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Crime News Violent Minds: Killers on Tape

This Person Was 'Freaked Out' By Serial Killer Ted Bundy's Christmas Card

Infamous American serial killer Ted Bundy sent his "sincere, best wishes" to one family while incarcerated in Florida, suspected of kidnapping, raping, and murdering dozens of teen girls and women. 

By Jax Miller
Find Out who Serial Killer Ted Bundy "Freaked Out" by Sending a Christmas Card

Hailed as being one of the original criminal profilers, clinical psychologist Dr. Al Carlisle spent 90 days speaking with and assessing infamous American serial killer Ted Bundy back in 1976. More than four decades later, the exchange lives on through the doctor’s daughter, Charlene Harmon.

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Harmon told “Violent Minds: Killers on Tape,” airing Sundays at 7/6c on Oxygen, that her father and Bundy had a rapport, providing Oxygen with her father’s taped interviews.

“When Ted Bundy sent a Christmas card, my mom freaked out because Ted Bundy knew where we lived,” Harmon told Oxygen’s Stephanie Gomulka.  

Provided by Harmon and Dr. Carlisle’s granddaughter, Jessica Fowler, the card – containing Bundy’s handwriting – came while he was incarcerated in Florida, reading:

Dear Al,

I send you and your family my sincere, best wishes for a Christmas and New Year filled with the giving and receiving of love and peace. Ted.

The pre-printed inscription read: “Remembering you warmly and wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”

Forensic psychology professor, Dr. Katherine Ramsland of DeSales University, told Oxygen that Dr. Carlisle and Bundy had a father-and-son style relationship. However, even tough Bundy seemed to admire and look up to Dr. Carlisle – per Carlisle’s tapes – Bundy would also become “frustrated,” according to Ramsland.

"Bundy did not like to be tested and did not like to be on the receiving end of psychological tests and analysis,” Ramsland stated. “He liked to be in control.”

Harmon claimed her father believed Bundy was guilty of kidnapping, raping, and killing no fewer than 20 teen girls and women throughout the 1970s and that Dr. Carlisle “was sure that he would do it again.”

“Dad always said he did it,” said Harmon. “He knew he had a violent tendency, and he was pretty sure he murdered those girls.”

Jessica Fowler, Dr. Carlisle’s granddaughter, added that it seemed Bundy liked to brag, referring to Bundy’s escape from custody when, in 1977, he jumped from a window at the Pitkin County Courthouse in Aspen, Colorado (Bundy had access to the law library because he acted as his own legal representative). Bundy would escape a second time from a Glenwood Springs, Colorado, jail later that year and continued his violent killing spree, which stretched to Florida.

“When he walked out of Aspen, he called Grandpa, but he was like, ‘Hey, Al, I just walked out of prison. How’s your day?’” said Fowler. “He wanted people to know it was him but not to get in trouble for it.”

Dr. Ramsland spoke about how Bundy – known for being an intellectual – had an undergraduate degree in psychology and had hoped to pursue such a career, which could account for why Bundy had so much admiration for Dr. Carlisle.

“I think when Bundy called him after his escape attempt, and just kind of bragging, like, ‘See what I did?’ kind of hoping Carlisle would express some kind of pride,” said Dr. Ramsland.

Ramsland said after Bundy’s 1978 capture in Florida, “there was still a connection” between Bundy and Carlisle, but it wasn’t as strong as it was during the 1976 assessment.

“But Bundy, I really do think, genuinely liked Carlisle, but [he] did not like the report he gave to the court,” Dr. Ramsland contended. “But, on the other hand, I think he respected it and respected him.”

You can hear more taped interviews between the renowned Dr. Carlisle and other notorious killers during Carlisle’s 40-year career in the true-crime series “Violent Minds: Killers on Tape,” only on Oxygen.