When I was researching for Blood & Ghosts, I looked at several Internet reports about the ghostly visitations of serial killers. I wasn’t surprised to see all the claims about sightings of Ted Bundy's ghost, since even three decades after his cross-country murders he remains the most popular of all American serial killers.
Just before his execution in January 1989, Bundy confessed to killing at least 30 young women in six states, and hinted at more. He was educated, charismatic and charming, and he used every trick he could think of to prevent his execution in Florida’s electric chair.
He gave interviews to influential people whom he believed would see the value in keeping him alive. During his final hours, he even pleaded with God. However, no effort saved him, not even his promise to provide more victim names and locations. It seems that he continues to linger.
In 2001, a guard from the Florida State Prison where Bundy spent his final days told a reporter that shortly after Bundy was put to death, several guards saw his ghost sitting casually on the electric chair. The guard described Bundy’s expression as a “knowing smile” – as if he knew something important about the afterlife that they didn’t. If a guard tried to approach him, he’d disappear.
The man telling the story said that there were so many sightings at one point that the warden couldn’t find anyone willing to enter the execution chamber alone.
Bundy also showed up around his holding cell on death row. To some guards, he’d say, “Well, I beat all of you, didn’t I?” Presumably, he meant he’d beaten them to the “other side.”
However, his spirit apparently travels. It’s reportedly been seen around the Chi Omega sorority house where he committed the murders that earned him two of his death sentences. In addition, he’s been spotted on the porch of the building in Tallahassee where he’d rented a room under a false name.
A few mediums claim to have channeled him, and one told me that Bundy’s interested in redeeming himself by assisting her to solve murders. There has yet to be a police report that he's offered such help, but that would be quite a story!
Then there are the paranormal incidents in Washington State. Last year, The Puget Sound Trail (the student paper of the University of Puget Sound) reported that Bundy shows up there, where he’d once attended classes. In what sounds more like a hoax in poor taste, the feature states that students call him, “Teddy the Friendly Ghost,” as well as “Best Dead Friend Forever (BDFF).” Supposedly, he accompanies them on late night walks.
By Ouija board, this article continues, Bundy resisted their pet names. He also spelled out several spooky messages: “I. C.A.N.N.O.T. T.O.U.C.H. T.H.E.M. S.O. M.A.N.Y. T.O. K.I.L.L. A.N.D. I.C.A.N.N.O.T. T.O.U.C.H. T.H.E.M. I.T. I.S. M.Y. H.E.L.L.”
The author quotes Bundy, via the Board, as making plans to join equally infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer: “T.H.A.T.S. W.H.E.R.E. T.H.E. B.I.G. T.I.M.E. K.I.L.L.I.N.G. I.S.”
So much for his desire to redeem himself.
The guards’ stories are the most intriguing because, reportedly, Bundy was quite overcome when led to his execution. One witness described his faltering steps and look of desperation. Why, then, would he show up in a place that had so disturbed him? To show the guards that he’d won, after all?
Bundy’s remains were cremated and, at his request, scattered in the mountainous wilderness in Washington State. If his ghost is anywhere, it’s probably there, where he’d often sit and gloat over decomposing bodies.
Much ghostlore holds that, except for sudden deaths, spirits tend to gravitate toward places that were meaningful to them rather than hang around in places where they died. Sometimes these locations coincide, but in Bundy’s case, he apparently set up his afterlife to mirror his tendency to travel.