Horrific new Ted Bundy revelation
Elizabeth Kendall has released a memoir titled 'Phantom Prince, My Life With Ted Bundy' which details her intimate life with Ted Bundy, and it's truly chilling.
Ted Bundy is a name we're all familiar with under tragic circumstances. Bundy brutally raped and murdered dozens of women across America during the 1970s, and possibly earlier. But unlike most serial killers who are quickly identified as being odd, anti-social or aggressive, Bundy presented as your average, all-American man.
He had a long-term girlfriend in Elizabeth Kendall (Liz) with a daughter of her own named Molly, who he gladly stepped in for as a surrogate father. They enjoyed nice dinners, days out on the lake and happy holidays filled with Christmas trees and laughter. They had a great sex life, friends to go out drinking with and their parent's approved their relationship. What could possibly go wrong?
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As we now know, a lot could go wrong, and it did. Despite Bundy being sentenced to death by electric chair in 1989, our fascination with him only seems to grow. Due to his charismatic personality and multiple escapes from prison, Bundy's trial became somewhat of a media circus, and it was only a matter of time before Liz and her family were implicated.
Soon, Liz came to the realisation that the media was going to spin its own version of her story unless she took control of the narrative herself. Her book 'Phantom Prince, My Life With Ted Bundy' is her way of doing so. Told from her own perspective, with an afterword from her daughter, Molly Kendall. The book has since been updated in a 2020 edition which includes a new introduction, preface and afterword. Here, she updates us on her emotional wellbeing and the progress she's made.
"I still cared deeply for Ted when I wrote the original book," Elizabeth writes in the new introduction. "It took years of work for me to accept who he was and what he had done. I still felt lingering shame that I had loved Ted Bundy. It was healing for me when women started telling their stories of sexual violence and assault as part of the MeToo movement. I could relate to keeping experiences secret for fear of being judged."
In the afterword, Liz speaks of the embarrassment she now feels having re-read her original memoir. It's clear that she was still very much under his spell at the time of writing and she wants to make it known that she feels very differently now. "This is my chance to write a more clear-eyed version of the statements that I wrote so many years ago," she says.
Though her feelings have since changed her original memoir is a crucial piece of the puzzle. It's a surreal experience for the reader to have an intimate look at who Ted Bundy was outside of his crimes.
The book has a persistent undertone of normality, which is what makes it truly disturbing. Elizabeth said she could count on two fingers the number of times Ted had been violent toward her and she rarely felt unsafe in his presence. As far as she knew, his biggest character flaw was being an occasional kleptomaniac and serial cheater, but never a serial killer.
As the book goes on, Elizabeth's suspicion of Ted's involvement in a string of crimes becomes unbearable. To this day, she says she still can't explain what happened when she saw that newspaper sketch which resembled Ted. Though she tried her best to ignore it, she just couldn't shake the feeling that he was somehow involved. These suspicions are ultimately what drove her to report him to the police. And, even when the police initially cleared Ted as a suspect, she still felt as though he was somehow involved. After all, she knew him better than anyone, didn't she?
Unlike Liz, anyone reading the book has the benefit of hindsight and are aware of Ted's guilt before the book even begins. Somehow though, I found myself forgetting this as I became submerged in their suburban American life. Sure, they fought but what couples don't? It would usually end in Ted crawling back, often in tears, declaring his undying love for her. Albeit dysfunctional and unhealthy at times, the relationship wouldn't be classified as abusive and nobody felt concerned for Liz's or Molly's safety in the early days.
Even though I know the atrocities he committed, I couldn't help but feel surprised along with Liz when he finally confessed his crimes to her over the phone in a Florida prison. I can only imagine how it felt to have her entire world come crashing down as her worst fears were confirmed.
"There is something the matter with me… I just couldn't contain it. I fought it for a long, long time… it was just too strong."
He speaks of an invisible force that drove him to commit these horrendous acts. It was an overpowering and uncontrollable urge, and once he'd done the unspeakable, it went away. Until it inevitably came back again. It was sickening for her to think he'd been having pizza with her family and attending Molly's baptism having murdered an innocent woman mere hours prior.
Molly's chapter is the perfect way to end the book. Bundy through the eyes of an innocent child who was deeply in love with him at the time.
Call it children's intuition but it seems Molly may have been the most clued in when it came to Ted's dark side. Her afterword contains many recollections that are deeply disturbing, including one incident of hide-and-seek where she found Ted naked with an erection. In another instance, he could see her struggling to swim and kept pushing the raft away until she felt she would almost drown. For every bad memory however, there were about 10 positive ones to outweigh it, Molly remembers loving Ted beyond words.
"I continued to love Ted and believe in his innocence with a child's unwavering steadfastness. I believed that in the end he would be exonerated of all wrongdoing. I awoke every day, suffocating in grief, as it sunk in that this was not a bad dream, this was happening, worsening."
It was later revealed that Ted's last murder victim was a 12-year-old girl, Kimberly Leach. She was the exact same age as Molly at the time. This fact continues to haunt her to this day, how close could she have been to being in this girl's position?
To this day, neither Liz nor Molly know why Ted spared their lives, and now they never will. But they've started the painful journey of healing regardless, and mourn the loss of Ted's victims every day.
We know that Bundy was able to feign a sense of normality his entire life, but you don't understand just how good he was until you read the book from Elizabeth's perspective. Looking back, she says the times she felt him pulling away actually coincided with the timeline of his crimes. While Liz's biggest concern was that Ted was out cheating on her, he was actually committing unspeakable acts.
Once you've read the book, you'll have a better understanding of why she decided to keep him in her life for so long. I found myself laughing at his jokes and getting caught up in their love story, before being snapped back to reality and remembering who this man actually is. At times, their relationship feels borderline boring in its normality. There's nothing out of the ordinary that would make you stop and question everything, nothing at all. And by the end, you're left feeling terrified that you never really know who someone is and how easily they can hide under a thin veil of normalcy. Bundy's crimes are undoubtedly horrific, but perhaps it's the normality that's the scariest thing of all.
Phantom Prince, My Life With Ted Bundy is available to purchase now.
This article originally appeared on Whimn.com.au and was reproduced with permission