Warning: The Real Demons series is a collection of explicit stories about some of the most extreme crimes I’ve come across. These stories involve highly taboo subjects, and after much consideration, I’ve decided to keep details I initially felt were too severe to include. Thus, the stories are deeply disturbing – and, of course, all true. You can’t take comfort in them being works of fiction. You may learn horrible things that you’ll really wish you hadn’t. If you’re not fully comfortable with all of this, avoid the whole series.
On 15th February 1978, in Pensacola, Florida, police officer David Lee was on his usual patrol at around 1.30am when he noticed an orange Volkswagen Beetle pulling out of an alley behind a restaurant. Lee, knowing the area well, was aware that the restaurant had closed over three hours ago, and became suspicious. He began to tail the VW while conducting a check on its license plate. It was stolen.
Lee flashed his lights to get the driver to stop but they sped off instead. He pursued the car until they finally gave up and stopped. The driver got out and on the floor as Lee directed, though he began putting up a fight once the handcuffs came out. After a brief struggle, Lee managed to overpower and cuff him. He had no idea yet that he’d just nabbed one of the most notorious killers in the history of crime – Ted Bundy.
A KILLER LAUNCHES
Although we don’t know exactly when Bundy began his campaign of cruelty and murder, the earliest victim we do know of is Karen Sparks, 18, who shared a house with friends near the University of Washington in Seattle, where Bundy had graduated from the previous year. On the night of 5th January 1974, Bundy broke into their house and Karen’s room, where he beat her with a metal bar and forced it into her vagina, resulting in serious internal injuries. Although she survived, Karen had permanent physical and mental damage.
Bundy’s next victim, Lynda Ann Healy, 21, wasn’t as lucky. Lynda was also a UW student, and lived only a few streets away from Karen Sparks. On the night of 1st February, Bundy had strangled her into unconsciousness, dressed her in her street clothes, made her bed nicely, and then abducted her in his tan coloured VW Beetle. Washington being a mountainous state, Bundy drove her to a secluded spot where he stripped, raped and sodomised Lynda. This continued for hours, until the early signs of dawn, at which point Bundy strangled her dead. He would later come back to perform sexual acts on and rape her decomposing corpse.
Bundy’s next attack took place in the Washington capital city of Olympia, away from the police in Seattle who were looking for the attacker of two women. He had also changed his modus operandi; using his charm and good looks, he’d lure his victims to his car – usually parked in a dimly lit/isolated area – by pretending to be injured and needing their help, using a sling for his arm or crutches to seem genuine, or he’d act as an authority figure to get them to follow him. He’d then knock them out with a crowbar hidden in his car (which had its passenger seat removed), drive them to a remote location, mostly mountains, where he’d repeatedly rape the women while strangling them, and eventually kill them. Bundy’s satisfaction came from seeing the terror on his victims’ faces as he assaulted them. He was a necrophile who obsessed over the corpses of the women he killed, often returning later to rape and molest them again, until decomposition prevented it. He also kept a collection of polaroid photos of his victims, and some of their severed heads.
Donna Gail Manson, 19, a student at Evergreen State College, was likely taken this way. In the evening of 12th March, she was on campus heading to a jazz concert at the library when Bundy abducted her and drove her to a mountain. We don’t know the details of this attack as Bundy claimed he was drunk, so the night was a blur, though we can safely assume Donna went through a similar ordeal to Lynda Healy before her.
Not much is known about his next attack either. What we do know is that on 17th April, Bundy had driven to Ellensburg, WA and spent the day hunting for a victim on the Central Washington State College campus. Having chosen a victim, Susan Elaine Rancourt, 18, he approached her, with his arm in a sling, on campus in the late evening and pretended to need help. Once she was next to his car, he knocked her out with a crowbar hidden behind it and abducted her.
Less than three weeks later, on 6th May, Roberta Kathleen Parks, 20, a student at Oregon State University in Corvallis came across Bundy while waiting for her friends in the cafe on campus. It’s believed that after Bundy had talked her into accompanying him for a drink, they walked to his car and drove off. Roberta undoubtedly knew something was wrong when Bundy drove her out of the city and stopped by a field. He ordered her out of the car and raped her, before driving her across state lines to a mountain in Washington where he killed and disposed of her.
Bundy would do meticulous research before his attacks; he’d choose and observe a victim – always young, beautiful women – for days, and he’d plan everything from their abduction to the disposal of their bodies. He had no issue with driving long distances, even crossing state lines, to commit his heinous acts, and this worked to his advantage in evading the police, as they weren’t aware that they were dealing with an interstate serial killer until much later on. Before the murder of Roberta Parks, Bundy had killed a woman every month, though this pattern would now change in June.
He was in Washington again, in the city of Burien, to claim another victim on the night of 1st June. Brenda Carol Ball, 22, was out late that night drinking at a bar until it closed. Being quite drunk, and failing to get a ride, Brenda decided to hitch-hike home. It wasn’t long before a tan coloured VW Beetle stopped to let her in. Unfortunately, the driver was Bundy. The information we have on what happened from this point onwards came solely from Bundy himself; pretending there was a party at his place, Bundy took Brenda home where they drank and eventually had sex. However, Bundy was unsatisfied with the consensual sex, so once Brenda was asleep, he strangled her and raped her corpse. He stored her in his bedroom closet, and continued his sexual assault of her corpse in the days after, until the smell of her decaying body forced him to dispose of her.
He only waited ten days before another attack. He was back in Seattle, prowling the campus of UW, when he chose Georgann Hawkins, 18, for his next victim. On the night of 11th June, while walking back to her sorority house, Georgann was approached by the ‘injured’ Bundy, who wore a cast on his lower leg and was struggling to use his crutches while carrying a briefcase. Georgann helped the apparently harmless man carry his briefcase back to his car that was parked in a dimly lit car park. He knocked her out with the crowbar and drove her to location in Issaquah, WA where he raped and killed her.
A BOOSTED EGO
Bundy’s next attack, on 14th July in the Washington city of Sammamish, was both uncustomary and a clear indication of his boosted ego as a habitual murderer. He abducted and killed two women during the daytime; Janice Ann Ott, 23, and Denise Marie Naslund, 18. The fact that the police hadn’t caught him was the source of this through-the-roof confidence, leading to his recklessness in these attacks. Quite simply, Bundy thought the police were stupid.
It was a hot, summer day, and Lake Sammamish was extremely busy with thousands of people enjoying the weather. One of them, Janice, was sunbathing on the crowded beach when Bundy walked up to her, arm in a cast, asking for help with a sailboat at his parents’ house. It was the early afternoon, in broad daylight, with many others around, and the young man’s arm was injured. Given all of this, Janice must have thought he was harmless, as she picked up her stuff and followed him to his car. It was the last time anyone saw her alive. Bundy took her to a holiday home that he’d already scoped out, where he raped and beat her for hours. He then tied her up and went looking for another victim at Lake Sammamish.
Denise was leaving the bathroom at the beach and returning to her friends when Bundy tricked her into aiding him using the same sailboat ruse. Once he kidnapped her, he took her to where Janice was and continued his violent sexual assault of the women. He killed one in front of the other, and eventually, the other too.
The heat had now turned up. Bundy’s recklessness on 14th July had resulted in several witnesses who were able to describe him and his car in detail. It’s likely this was another reason (aside from his acceptance into law school) why he moved to Utah, where his next series of murders took place. This is believed to have begun with the rape and murder of an unidentified hitch hiker on 2nd September in Idaho state, followed by a similar attack on Nancy Wilcox, 16, on 2nd October in Holladay, UT. Neither of them were ever found.
Just a couple of weeks later, on 18th October, Bundy kidnapped Melissa Ann Smith, 17, the daughter of the police chief of Midvale, another suburb just a fifteen minute drive from Holladay. Melissa was taken on her way home from a restaurant around 10.30pm. Bundy had watched her at the restaurant and followed her, waiting for the most opportune time to make a move. He’d brutally beaten her head, raped and sodomised her, and then strangled her to death with her own stocking. Over the next few days, before she was found, he visited Melissa’s decaying corpse to wash her hair, put make up on her, and rape her again.
Bundy’s next murder made it the third one for the month of October. For Laura Ann Aime, 17, who lived in Lehi (less than twenty miles south of Melissa) Halloween 1974 would be her last. Laura had disappeared that night after leaving a diner, and much like Melissa before her, she’d been savagely beaten, raped and sodomised. He then strangled her to death with a stocking, and dumped her on a river bank in the Wasatch Mountains. When she was found, her naked corpse was so badly beaten that her father could only identify her by an old scar on her arm.
On 8th November, Carol DaRonch, 18, was at a mall in Murray, UT when officer Roseland of the Murray Police Department approached her and said that someone had tried to break into her car. She accompanied him to the car park and made sure nothing was missing, yet he still convinced her to go with him to the police station. Although she was apprehensive, she got into his VW Beetle and they drove off. Carol soon realised they weren’t going to the police station. Bundy drove until they came to a dark road, and stopped in front of a school. He tried to handcuff Carol, and when she fought back, he pulled out a gun. She managed to fall backwards out of the car, at which point Bundy came after her with the usual crowbar. He swung for her head but she blocked it with her arm and kicked him in the groin before running off. Bundy may have recaptured her if it wasn’t for the couple driving nearby, who stopped at the sight of a terrified girl in their headlights. Thus, Carol got away.
Carol’s escape from his clutches left Bundy unsatisfied and frustrated. He struck again that very same night, this time in Bountiful, UT. Debra Jean Kent, 17, was with her parents at a theatre production in her school when Bundy marked her as a target. As the play was running later than expected, Debra left earlier than her parents to pick up her brother and then return for her parents. Following her to the car park, Bundy knocked her out with the crowbar and abducted her. Apart from several witnesses who’d heard her screams, no one heard from Debra again.
There’s no record of Bundy attacking another woman until 12th January, though it’s hard to believe there were months that he didn’t. His new hunting ground was now Colorado as it was too risky to stay in Utah, where a massive manhunt was taking place. Although he was on their radar, the police didn’t seriously consider him a suspect, especially due to the lack of evidence and the fact that he had no criminal record. Bunday, who had a 'chameleon-like' ability to change his appearance, was very good at avoiding discovery using disguise. For example, he'd use glasses and fake facial hair at times, or speak in a British accent, which meant that eyewitness descriptions of him up and down the west coast were varied.
Caryn Eileen Campbell, 23, was staying at a ski resort in Aspen with her fiance and his two kids. In the evening of 12th January, they were sat in the hotel lounge when Caryn quickly popped up to their room on the second floor. Despite how busy the hotel was, during the well-lit walk from the elevator to her room, she somehow disappeared. The most likely scenario is that Bundy used a ruse to lure Caryn to his car before knocking her out and driving off with her. He stopped at a spot a few miles away to rape and kill her in his car by battering her head and stabbing her.
Vail is another ski resort town in Colorado that was cursed with a visit from Bundy on 15th March. While on her way to meet a friend at a bar, Julie Cunningham, 26, spotted Bundy walking with crutches and struggling to hold his ski boots. She helped him carry them to his car, and then Bundy abducted her and took her to a rural area where he raped and strangled her unconscious. What he did next was uncustomary, and an extra cruelty to Julie: while she was unconscious, he left one of the car doors open and hid, waiting for her to wake up; when she did, she ran out of the car, and Bundy allowed her a small head start before hunting her down.
After Julie’s murder, Bundy apparently reverted to his initial pattern of a murder a month. Not much is known about his next few murders, and the little we do know came from Bundy himself. On 6th April, in Grand Junction, CO, Bundy abducted Denise Lynn Oliverson, 25, while she cycled to her parents’ home. On 6th May, in Pocatello, ID, Bundy abducted Lynette Dawn Culver, 12, from her school at lunch time. He’d called her over to his car and somehow convinced her to get in. They drove to the Holiday Inn he was staying at, where he drowned her in the bath tub and raped her corpse. On 27th June, in Provo, UT, Bundy abducted Susan Curtis, 15, while she was at a youth conference at Brigham Young University.
Still undiscovered by the police, Bundy’s inflated ego had long given way to carelessness, and this landed him in a hell of a pickle one night. During the hours before dawn, on 16th August, Bundy was cruising around and hunting in a suburb of Salt Lake City, UT when the sight of a highway patrol car made him speed off. Unsurprisingly, the officer, Bob Hayward, became suspicious and went after him. Seeing that the passenger seat in Bundy’s car was lying on the back seats, Hayward searched the car and found a stash of items including an ice pick, flash light, gloves and strips of cloth, among others things. He arrested Bundy for the possession of burglary materials and evading an officer.
A SLIPPERY SAVAGE
Bundy was now the focus of Utah police. It was only a matter of time before he was linked to any of his victims, beginning with Carol DaRonch, the survivor. He was under constant police surveillance, with over a dozen investigators working to link him to other attacks he was a suspect in.
On 1st March 1976, Bundy was found guilty of the attack on Carol. However, he was a slippery savage; on 7th June 1977, several months after being additionally charged with the murder of Caryn Campbell in Aspen, CO, Bundy fled the court house during a break in his preliminary hearing by jumping out a window on the second floor. This escape soon led to the involvement of the FBI, and he was recaptured in just under a week.
Another six months later, on 30th December, Bundy managed to escape again, this time via a hole he’d made in the ceiling of his cell. He’d spent months planning and preparing for this escape, losing enough weight (16kg) to fit through the hole. It would be many hours before Bundy’s absence was noticed at the prison. Within a few days, Bundy had reached Tallahassee, Florida, and checked into a Holiday Inn – using the alias “Chris Hagen” – near Florida State University. Only sixteen days had passed since his escape when he resumed his old ways.
Bundy’s actions in the pre-dawn hours on 15th January was nothing short of a wild frenzy. This time, he’d chosen the Chi Omega sorority house, where dozens of young women lived. Once inside, he used a log to batter Margaret Elizabeth Bowman, 21, before strangling her dead with a pair of tights, dislocating her neck. Next, he went to the room of Lisa Levy, 20, and continued the savage attack. Aside from beating and strangling her, he’d bitten her nipple almost clean off, and he’d bitten her left buttock; he’d also raped and sodomised Lisa with a hair mist bottle, causing internal bleeding in her womb and other organs. Finally, Bundy went to the shared room of Karen Chandler, 21 and Kathy Kleiner, 21. He battered both women severely, leaving Karen with several facial bone fractures, a broken jaw, lost teeth, and a crushed finger, and Kathy with her jaw broken in in three places, an injured neck, and deep cuts on her shoulder. Unlike Margaret and Lisa, both women survived. The entire attack at Chi Omega took place in the space of fifteen minutes. Afterwards, Bundy disappeared into the night, though not for long.
Around 4am, he was in the house of another student, Cheryl Thomas, 21, who lived just minutes away from Chi Omega. After beating Cheryl with the log, he was going to rape and strangle her, but her friends next door had heard all the commotion and began calling out to her. Bundy instead masturbated and ran off before the police arrived. Cheryl survived too, although her jaw was broken, her skull was fractured in several places, her shoulder was dislocated, and she suffered nerve damage that left her with a permanent limp and hearing loss in one ear.
Over three weeks later, Bundy was still on the loose in Florida. He was now in Lake City, the home of his final victim, Kimberly Dianne Leach, 12. On 9th February, Bundy snatched her from school as she walked from one building to another. Despite holding up traffic with his stolen van, and the numerous eyewitnesses around, he was able to get away with the girl. He drove her dozens of miles away to Suwannee State Park, where he slit her throat as he raped her, and then dumped her corpse in a pig shed.
Less than a week later, Bundy was recaptured. After a notorious and lengthy trial, largely because he was a deceitful and unreliable piece of sh*t, who only confessed to being the killer of thirty women just hours before his execution. Of course, we'll never know the true number of women he killed, though from what I know of Bundy, I'd agree that the number is very likely much higher than that.