(Refinery 20) Why Do Women Fall In Love With Serial Killers Like Ted Bundy?
According to Stephen Michaud, the co-author of Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer, Ted received countless letters containing marriage proposals and pictures (some of them nude). Each day of his trial, women – referred to as “groupies” – would show up to the courtroom with their hair parted in the middle and wearing hoop earrings, on the assumption that this was the style worn by his victims. Some even dyed their hair brown to match the hair of those he murdered.
In 1980, while still on trial, Ted married one of his admirers. He was executed for his crimes in 1989.
Ted Bundy is the most famous case but, over and over again, throughout history, “bad” men have won themselves legions of female fans. Jeffrey Dahmer, who committed the murders and post-mortem mutilations of 17 young men and boys, received love letters and gifts from women. Richard Ramirez, a serial killer dubbed the “Night Stalker” who raped and tortured over 25 victims and caused the deaths of at least 13, also married one of his many female admirers.
A condition called hybristophilia exists to explain those who are sexually aroused by the object of their affection’s wrongdoing. The internet has perpetuated this term and today, there’s even a hybristophilia tag on Tumblr. Clicking on it opens a gateway to hundreds of posts exalting Gary Ridgway, the “Green River Killer”, Richard Ramirez, Charles Manson and, among others, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the teenage perpetrators of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. Some users from the community have even made their own memes. Because, 2017.
Hybristophilia is often referred to as “Bonnie and Clyde syndrome” after the famous crime duo who, along with their gang, were responsible for at least nine deaths and countless robberies. Bonnie was an unusual criminal and, before meeting Clyde and joining him in a life of crime, was a prize-winning student. It was noted by a fellow gang runnerthat Bonnie herself never fired a weapon and, more tellingly, had “no voice in the decisions” made by Clyde. She remained devoted to Clyde until their deaths in 1934.
Why did you want to write this book?
I’ve been drawn to true crime stories since I was a pre-teen. The stories that attract me most tend to be those committed by people from relatively normal, non-abusive upbringings; the ‘How?’ and ‘Why?’ in these cases is more interesting and mysterious to me. I’ve found myself fascinated by female criminals for similar reasons; there’s that sense of unlikelihood, since women – for various reasons – are less associated with crime, especially violent crime.