The Only Living Witness: The True Story Of Ted Bundy
The Story Page 18
By now, there was more and more for Ted to keep hidden. From what he later told us at the prison, it is certain that by this stage he had a strong appetite for violent pornography. He has conceded to police interrogators that he crept around the University District late at night. Sometimes he stole things from houses. Sometimes he peeped into women's windows.
Also developing within him were cyclical depressions. "It wasn't dictated by the cycle of the moon, or anything else," he told me. "Not mood swings, just changes. It's goddamn hard for me to describe it. All I wanted to do was just lay around, just consume huge volumes of time without doing a thing. Even in these periods, however, I'm capable of being genuinely cheerful and gregarious at least for a limited period of time. I became expert at projecting something very different. That I was very busy. I had a huge part of my life that nobody knew about. It didn't take much effort at all."
Ted felt that, on the surface at least, Liz took the marriage license scene and his lies in stride. When he told her that he was still two years short of an undergraduate degree, she urged him to return to school. Liz gave him a couple hundred dollars to cover tuition and helped launch him into yet another major, psychology.
Ted could offer a number of reasons for choosing psychology, but he conceded to me that the decision "was probably an outgrowth of my confusion about myself." He did feel good about the choice, and beginning with the University of Washington summer term of 1970, he tore into the subject with demonic intensity. Ted did not miss a single question on one final exam. He wrote a paper on schizophrenia that won high praise from his professor. Ted was driven.
"It was a marvelous feeling, he said, "to have purpose and to do well at the same time."
The periods of malaise abated for a time, but he couldn't stop his late-night patrols or his impulsive thievery. From May of 1970 until September of 1971, he drove a delivery truck for Ped-Line, a family-owned medical supply company. Once he stole a photograph from a doctor's office and was caught. His boss let him off with a stern lecture. The company didn't know until later that he had been stealing from them, too. Among the things he took was a container of plaster casting material.
Ted's next job was in a work-study program run by the Seattle Crisis Clinic. One night a week, he took calls from the frantic, the lonely, and the suicidal. At least once a month, there would be the high drama of a call from someone who had already taken a lethal dose or slit his or her wrists. Ted would keep the caller on the line long enough for the number to be traced, then there would be the tense minutes until he could hear the police breaking into the caller's home.
The people he felt most sensitive to were women. "I had the best results with women who were lonely and had been abandoned by their husbands or mates," Ted said. "I felt they really hurt the most. They were reaching out because they were alone, and really needed someone."
Ted finally accumulated enough credits by the spring of 1972 to earn his degree in psychology. He had decided by then that he wanted to become a lawyer. His grades were good enough, but despite hundreds of hours of preparation, his Law School Aptitude Test results a key to admission were but mediocre. He was particularly embarrassed by his poor showing on the grammar part of the exam. Every law school turned him down.
He left the Crisis Clinic job in May of 1972, and was hired under a federal grant to work with psychiatric outpatients at Seattle's Harborview Hospital. He continued to keep his life with Liz carefully sequestered, allowing him to have a brief affair with Cynthia Holt (pseudonym), a fellow Harborview counselor. According to Holt, Ted was often cold and almost abusive with his cases that summer; he was more apt to lecture than to counsel. Bundy was further suspect by the hospital staff of calling patients at home at night, making anonymous threats and talking inappropriately of sexual matters.
Cynthia shared with Liz and Marjorie and a number of other women the unsettling memory that she was willingly, happily intimate with a serial killer. She told Hugh that the forearm Ted once shoved up against her throat as they were making love was no accident of overexuberance; Bundy could have killed her at that instant.
But the most curious part of their affair and the aspect the local police later were most interested in was the occasional long drives Ted would take her on through the hills behind Lake Sammamish, the area where many of his victims later were found.
"Ted," Holt said, "was supposedly look for an aunt or some old woman who was family. He said he was trying to find her place. I'll never forget it because it was my car and my gas and I was not exactly pleased to do this. I kept driving and driving and I kept saying to Ted, `What does the place look like? At least tell me what the place looks like, so I can help!' There was never any description. We just drove around."
Later, Ted's cousin John told police that he and Ted often hiked together in this same area. John reluctantly led Bob Keppel to the trails they used in and around the vicinity of Taylor Mountain.
Ted felt a personal sense of futility at Harborview, he told us, a feeling of inadequacy and helplessness with his patients that more or less mirrored his personal life. He said he concluded that summer that the social sciences weren't capable of helping sick people. Psychology had failed him. To his joy and relief, however, 1972 was another election year; Bundy could take another vacation from himself. He looked up some old friends from the Fletcher campaign, and through them soon was busying himself as volunteer on the re-election campaign for GOP governor Dan Evans.
Vistas reopened. The young women who worked with Ted were captivated by his handsome features, fastidious dress, and correct manners. He flirted with them. Ted was unfailingly polite to his superiors, and impressed some of the wizened veterans on the governor's staff with his dedication and ready grasp of hardball politics. Ralph Munro, one of Evans's top operatives and later Washington's secretary of state, knew Ted slightly from the 1968 campaign. "He was very friendly, very open," Munro recalled. "There were other people in the 1972 campaign that I probably knew better, but I remember him being there and being involved. I thought he was bright, sharp. He had good ideas."
This was the Ted Bundy who'd be remembered to reporters, the absolutely normal young man with no hint of the flaw in his nature. Liz, however, was beginning to see glimpses of the real Ted. Glimpses of the hunchback.