Ted Bundy is still a cultural phenomenon. The real story is much scarier

VIDEO: On this episode of Mossback's Northwest, host Knute Berger looks back at March 12, 1974, when a young student left her Evergreen State College apartment and never returned.  

Forty-five years ago on a warm mid-July day, two young women went missing from a crowded Lake Sammamish State Park. Their disappearance was a stunning development in a series of local disappearances of young Northwest women beginning earlier that year.

In March 1974, I was editor of the campus newspaper at the Evergreen State College in Olympia when a 19-year-old student, Donna Gail Manson, left her dorm for a campus concert and was never seen again. Our newspaper covered that story and the early phases of the police investigation into the series of similar disappearances.

Years later we learned that Manson’s disappearance was connected with those in Issaquah and dozens of others in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado and Florida. That connection was Ted Bundy.

Ted Bundy has come to be the face of serial killers. He was a law student and a good-looking fellow. He’d worked for Dan Evans, Washington’s popular GOP governor. His parents called him the “best son in the world.” But he was a brutal and relentless killer. He continues to be the subject of books, movies and TV series, including an upcoming Canadian documentary series. He wasn’t the boy next door he appeared to be. Far from it.

Bundy became not only the infamous face of Northwest serial killers, but the poster boy for all serial killers. In our latest Mossback’s Northwest episode, we recap the dark legacy of Ted Bundy and the questions it has left us about who could do such terrible things.

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About the Authors & Contributors

Knute Berger

Knute Berger

Knute “Mossback” Berger is Crosscut's Editor-at-Large.

Stephen Hegg

Stephen Hegg

Stephen is formerly a senior video producer at Crosscut and KCTS 9. He specialized in arts and culture.