Mindhunter on Netflix- Binge worthy!

 

Netflix is no stranger to great true crime related shows; be that documentary style or scripted originals. With it’s newest original show, Mindhunter, they have another hit on their hands. If you’re like me, then you won’t be able to stop watching until you’ve binged the entire thing in a day. It’s really that good. The only drawback to the binge? That empty feeling you have when you realize that it’s over, and you have to wait months for new episodes-or like me, you can re-watch it.

Mindhunter is based on the book by by FBI Profiler extraordinaire, John Douglas. The show takes you along for the ride with  FBI agents Ford and Trench(played by Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany) as they try to deal with a new kind of killer in the 1970’s-the serial killer. They enlist the help of Dr. Wendy Carr(played by Anna Torv) to help them understand what they are dealing with. The two agents travel from one dirty and dimly lit prison to another. Along the way, they meet some of the most notorious serial killers ever and sit down with them one by one in an effort to understand what makes each one of them tick, and why they did what they did. Their goal is to understand the minds of these murderers  so that they can use their new found knowledge to stop future serial killers by knowing how they think. But what they find is that sometimes, the answers that they are looking for don’t come easy. While most view these serial killers as monsters, Agents Ford and Trench soon discover that these monsters are also human beings, and in some cases alarmingly likable.

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I recently was a guest on the Crawlspace podcast

 

I recently was a guest on the Crawlspace podcast where I joined my friends  Lance Reenstierna and Tim Pilleri to discuss serial killers including the Zodiac Killer and the Golden State Killer. We discussed some true crime topics in general, and had a great discussion.

Here’s how it went-

 

Tim and Lance are the same guys that have the Missing Maura Murray podcast, which has been a true crime sensation. The Maura Murray case will soon be making it’s way to television and will be the subject of a documentary. Be sure to check them out.

 

Ted Bundy and Pornography’s Influence

 

Ted Bundy and Pornography’s Influence is an article written by guest blogger E.J. Hammon  who is a  crime author based in Greensboro, NC. She has studied aberrant behavior and serial killers for the past two decades. Read her blog at www.bundyphile.wordpress.com and follow her on Twitter @RoseDysfunction.

Looking up from the table, his cold blue eyes flash toward the camera, and for a split second, we can see behind their darkness. Serial killer Ted Bundy was interviewed on the night before his execution by Focus on the Family’s Dr. James Dobson. Though Bundy’s crimes were addressed during their conversation, the focus that day was on the dangers of pornography, how it harmed women, and how it forced Bundy down a dark path to murder and mayhem. Though the interview is nothing but a farce to forward an agenda for both men, their interaction gives the public a rare chance to see beneath the carefully constructed mask of sanity of a psychopath, someone the public never saw coming.

Hidden behind a carefully constructed “normal” face, handsome young Ted was on the surface a joy to his neighbors and family members. He especially had a way with women. Many older ladies thought he was a good kid and let him borrow their cars and gave him money when he asked. While watching him in videos and viewing pictures of him, it’s easy to see how he could wrap members of his community around his finger. He was handsome and convivial. He continually impressed local businessmen who thought he was a shoe-in as the next big attorney in the Seattle area. Utah detective Jerry Thompson once described his mastery of persuasion by quipping, “he could sell you a dead horse.” However, underneath it all, he was a man obsessed with murder and violence. Unfortunately, those around him would find out about his predilections far too late.

Born in Burlington, VT in 1946, Ted Cowell was a precocious child. Raised by a single mother and living in Philadelphia, PA until age 4, he never knew his biological father. However, he was exposed to his violent grandfather’s strange behavior before abruptly being whisked away by his mother to Washington State, closer to his extended family. As he matured, family members noticed disturbing behavior. A tendency toward roaming his Tacoma neighborhood late at night lent itself to an interest in peeping in the windows of his pretty female neighbors. A successful career in theft was briefly interrupted by a juvenile arrest, later expunged from his criminal record. He was never stopped again for larcenous activity, though he continued stealing on a grander scale as the years progressed.

It was around this time in his life when he turned to pornography to answer some of his questions about women. He knew he could never ask his highly religious mother questions about sex, especially during an era when nobody discussed their sex lives. Ted was also drawn to crime magazines that sexualized women and encouraged his violent fantasies of bondage and dominance. Recently, noted Bundy expert Christina Nixon stated, “considering the fact that most porn magazines pictured the women as sex objects, it most certainly amplified his feelings of hate/disrespect towards certain women.”

After a devastating breakup with a college girlfriend, from which he never truly recovered, Bundy found himself looking for revenge. Though his crimes until this period happened solely in his head, he found himself moving more and more towards acting out his fantasies based on what he saw in X-rated magazines. Following women, peeping into their houses, and finally attacking someone with a two by four on the street were rationalized and became normal to Ted. His sense of entitlement was continually encouraged by successful nighttime prowling and stealing. As January 1974 loomed, he was preparing to make his move.

On January 4, 1974, Ted’s violent rampage began in earnest. He no longer held back his contempt for women nor his sexual appetite. He brutalized his prey, through decapitation and necrophilia, burying some of their bodies and leaving others out in the elements. His crime spree ended the lives of over 30 young women, mostly college students, throughout the United States. His final victim was a twelve-year-old girl. Her raped and decomposed body was found in a pig shed in rural Florida. When he was arrested in 1978, after 2 prison escapes from Colorado, he told police “I’m the most cold-hearted motherfucker as you’ve ever put your fucking eyes on. I don’t give a shit about those people.” The monster had been caged but his animal instincts were still on high alert.

By the time he was interviewed by James Dobson, Bundy’s agenda was simply to lengthen his life by staying on Florida’s death row beyond his third execution date. He was desperate to remain relevant to law enforcement and by allowing Dobson to interview him, he thought Governor Bob Martinez would grant him another stay. It was his final and ultimately unsuccessful gamble. After ten years of trials and appeals, he was finally executed in January, 1989 after much pomp and circumstance. A crowd of over two-hundred people partied outside of Florida State prison waiting for word of his death.

Whether spurred on by pornography or an innate rage toward women, the result remains the same. A young man from a working class family was able to function without society while hiding a completely separate personality from those around him. The only people who saw his true anger were his victims and they didn’t survive the encounter. Though it’s doubtful pornography caused his despicable behavior, it more than likely encouraged it. To this day, Dr. Dobson still rages about the wild, loose morals of society. Whether he’s genuinely concerned about the Ted Bundys of the world has yet to be seen.