Alcatraz East debuts exhibit on Ted Bundy murders, pornography addiction

The new 2-year temporary exhibit at Alcatraz East focuses on the historical nature of Ted Bundy's crimes and the dangers of pornography addiction (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)
The new 2-year temporary exhibit at Alcatraz East focuses on the historical nature of Ted Bundy's crimes and the dangers of pornography addiction (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

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A temporary exhibit opened on Saturday, Oct. 10, at the Alcatraz East Crime Museum titled, “From Car to Incarceration: Ted Bundy’s Final Arrest“. 

Bundy was known as one of the most notorious serial killers of the 20th century, and his crimes are still discussed in books and films today. The exhibit will feature information about his final murders, arrest, conviction, and death. This exhibit also spotlights that a serial killer can look just like anyone else in your community, and provides warnings against pornography addiction.

Read More: Alcatraz East review: A fascinating crime museum with little on Alcatraz

“This is such an important part of our country’s crime history, because it reminds us to take measures to keep safe,” says Candice Cook, director of operations at Alcatraz East. “In addition, we hope this exhibit helps raise awareness on fighting the $15 billion dollar pornography addiction our country faces.”

Ted Bundy’s heinous crimes spanned cross-country. His first arrest was in Utah in August 1975, but he managed to flee and continue his crime spree until his final arrest in Florida on February 15, 1978. Bundy had two Florida trials, one in Miami, for his murders around Florida State University and one in Orlando, for the murder of his last victim, 12-year-old, Kimberly Leach.

Ted Bundy's stolen VV Bug is now on display at Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)
Ted Bundy’s stolen VV Bug is now on display at Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

“We really dive deep into all his finals – his last arrest, his last victim, the trial that took place in Florida and of course his execution and final interview,” says Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer of Alcatraz East.

Bundy’s final arrest was ultimately made in a traffic stop by Pensacola Police Officer, David Lee.

“It’s important for people to remember that many hardened criminals are caught from a routine traffic stop, said Cook. “Bundy was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, and yet his final arrest was done by an unsuspecting patrol officer.”

A Pensacola police officer’s uniform is among the many items on display at the new exhibit.

“We wanted to bring attention to the details people often overlook. When an officer is doing their job they don’t know who they are about to encounter or who they are about to arrest. In this case, patrol officer Lee just had this gut feeling about this orange VW Bug that he saw in the middle of the night leaving the parking lot of a restaurant that wasn’t open. He was suspicious and ran the plates. He saw that it was a stolen vehicle and that’s ultimately how Bundy was arrested”

What you can expect to find at the new Alcatraz East Ted Bundy Exhibit

This two-year exhibit includes a collection of items related to Bundy and the trial including:

  • The stolen 1968 VW Bug
  • The dental cast used in the Miami trial
  • Bundy’s prison letters
  • A Pensacola police uniform
  • Bundy’s arrest record

“You have to keep in mind this was a long time ago – the internet didn’t exist – so the arrest record, which is on display, is actually an index card. That’s how they did arrest records back then,” says Vaccarello, commenting on the assortment of items curated for the new exhibit. “They also used dental records – and we have the dental cast that was used in the Florida state murder trial to match bite marks on the victims … It’s interesting for people to see how far we’ve come in the evolution of technology and forensics.”

The actual dental cast used to help convict Ted Bundy during his Florida trial is now on display at Alcatraz East (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)
The actual dental cast used to help convict Ted Bundy during his Florida trial is now on display at Alcatraz East. The cast was matched to bite marks found on his victims (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

The call to action: pornography addiction prevention

“As with everything in this museum we don’t want to glorify the criminal we want to learn from it – it’s our nation’s history – whether its evolution of how law enforcement performs or victim protection,” says Vaccarello. 

“With all of our temporary exhibits we do a call to action. And our call to action with this exhibit is pornography prevention.”

The day before Bundy was put to death, he gave an interview where he warned people about the dangers of pornography. He explained that pornography wasn’t to blame for what he did but stated that it contributed to his violence. Bundy warned to beware of pornography and graphic television content, as he felt this started his vicious behaviors.

According to varying sources, the pornography industry is estimated to be a $15 billion dollar industry in the United States and $97 billion worldwides.

The museum partnered with several resources to provide information and assistance to victims or volunteers. Here are some of the startling statistics provided by Cultured Reframed:

  • Porn sites get more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined
  • About one-third of all web downloads in the U.S. are porn-related
  • Pornhub — self-described as “the world’s leading free porn site”— received 42 billion visits in 2019
  • 50% of parents underestimate how much porn their teens have seen
  • 39% of 14-year-olds report having seen porn, with about one-third of young people saying they had seen it for the first time at age 12 or younger
  • Minors who view pornography and other sexualized media are more accepting of sexual violence, and more likely to believe “rape myths” (such as the myth that “women enjoy being raped”)
  • Increased use of online porn decreases boys’ academic performance six months later
  • 15 is the average of age of receiving a sext
  • 75% of 18-year-old women say “pornography has led to pressure on girls and young women to act a certain way”
  • 70% of 18-year-olds say “pornography leads to unrealistic attitudes” about sex and that “pornography can have a damaging impact on young people’s views of sex or relationships”
  • In a study of young teens, 66 percent of boys reported porn consumption in the past year; this early porn exposure was correlated with perpetration of sexual harassment

To learn more about the Ted Bundy temporary exhibit, visit the site: https://www.alcatrazeast.com/temporary-exhibits/ted-bundy-final-arrest/.

About Alcatraz East

Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests of all ages can encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages – so much fun it’s a crime!

This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. General admission tickets are $14.95 for children and $26.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. Guests are encouraged to check the website prior to visiting for reduced hours, as a result of COVID-19. The last ticket is sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com.

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at [email protected] for questions or comments.

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