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- Posted on Dec 17th 2010 4:30PM by James Sullivan
Roberta Bayley, Redferns
Charles Manson was not the only serial killer of the time who would become a handy pop reference. Ted Bundy, a former suicide hotline worker and political campaigner, spent the middle years of the 1970s kidnapping and bludgeoning young women. When he was executed in Florida in 1989, he was attributed with at least 30 murders.
That year, Debbie Harry, whose group had broken up in 1982 after logging four US No. 1 hits, along with three in Canada and five in the UK, told a Florida newspaper that she believed she'd once narrowly escaped becoming one of Bundy's victims. Searching for a cab on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 1970s, well before she became famous, she'd been picked up by a man in a small white car. Reaching to roll down the window, she discovered that the car had no handles inside. "The car was totally stripped out," she recalled.
As the future bombshell zombie reached out the window and opened the door, the driver swerved, propelling her from the car. Years later, after Bundy was executed, Harry recalled the incident. The creep must have been Bundy, she decided.
"The whole description of how he operated and what he looked like and the kind of car he drove and the time frame he was doing that in that area of the country fit exactly," she claimed. "I said, 'My God, it was him.'"
Inexplicably, the decades-old story popped back into the news in late 2010. The UK tabloid The Sun ran an item resurrecting the old tale, and plenty of other media ran versions of the story as if it were news.
However, Harry's assertion was debunked years ago. Bundy's murders took place in Washington state, Utah and Florida, not New York. He drove a tan VW Bug, not a stripped-down mystery coupe. "Maybe something like her story did happen," concluded a writer on snopes.com, "but it didn't involve the most famous serial killer of the time."
One thing is for certain: Charlie Manson would beg to differ with that description of Bundy.