“Ted Bundy: Memories Of The Beast” has been published at the end of 2022 by Grim Reality Publishing and is one of the latest releases of author Fabien Richard, in collaboration with E.J. Hammon, blogger and true-crime researcher – the owner of Confessions Of A Bundyphile – an opinion based blog of Ted Bundy’s psychology and crimes, and one of the first Ted Bundy blogs I have read. This true-crime book marks Hammon’s writing debut, in addition to various podcasts and true-crime articles that she wrote throughout her career. According to the official description, the book includes never-before seen pictures and narratives describing their subjects’ time in the presence of serial-killer Ted Bundy and more than 100 pages of testimonies and previously unpublished photos that tell the incredible stories of those affected by the crimes. Take a dip dive into this new true-crime release, as we explore some of the interviews, the photos included in the publication and those details insufficiently covered in this “Ted Bundy: Memories Of The Beast” book review.
According to the writers, “Ted Bundy: Memories Of The Beast” includes stories surrounding photographs that hold a special significance to law enforcement professionals, survivors, witnesses and criminologists directly or indirectly involved in the cases. For such a publication, the focus is on the photographs as much as it is on the information provided. The fact that the images included are not vivid or in a high quality format, makes it difficult to distinguish most of the characteristics of the locations and crime scenes, unless your are familiar with each case. Recently, the authors mentioned that they are “working on a new version of the collector’s book, in paperback format and with colour photos”. Considering that most of the photographs have been already available online before being included in this true-crime book, it is likely that more information will be added in the collector’s edition, apart from the updated quality of photography.
Book description: “Can a man who howls under the moon (detail unconfirmed) after killing one of his victims be no longer described as human, but as a beast? In their quest to delve into the mind of Ted Bundy, E.J. Hammon and Fabien Richard had to hear the tales from the mouths of his surviving victims, of the investigators who tracked him down, of the lawmen who sought to convict him, and of those who trapped this animal inside a cage before his final punishment, death by electrocution.”
“Ted Bundy: Memories Of The Beast” includes more than 15 interviews, making it “one of the most detailed documents ever compiled on this case. From anecdotes shared by one of his friends of the Mormon church to the moving story recounted by a survivor of the Chi Omega massacre, this book is a must-read for researchers and avid readers of true crime.” It has given voice to people involved in the Ted Bundy’s investigation for the first time in comprehensive interviews and it provides detailed accounts of FBI investigation procedures into high-profile serial murder cases by FBI member of Behavioural Analysis Unit – Mark Safarik – as well as many legal aspects of the forensics used in Ted Bundy’s Chi Omega trial, shared by Larry Simpson – Florida Assistant State Attorney, prosecutor Bob Deckle, and Ken Katsaris. Apart from the prominent names mentioned earlier, both authors achieved a tremendous task interviewing the participants, in particular Charlene Harmon, who’s father – Al Carlisle – was one of the most renown clinical psychologists, dedicating 50 years interviewing and studying serial killers. After working 20 years in the psychology department of the Utah State Prison, he evaluated Ted Bundy following his arrest in 1975, listing his findings in his book: “Violent Mind: The 1976 Psychological Assessment of Ted Bundy”, a must-read for true-crime researchers. Charlene states in her book interview with Fabian Richard, that her goal is to continue her father’s work and research “so we can help other psychologists continue looking for the pattern. One day, we may find a way to get men like Ted and others the help they need before they rape and before they kill.”
Worth mentioning is the first-time interview with Debbie Ciccarelli, who was sharing a duplex with Cheryl Thomas in Tallahassee in 1978, the accounts of Karen Chandler – one of the survivors – in her discussion with E.J. Hammon and all the insight into the perception of women as subservient to the patriarchy in the 1970 provided by Florida Atlantic University professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies – Jane Caputi, who is also author of several books about feminism (“The Age of Sex Crime” or “Goddesses and Monsters: Women, Myth, Power and Popular Culture”) and creator of two educational documentaries (“The Pornography of Everyday Life” and “Feed the Green: Feminist Voices for the Earth”). However, there is one author mentioned in “Ted Bundy: Memories Of The Beast”, publisher of several Bundy related true-crime books, who only chose to share details previously made available in his works, instead of providing any type of insight or new information, without endorsing the value of being featured in this new true-crime publication.
On a personal note, I am not a supporter of the Death Penalty for various reasons: it is irrevocable, often arbitrary, and I consider the policy of state-authorized killings to be immoral. Additionally, most of the capital crimes are committed by the emotionally-damaged or mentally ill individuals, unable to fully appreciate the consequences of their acts. Robert Hare’s creation of the PCL-R helped clinicians discover that psychopaths, such as Ted Bundy, have reduced grey matter in their frontal lobes, increased striatal volume, abnormal symmetry in the hippocampus, a larger corpus callosum, a lack of structural integrity in the uncinate fasciculus, abnormal activity in the anterior cingulated cortex, and deformations within the amygdala. Deficiencies or deformities in these areas of the brain can impact hormonal balances and output for the rest of the body, despite the ability to distinguish right from wrong and to understand the consequences of their actions.
Furthermore, neuroscientist James Fallon has found that people with psychopathy, sociopathy and other serious personality disorders are basically coded for aggression and violence, low emotional empathy, low anxiety, low reactivity, and so on. Those disorders can remain relatively mild if someone had a good upbringing but if you bring a dad with PTSD, a dominating mother, or abuse into the picture, all bets are off. “We all know people who are abused early in life who don’t turn out this way, but they may not have the genes that make them susceptible in the first place. So, it’s not just the early environment by itself. And it’s not just the gene. It’s the interaction of these two that predisposes you to these radical, aggressive, antisocial behaviours.” The interview was published by The Rolling Stones magazine, describing 1970s as the “golden age of serial murder”. This deepens the insight offered by British forensic psychotherapist Dr. Gwen Adshead: “the work in recent decades on childhood attachments, which builds on the work of Freud, provides empirical evidence that there is a connection between a child’s early relationship with their parents and the way in which their mind develops.” Her work – “The Devil You Know: Encounters In Forensic Psychiatry” – reveals some powerful lessons about human nature. It describes how the motive behind most acts of harmful cruelty tends to be idiosyncratic. Finding that motive, the reason behind each crime “requires time and an opening of the mind, a willingness to look and a little light.(…) Seeking to comprehend them and gain new insights about ourselves will require going where they walk, seeing what they see.” I suppose it does take a radical kind of empathy to encounter the individual behind the statistics or behind the term of “monster”.
These aspects are not fully covered in “Ted Bundy: Memories Of The Beast”, as the law enforcement professionals interviewed by the authors voiced their opinions in favour of the Capital Punishment, as a means of retributive justice, in order to balance out the crime with the punishment.
Nevertheless, the publication “is an attempt to show the effects of Bundy’s violence and how he changed law enforcement and, most importantly, the women whose lives he shattered,” by compiling detailed, accurate information from each of the interviews conducted, so much necessary for both true-crime experts and researchers into Bundy’s case.
The book pays tribute to victims, survivors, and honours the work accomplished by law enforcement professionals involved in the life and crimes committed by Ted Bundy.
*Note: this is not a paid or gifted advert. As a researcher into Ted Bundy’s psychopathology, you can read my latest articles in the True-Crime section.
*Photos location: Esquires Coffee