Recently, when discussing the topic of “peeping Toms” with a colleague, she suggested that most people believe this type of voyeurism is a harmless activity. They feel it’s a rite of passage that boys hitting puberty are likely to engage in as their hormones rage. Despite the dismissive attitude, psychiatrists have found that peeping into neighbor’s windows can indicate a burgeoning interest in further criminal activities. It can act as a gateway to more violent acts. It can be dangerous if it interferes with the observer’s daily life. Considering this behavior often starts around age 15 most commonly in males, Ted Bundy was most definitely involved in it.
The definition of a Peeping Tom’s actions can be described as “a disorder that involves achieving sexual arousal by observing an unsuspecting and non-consenting person who is undressing or unclothed, and/or engaged in sexual activity. This behavior may conclude with masturbation by the voyeur.” What’s troublesome is that often, this behavior can be fueled by pornography and could escalate to more dangerous behavior. Bundy admitted to Dr. James Dobson during his final interview that he regularly viewed pornography as a teen. His Florida attorney, Polly Nelson stated he wandered alone all the time, going through trash cans to find pornographic magazines. Often young men start peeping then decide to break into homes and steal undergarments which can lead to physical attacks on their victims over time.
Ted readily admitted that he liked to “creep around in the darkness” and from a young age, he started sneaking out of his house at night. He would find young women in his neighborhood to watch throughout the neighborhood. He was once caught by a neighbor who discovered him watching a woman and threw water on him! This scene is depicted in the 2002 movie, Bundy,starring Michael Reilly Burke. When asked about this aberrant behavior in his childhood, Bundy pontificated, “This is something that a lot of young boys would do without intending any harm. But I see how it later formed the basis for the so-called entity, that part of me that began to visualize and fantasize more violent things.”
Bundy was just one of many violent criminals who engaged in voyeurism during his youth. Canadian killer, Paul Bernardo, was an active peeping Tom who later became a brutal rapist and killer of teenage women. Maryland-based murderer, Jason Thomas Scott, started peeping when he was only 10 years old. He recorded much of what he saw and later evolved into breaking and entering and stealing before murdering at least 5 women in his local community.
Bundy would not have sought treatment nor would his mother have thought to take him to a therapist if she had been aware. Even in this day and age we aren’t always cognizant of the danger brewing within the minds of teenagers. However, there is no doubt there is a connection between peeping and escalating violence. Ted Bundy’s teenage years were a perfect example of how ignorance is hardly ever bliss.
Health 24 (https://m.health24.com/Sex/Sexual-diversity/Inside-the-mind-of-a-peeping-Tom-20120721)
Chesterfield Observer (www.chesterfieldobserver.com/news/15-02-25/Front-page/Just_a_peep_Experts_say_voyeurs_can_turn_violent.html )
Morris, Rebecca. “Ted & Ann.” CreateSpace independent Publishing Platform, 2013.
Pron, Nick. “Lethal Marriage.” 39-40, 44, 1996. (Scarsborough Rapist)