophilia is a paraphilia in which sexual arousal, facilitation, and attainment of orgasm are responsive to and contingent upon being with a partner known to have committed an outrage, cheating, lying, known infidelities, or crime—such as rape, murder, or armed robbery.” (From Wikipedia)
So, to be clear, most of the women who railed at me for asking the question whether this might be a mental condition (as if I was impugning them) were not at all upset as they self-identified as having the “condition” of hybristophilia (in my view, impugning themselves). In the end, however, most Americans find this condition to be exceedingly abnormal.
Kevin M. Sullivan, author of “The Bundy Murders: A Comprehensive History,” and four more works on infamous serial killer Ted Bundy.