The Pacific Northwest Years
I was a typical dumbass 16 year old doing typical dumbass 16 year old shit when Ann Rule’s “Stranger Beside Me” came out. Reading about the victims, some who were my age and younger, totally freaked me out. That’s an understatement. I went full on paranoid – of every male. Everywhere. Thanks to Ted, to this very this day I carry an array of Kubatons.
So my curiosity got the best of me when I decided to watch Netflix’s “Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes”. And I gotta say – I have never bought into this Phantom Prince Handsome Intelligent Stranger crap the media always uses to describe this despicable piece of shit. I never have. And I think I’ve read, devoured, viewed and studied EVERYTHING about this monster. I even wrote papers about him in sociology and psychology classes. You know, when I was in college. Something Ted flunked – TWICE. Just sayin. No I was not beguiled by him. I was trying, very diligently, to wrap my brain around how a seemingly normal person could murder complete strangers. And how to make sure it never, ever, happened to me.
Thing is, there was nothing normal about Ted. Handsome, articulate or intelligent HE WAS NOT. His grades were mediocre (he flunked psychology and law), he was a nail biting nose picker with crooked teeth and a pointy nose. He had a speech impediment and was a petty thief. He sleached off his girlfriend. He lived in a rooming house and drove a VW bug, for fucks sake.
Dude had no game. At all
But it’s the girls I think about the most, you know? They had families and friends who loved them, they had lives and were full of hopes and dreams like all of us and yet we know very little about them. Why are their stories not being told? Why do we focus so much on the animal and not the victims?
Lynda Ann Healy
January 4, 1974
Lynda had parents who loved her, a brother and sister who adored her – and her last day of life was spent shopping for a special dinner she was preparing for their visit. Turns out the Monster was a bagger at the same Safeway market Lynda shopped at. They lived in the same neighborhood. Attended the same university.
Lynda is pretty much known as the first victim of the Monster. She was 21 years old, a senior majoring in Psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle, and lived in an off campus house with several roommates. She wanted to be a teacher.
She was also the ski reporter for a local radio station.
Kathleen McChesney, a detective with the King County Police who would later investigate the disappearance, said she remembered the morning Lynda vanished because she was a regular listener of her morning ski report and recalled someone on air saying Lynda hadn’t come in to work that day.
“That was very unusual because she was a person you relied on five days a week to tell you what was going on in the mountains,” McChesney said in the docu-series.
While sleeping, Lynda was beaten into a coma, undressed, redressed and carried away from her basement bedroom by the Monster.
Donna Gail Manson
March 12, 1974
Donna was a free spirited student at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. She came from a musical family – her mother, Marie, loved music, which she taught at the Bellevue school district. Her father, Lyle, received his Masters in Music Education from Central Washington University in Ellensburg and was a musical teacher with Seattle schools. Lyle and Marie also spent several years with the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra.
Their only daughter, Donna, was a tiny girl, barely 100 pounds, introverted, kinda gothy before goth was a thing. She hitch hiked, got high, played the flute, wrote poetry, struggled with depression and dabbled in the occult. Only 19 years old, she was always up for adventure, sometimes disappearing for days at a time without telling anyone. So when she vanished while walking from her dorm to a jazz concert across campus – 6 days passed before anyone reported her disappearance. Her body has never been found.
Susan Elaine Rancourt
April 14, 1974
Susan was an 18 year old freshman at Central Washington University in Ellensburg when she was snatched by the Monster, who’s ‘game’ was wrapping his arm in a flimsy sling, dropping his books all over the place and begging for help loading them into his car.
Susan is remembered by all who knew her as a very nice, extremely trusting person who would help anyone in need – but we’ll never know if she went on her own, or was taken by complete surprise. Oddly enough after she vanished, several students came forward with stories of being approached by the bumbling Monster, whom they described as creepy, disheveled & “black eyed“. Seems they sensed the evil in their midst and lived to tell their tales. I, myself, see absolutely nothing wrong with rudely rebuffing the advances of a creep for the sake of survival – fuck you and your broken arm, I’m out.
But then – I don’t trust anybody.
Below is a heartbreaking clip of Susan’s mother, Vivian, and sister, Judy (courtesy of 194fish)
Roberta Kathleen Parks
May 6, 1974
Kathy was a 21 year old majoring in Religion at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, 260 miles south of Seattle, when the Monster got her.
On the night Kathy vanished, she was super bummed. She’d received a call that morning from her sister, telling her of their father’s near fatal heart attack. Her boyfriend in Louisiana was growing impatient with her indecision about their future. And she was failing geography.
Kathy was a bit of a broody girl who enjoyed going on solo late night walks to clear her head. It was during one of these midnight strolls that she crossed paths with the Monster.
Brenda Carol Ball
May 31, 1974
At 22, Brenda was the oldest of the Monster’s Pacific Northwest victims. She was also also a free spirit who enjoyed hanging out at the Flame Tavern, a seedy little beer joint in Burien, Washington.
On Memorial Day weekend of 1974, she’d gone to the Flame alone. She lived in the area and knew it like the back of her hand. She had no cause for concern and, on that Friday evening, she appeared her usual good-natured self to others at the bar.
She stayed until 2:00 a.m., closing time, and had a tough time finding a ride home. But Brenda was a hitchhiker and while some patrons stated they’d seen her thumbing for rides during the early morning of Saturday, June 1, others mentioned seeing her chatting with the Monster who wore a sling on his arm. Then she was gone.
She was known to be an impulsive adventurer; it was assumed she’d met up with other friends or taken off elsewhere for the weekend. Because her life was mostly unstructured and largely unconventional, nearly three weeks passed before her roommates reported her missing.
June 11, 1974
I’ve always thought that Georgann’s disappearance was Seattle’s wake up call about the Monster in their midst – even though the missing women were still considered just that – missing. Back in the 1970’s, police agencies weren’t big on sharing information with each other and besides, they didn’t have high tech gear like computers, the internet, DNA or even fax machines. Rotary phones and hard scrabble detective work was about it.
Goergann, a student at the University of Washington and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, walked to her boyfriend’s dormitory on the night of June 10, 1974. His residence was six houses down from her sorority house. Her roommate became worried when George (as she was known) never made back to their room. When the police were called and there was still no sign of George, immediate action was taken, mainly because of the disappearances of other young girls in the area.
During her senior year of High School, George was named a Princesses the court of the Daffodil Festival (a yearly regional festival and royalty leadership program that promotes education, public spirit, and being involved with the community of Washington).
Being dubbed a “Daffodil Princesses”, meant George frequently traveled around the state of Washington to attend public events, meeting young children, signing autographs, riding parade floats, and giving speeches. One of the biggest highpoints of her reign as a Daffodil Princess was when she took a trip to the state Legislature and addressed the Washington lawmakers.
George last saw her mother in May of 1974 when she visited for Mother’s Day. She had planned to spend the summer of 1974 working for Pierce County in Tacoma so she could support herself during the school year.
During his death row confessions, the Monster claimed that he saw George walking behind her sorority house during the early morning hours of June 11. Wearing his fake cast, he asked her for assistance with his briefcase – then cracked her skull with a crowbar.
Janice Anne Blackburn Ott and Denise Marie Naslund
July 14, 1974
Okay THIS is the event that put the Monster on National Alert. What’s crazy to me is that it’s always been written up how “bold” the Monster was by managing to snatch two women within hours of each other. In broad daylight. Where over 40,000 people were enjoying a rare and glorious sunshiny day at Lake Sammamish State Park. Stupid, yes. Bold? Not so much.
Janice, a newlywed married less than a year, lived with her roommate in Issaquah while her husband, Jim, was completing Med school in California. She was known for her bubbly personality, sunny disposition and cruising around town on her yellow 10 speed.
Janice arrived at the lake around noonish, peddled her bike to an empty spot near the lake, stripped down to her bikini and was in the midst of catching some rays when the Monster caught her eye. They chatted for a few minutes (he invited her to go sail boating with him) then, for what ever reason, Jan decided to up and leave with him. She was never seen again.
A few hours later, 18 year old Denise was stirring from a drug induced nap. Sunnin’ at the lake with her boyfriend, she was feeling a bit snippish, saying nothing to him when she abruptly got up and headed for the restrooms, never to return.
It’s ridiculously easy to vanish in a crowd because nobody’s paying much attention to two women willingly walking out of the park with a Monster in a sling.
Here’s some old footage from that day – just to get an idea of the crowd size. You can even see the Monster’s VW!
(Video Courtesy of Captain Borax’s True Crime and More)
Yeah it’s easy to smack our heads and wonder “what in fucks sake were these girls thinking, leaving the park with a perfect stranger???” Well times were different in the 70’s. Way different. It was all about free love, sex, drugs and expression. Besides, with out the internet, news traveled very slowly, there’s a good chance neither girl was even aware of the other missing women. Even if they were – nobody ever thinks something like that could happen to them.
So what did happen to them? Well I’m about to get real graphic so be forewarned –
He beat them. Split their heads open. He raped them. Sodomized them. Cut off their heads. Fucked their dead and rotting corpses. Repeatedly. Even maggots couldn’t deter him. He took great pleasure inflicting these horrors upon them. He discarded their broken bodies in the woods. He destroyed their families. He brought unimaginable pain, anguish and utter devastation to countless people who loved these women.
The Monster went on to murder over 30 more women in 7 different states. He was capture in Florida after killing two sorority sister and a 12 year old child.
I remember Ted crying and sniveling like a little bitch in the days leading up to his 1989 execution – trying to trade body locations (many of his victims have never been found) for a few extra years of life. Governor Martinez didn’t budge and Florida flipped the switch. Zapped ol Ted like a housefly.
Ted Is Dead. That’s What I Said. Here’s His Head. And Legs.
So when watching this new crop of Bundy flicks – try to remember the vile, predatory monster he really truly was. He got away with it NOT because he was handsome, or witty, or even half assed articulate, but by smashing women on the back of their heads, stuffing them in his car and whisking them off to remote locations.
He should be remembered as a cautionary tale.