It is often claimed that notorious serial killer Ted Bundy (1946-1989) passed a polyraph test. While other infamous serial killers, including “Green River Killer” Gary Leon Ridgway and “Angel of Death” Charles Cullen did indeed pass polygraphs and go on to claim additional victims, we have found no evidence that Ted Bundy was ever polygraphed by criminal investigators, or that he ever passed a polygraph examination in any other context.
The late writer Ann Rule, who personally knew Bundy, makes no mention of him having sat for any polygraph “test” in her 1980 book, The Stranger Beside Me: The True Crime Story of Ted Bundy. Rule does, however, mention that she proposed the idea to him:
I asked him why he didn’t just take a polygraph examination and get it over with.
“My lawyer, John Henry Browne, feels that it’s best.”
Indeed, Bundy did sit for a polygraph examination arranged by his lawyer, John Henry Browne. Browne addresses it in a single paragraph in Chapter 2 of his 2016 book, The Devil’s Defender: My Odyssey Through American Criminal Justice from Ted Bundy to the Kandahar Massacre:
At one point I arranged for Ted to take a lie detector test, which he failed. He said he was sure he would pass because his “personality type” could fool the machine. I asked why he needed to fool the machine if he was innocent, and he said it was just a game.
So there it is. Police never polygraphed Bundy. They had no reason to. They had ample evidence with which to convict him. While there are numerous murderers who passed polygraphs, Ted Bundy isn’t one of them.