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Crime News Serial Killers

Was Ted Bundy's Mom Really As Delusional As She's Depicted In 'American Boogeyman'?

In "American Boogeyman: Ted Bundy," his mother, Eleanor Louise Cowell, uses pie and ice cream to distract herself from her's son's crimes. 

By Gina Tron
Eleanor Louise Cowell Ap

“Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman” ends on a strange note: Ted Bundy’s mother singing “Amazing Grace.”

The dramatized scene comes after the serial killer's mom shares pie and ice cream with characters based upon FBI criminal profiler Robert Ressler and local detective turned FBI agent Kathleen McChesney.

Throughout the fictionalized account of Bundy’s murder spree, the character of his mother, Eleanor Louise Cowell, is depicted as delusional and in denial about her son’s crimes. During his horrid murder spree in the 1970s he murdered at least 30 women, many of which he sexually assaulted after they were dead.

At the end of “Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman,” now streaming on Hulu, Ressler and McChesney play a recording of Bundy’s confession to his mother as they all enjoy desserts in her living room. 

Apparently, this isn’t too far from reality.

Bundy’s confessional tapes, highlighted in Netflix’s semi-recent “Conversations with A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” were brought to Cowell in Washington State by journalist Stephen Michaud, the Mirror reported in 2019. 

“So I sat down with them in their house and played for her and her husband the audio tapes with the more telling confessions, the descriptions he had shared with us,” Michaud, who famously recorded his conversations with Bundy, recalled to the Mirror. “I remember how she listened intently, and as she was listening she started making these little sounds, like someone was squeezing a mouse, it was very bizarre. But even more bizarre was when the recording was over and we turned off the tape recorder, and everybody sat there quietly.”

And then, came the ice cream and pie.

“Then Louise suddenly stood up and clapped her hands and announced: ‘Whose for apple pie and ice-cream?’” Michaud recalled. “It was just bizarre. [...] She didn’t say any more about it and continued insisting, right up to his execution, that her boy could never have done those things.”

Cowell had long remained in denial that her son could have killed anyone, even after his 1980 conviction for heinous sorority murders in Florida.

“Ted Bundy does not go around killing women and little children!” she told the Tacoma News Tribune in 1980.

Bundy was executed on Jan. 24, 1989.  He was 42 years old. Cowell died in 2012 at the age of 88.

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