Ted Bundy is one of the most well-known serial killers in American History. He committed numerous horrific crimes in a short span of time and continued to surprise authorities with his reckless behavior even after he was convicted. People were enthralled with Ted Bundy's case, not just because of his surprising behaviors, but because of his image: Ted was the last person that people expected to be an evil rapist and killer. In the end, his punishment fit his crimes.
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Laura: Hi Everyone, welcome back to Killer Astrology, the Podcast. I’m your host, Laura, and today we’re talking about one of the most infamous killers of all time, the one and only Ted Bundy. Let’s hope he remains the “one and only” forever because God knows the last thing we the world needs right is another pompous murderous lunatic.
Ted Bundy has been kind of the center of attention in the true crime world since the 1970s, but there are so many twists, turns, and little details to this case that I feel like there’s always more to learn. I’m going to start from the beginning and go chronologically through his life, his murders, and his trial, and his demise. Then, as always, we’ll get into the astrology. Let’s get started.
Theodore Robert Cowell was born on November 24th, 1946 at 10:35PM in Burlington, Vermont. Having lived in the Burlington area myself, it’s hard for me to imagine that someone so heinous came from such a beautiful place, but it’s that way with a lot of killers, I guess. Life is about duality, and beauty can’t exist without darkness. And the truth is that there is a lot of pain in Vermont: poverty, homelessness, drugs, suicide...it exists everywhere, no matter what the surroundings are like. And Ted’s family’s pain was certainly not absent even before his birth. His mom, Eleanor Louise Cowell, was pregnant in the mid 1940s, and was unmarried at the time. This, of course, was not a highly desirable position to find yourself in as a young woman in that era. She lived in a shelter after Ted was born and to put it frankly, didn’t want to keep her baby.
She was planning on leaving him behind, but her father, Ted’s grandfather, Samuel Cowell, convinced her to keep him. She obliged and wound up moving to Philadelphia where her father and extended family were located. Although the family was together, it was certainly not a happy home.
The Burlington Free Press reports that in the early years of his life, Ted was likely abused by his grandfather who was known in his community to be a violent man with a bad temper. His abusive side was seen, but there may have been an even darker side to Samuel that his reputation didn’t reflect. It has been suggested that Ted’s grandfather raped his mother, which resulted in Ted’s conception. While that isn’t confirmed, it wouldn’t surprise me at all given Ted’s astrology and what seems like a long family history of trauma. Regardless of whether or not incest was occurring in the Cowell line, Ted’s grandfather did pass down an interest in dark sexual content from when Ted was very young, exposing him to graphic pornography. Whatever went on in Ted’s household, it affected him significantly and was noticeable in his behaviors. When Ted was around 3 years old, his aunt woke up to see him putting knives around her bed. It seems that the family didn’t seek guidance about this or any other strange behaviors from Ted, which is unfortunate because some psychological intervention could have really changed who he became, but then again it was the late 40s/early 50s and mental health was not at the top of everyone’s list.
Not long after the knife incident, Eleanor moved with Ted to Tacoma, Washington, where she soon married Johnnie Bundy. Even though Johnnie adopted Ted and changed his last name to match his, there was a lot of tension between Ted and his step father, and honestly, between Ted and the rest of his family. Ted despised the fact that he didn’t have a legitimate father, something he didn’t learn until sometime later in his childhood. Before he moved to Washington, he believed that his mother was his sister, and his grandparents were his parents. Imagine his surprise when he was presented with his birth certificate and saw the wood “unknown” next to Father. The illegitimacy of his birth wasn’t a secret in his family, and he received harsh mockery from his own cousins. The feeling of being unwanted likely only grew when his mother and step father had 4 more children as ted was growing up.
The legitimacy of his birth wasn’t the only thing Ted was teased for growing up. He also had a speech impediment, which didn’t go unnoticed in school. He is reported to have been a shy child and was even more withdrawn in high school, but he still really wanted to be liked...or at least he wanted to impress. One way he tried to gain attention was by having fancy things and creating a certain outward appearance, but his step father worked a blue collar job to support the family of 6, and Ted couldn’t always get what he wanted. This, of course, caused further tension in the relationship. Another way that Ted tried to impress those around him was by showcasing his intelligence throughout school. But he was really just an average student, at best, and his attempts to be the expert in his classes didn’t work out in his favor. He was a relatively average student. He did go on to college, though, starting at the University of Puget Sound in 1965. The actual timeline of his college years is fuzzy for me. He transferred twice and actually dropped out for a short time in 1968. But the important thing to note about his college experience is that in 1967, he started dating a classmate named Diane Edwards, who it seems he was very much in love with. She dumped him after she realized he was slacking off, as she wanted to be with someone with more focus and ambition.
It could have been, at least in part, Diane’s scorn that ultimately motivated Ted to get back into school. He wound up graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in psychology in 1972, and decided he wanted to go to law school. When he wasn’t accepted into any of his top choices, he started taking classes at the University of Puget sound. Somewhere around this time, he reunited with Diane Edwards, his first love. While he had used the years since their break up to find a steady track in life, the relationship didn’t last. The two broke up again in September of 1973, and it’s no coincidence in my mind that his first reported murder was just 4.5 months later.
On the morning of February 1st, 1974, Barbara Little awoke to the dreaded sound of an alarm clock that was ringing, and ringing, and ringing from beside her suite mate, Lynda’s bed. When the ringing became too incessant, she got up herself to turn the alarm off. That’s when she noticed that Lynda was not in bed. She didn’t worry too much, after all it’s not all that uncommon for a 21 year-old college senior to spend the night out every once in a while. But later that day, Lynda wasn’t at work, and she didn’t show up to a dinner she had planned with her family. After getting worried calls from Lynda’s boss and her parents, her suite mates decided to poke around her room. What they found was surprising and concerning: Lynda’s bedsheets were missing and what was left of them was bloodstained.
Although Lynda’s remains were found about a year later on top of Taylor mountain, and although Ted Bundy lived just three blocks away from Lynda at the time of her death, no one knew that Ted was the killer until he confessed to her murder in 1978. And this wasn’t the only one of Ted’s murders that stumped authorities in the mid 70s. Between February, 1974 and November of that same year, Ted got away with 10 murders: 8 in Washington and 2 in Utah. That’s one murder per month, if you do the math, and doesn’t include another victim named Karen Sparks, who managed to survive after Ted beat her unconscious in her bedroom on January 4th, 1974. None of these crimes were tied to him, even though Ted’s girlfriend at the time, Elizabeth, started putting the pieces together and called police three times in 1974 to share her suspicion about Ted’s involvement. Even with three separate tips from someone very close to him, Ted wasn’t caught.
Now, over the course of the past year, Ted had become increasingly confident with each murder he completed. He even lured a victim toward him in the parking lot of a Seattle beach, and used his real name to do it. This incident made his first name, his appearance, and the make and model of his car known to the police, but the crimes were still not tied to him. But things changed on November 8th, 1974, when Ted abducted a young woman named Carol Daronche **Carol's last name is pronounced incorrectly in the episode. Daronche is correct** at a Utah shopping mall. He approached her in the mall and impersonated a police officer, stating that someone was trying to break into her car, and that he would drive her to the police station to make a report. Carol got into Ted’s car, but the police station was not their final destination. Ted drove her away from the shopping mall in broad daylight and took her to a school parking lot where he attacked her in his vehicle. Remarkably, Carol managed to escape and shared a description of Ted’s vehicle, which we know was a tan Volkswagen beetle, to the police.
Now, at this point, Ted knew that he was in hot water, and he decided to run. He fled to Colorado, and didn’t even try to keep a low profile. While he was in Colorado in January of 1975, Ted took the life of Caren Campbell, a young nurse who was on a weekend skiing trip with her family. He then killed four more women in March, April, May, and June of that year, 2 more in Colorado and 2 in Idaho. One of the Idaho victims was just 12 years old.
Still, he didn’t raise any eyebrows until one August night when he was driving on a Utah highway and police attempted to pull him over for a minor traffic violation. I say attempted, because Ted, with all his confidence and impulsivity, took the cops on a brief chase before finally giving in. Police searched his vehicle and found suspicious items, including gloves, a ski mask, and handcuffs, in his car. But when he got back to the station, police decided they didn’t have enough evidence to hold him, and he was let go. Thankfully, he wasn’t free for too much longer, because police began putting the piece together in the case of Carol Daronche’s abduction. They asked him to be a part of a lineup in September of 1975, and Carol identified him immediately. He was arrested in October, put on trial in 1976, and then convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison. But police weren’t finished with him yet.
In September of 1975, around the time that Ted participated in the police lineup, he had sold his Volkswagon Beatle in an attempt to cover his murder crime. But police were able to retrieve it from the new owner and sweep it for evidence. They found hairs from multiple women and started tying him to their murders, starting with Caryn Campbell, the first woman he killed in Colorado.
Now, beginning with Ted’s arrest in September, the media started to play a crucial role in his case. He had multiple interviews with news outlets where he asserted his innocence, shared his legal knowledge, and won people over with his smile.
People were shocked that this “All American Boy”, a term the NYT would later pointedly use to describe Ted, could be pegged not only for abduction, but for a series of such brutal rapes murders. But this is one of America’s longtime problems: we’ve been trained to judge books by their covers. And this cover happened to be especially attractive and persuasive.
After the abduction trial was over, Ted was serving his sentence. But he was also preparing for another trial: A murder trial. Ted told prison staff that he wanted to review legal information to prepare for his case. To do this, he was allowed to use the library above the courthouse for his studies...and he was, for the most part, left alone to study. This is how he managed to escape from jail in June of 1977: by hiding in the library and jumping out of the second-story window, and then running, broken ankle and all, out into the Colorado wilderness. He managed to survive in the woods for 5 days before he was discovered and taken back to prison.
But he only remained in Jail for 5 more months, until December of 1977 when he escaped again, by gauging a hole in the ceiling of his jail cell, climbing through, and then walking out of the building. Prison staff didn’t notice his absence until the following day, which gave him enough time to get far, far away. He managed to get a ride to the airport and bought a plane ticket to Chicago. From Chicago, he took a train to Michigan, and then stole a car which he drove to Atlanta, Georgia. From there, he was able to board a bus to Tallahassee, Florida, where he stayed for two months and, in true Ted Bundy fashion, picked up where he left off with his murders. In January, 1978, he raped and killed killed two Florida State University students inside their sorority house, where he also beat two other young women, who managed to survive. He has also been tied to the killing of another young girl in February of that year.
Shortly after these murders, Ted was caught again: he was arrested for driving a stolen vehicle while driving erratically in Pensacola. Unsurprisingly, he was driving his stolen vehicle with fraudulent documents. It was two days before Ted finally gave in and told cops who he really was. Theodore Robert Bundy, serial rapist, murderer, and prison escapee.
Because it was too risky to move him out of state, Ted spent the rest of his life in Florida, where he underwent multiple trials for his crimes. Again, his case received media attention and was widely televised, which incited loads of public interest. Ted Bundy wound up having groupies of sorts, women who were intrigued by him or attracted to him and wanted to meet him. Women even came dressed up to his trial in hopes that he would notice them.
But, much to their dismay, I’m sure, Ted had eyes for someone else. Her name was Carol Ann Boone, and he had known her from his time in Washington. She came to his trial and was completely convinced of his innocence. The two became romantic, while he was in the middle of his trial. And probably because Ted took advantage of having someone on his side, the two got married while Ted was on trial. That didn’t change his sentence, though. For most of this time, Ted had been representing himself in courts after disagreements with his court appointed lawyer, and really made a spectacle of himself in the process. In the end, his erratic behavior did little to help his case. He was ruled guilty and received the death sentence for his killings.
Going to jail and being put on death row didn’t get in the way of Ted’s and Carol’s relationship. Carol came to visit Ted on a regular basis, sometimes smuggling drugs on her way in, and together the two had a daughter. I can’t find any information on their daughter, Rosa, and that’s probably a good thing, because I can’t imagine going through life as Ted Bundy’s daughter. After Rosa was born, Ted was, of course, still in jail. But in 1984, he tried to escape again by cutting through the bars in his cell window. Prison staff found mirrors in his cell that they suspected he was using to escape, and they put a stop to it.
It doesn’t seem that Ted ever tried to escape again. Instead, he wound up taking the next 5 years to confess to his crimes. He spoke with FBI agents to tell his story and provide insight into how murderers think.
If you haven’t yet seen the Ted Bundy tapes on Netflix, I strongly suggest you watch it. You’ll hear Ted’s own account of his early life and his motivations. But there’s another way to find out what made him tick. You guest it, astrology. Let’s go there now.
Theodore Robert Cowell was born on November 24th, 1946 at 10:35PM in Burlington, Vermont.
He has a Sagittarius sun, Sagittarius moon, and Leo Rising. His Sagittarius moon is in 17 degrees of the sign, and if you’re caught up on the podcast, you may notice that this is very close to both Ed Gein’s and John Haigh’s 19 degree sagittarius moon. There is a reason for this trend.
The first decan is always ruled by the sign’s natural ruler. But the second and third decans have a secondary ruler. This means that any planet situated between the 10th and 30th degree of a sign will take on a slighty different expression. An expression that’s colored by the secondary ruler.
Both 17 and 19 degrees fall within the second decan of Sagittarius, and the ruler of that decan is Mars. Sagittarius is already free-spirited, confident, and expansive, and when you combine that energy with the impulsive, warrior energy of mars, you get a more intense “burn it down now, deal with the consequences later” type of energy.
Ted’s Moon was ruled by this energy, just like Ed Gein and John Haigh. The moon represents what makes us feel comfortable and at home. With moons in the second decan of Sagittarius, all three of these killers found solace in spontaneous expression of impulse. When Ted committed murder, he did so with this explosive expression of...well, evil. And it makes him feel alive and “healed” in some way, and then he’s drawn to seek out that expansion further, so he does it again and again and again.
Now all three of these killers had OTHER things going on in their charts that were indicators of violence. For Ted, he had a sagittarius stellium, which included mars (more of that tendency for impulsivity), and his south node, his old tendencies. It was natural for ted to express himself in this spontaneous way, and the abundance of planets in the sagittarius made it harder for him to change his patterns.
So I think there’s three different ways that mercury retrograde can operate in the chart of a liar. 1 is that the boundaries of truth and false can get blurred, and people may lie without realizing they’re doing it, or without understanding the impact of their lie. 2 is that the gemini energy of mercury may be really strong, and people may be really easily able to see both sides of a situation, so much so that they understand that nothing is either true or false. The 3rd is that people may have a better understanding of how people communicate. They might understand how people think and communicate so well that they can use their knowledge to manipulate. I think this was Ted Bundy’s situation.
Another thing we notice about Ted Bundy is that his Saturn and his Pluto are both in the 12th house in a 5 degree conjunction. They’re both retrograde. These placements are really important for understanding Ted’s actions and his impact on society. To gain that understanding I need to explain the nature of the 12th house, which I will do by presenting an analogy.
Let’s pretend you’re at a company holiday party, and your work has decided to do a grab bag. Let’s say you work for a big corporation, and your department of 100 people all show up. Each person has chosen a gift based on their own preferences, financial status, previous experiences, etc, etc. And they drop that gift that’s riddled with their own unique perspective and experience into the bag. That bag now contains everyone’s gifts and everything they signify. That bag is the 12th house in astrology.
Now it’s one thing that this bag is at the party, but the next step is to play the game. Some people choose not to pick a gift, and that’s okay. Those people don't have planets in their 12th house. But they're still affected by the 12th house -- they all came to the party and were exposed to the bag. Other people have made the brave decision to reach blindfolded into the bag and pull something out. They’ve decided to own something--to take something that was given by someone else and use it in their own way. Whatever they pick out becomes their 12th house planet.
So you see, every planet in the 12th house is the representation of so much more than meets the eye. People with 12th house planets have chosen to take something that was shared and make it their own, to bring something up from the depths of the unknown and into the material world, into their life.
Ted chose Saturn, the planet of social norms and structures and laws, and Pluto, the planet of hard truths, death, destruction, and rebirth.
So Ted was destined to learn about these themes in his lifetime; to play them out somehow. To take them from the realm of the unseen and bring them into the open. He certainly did that, but in a way that was harmful to many others and to himself.
Having 12th house planets is a big responsibility that requires introspection, meditation, spirituality. With fire signs galore in his 4th house, his psychology, settling down enough to get in touch with these parts of himself just wasn’t going to happen. Ted didn’t know how, and he certainly wasn’t taught those skills. We all have agency over how we use our energies, but we can only use the tools we’ve acquired; the strategies we’re taught. Ted had no strategies. His life began in a place of manipulation and illusion, and he was never taught a different way. So, his 12th house energies played out in a manner that followed suit.
It’s very important to remember that Ted’s actions, horrible as they were, did have a profound impact on law enforcement. He gave invaluable information about his motivations to the FBI, who were then able to use the information to understand and catch other killers. Whatever is in the 12th house is put back into the collective in some way...because the 12th house contains everything. Both personal and collective forces. So in a vile way, Ted fulfilled his destiny. Is that to say that he wont have some intense karma to deal with in his next life? Absolutely not.
By the end of his life, Ted killed at least 36 women; probably more. His astrology chart represents challenges he dealt with that moved him in that direction, but it doesn’t excuse his behavior. We all have the capacity to overcome our challenges and turn them into positives. That didn’t happen for Ted. And it didn’t happen to the killer in our next episode, either. Tune in next week for the scoop on another notorious criminal. Until then, remember: people may lie, but the stars never do.
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