It started as a joke, but now a bizarre social media war has broken out between two rival groups of professed superfans of serial killers Ted Bundy and Charles Manson.
Both killers, now deceased, are back in pop culture headlines after their appearance in recent dramas and documentaries.
The Manson family killings form the backdrop to Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood while the Ted Bundy story featured in a documentary Sunday night on Investigation Discovery channel and was dramatized in this year’s movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.
Glorification of serial killers is, of course, nothing new, and both Manson and Bundy were besieged in prison by adoring women, in particular. Manson, who died in 2017, even got engaged to a 26-year-old fan in 2014, who had begun visiting him in prison when she was 17 years old. Psychologists call the condition in which one is attracted to someone known to have committed a crime hybristophilia.
Online, the weird world of Bundy stans includes TikTok users who have made videos cosplaying as Bundy victims prepping for their “date” with him.
According to Rolling Stone, however, it seems that this apparent contest between two groups of ‘stans’ (the word comes from ‘stalker fans’ as in the Eminem song ‘Stan’) about who was the hotter/ cooler / more badass serial killer actually just began as a joke by bored mischief-makers, before being adopted by bona fide twisted individuals who identify as Manson and Bundy stans.
Rolling Stone pinpoints the beginning of the feud to a tweet by @TheBlackpinkWak, who last week tweeted; “Charles Manson walked so Ted Bundy could run bitch, sit down” with an edited meme video of Manson’s erratic court room moves set to Nicki Minaj’s “Roman Holiday.”
Rolling Stone says that message was then picked up by both fake and genuine serial killer stan accounts.
The stan war has even seen Ted Bundy trending at several points over the past few days, triggering revulsion from regular twitter users.
The outrage ultimately prompted @TheBlackpinkWak to reveal that they are actually a fan account for the K-pop girl group Blackpink, and posted the original message as a joke.
One Twitter user who was running a parody Bundy stan account and appears to have been involved in the prank from the get-go told Rolling Stone: “Basically, me and a small group of friends had a long running inside joke over who would win in a fight: Ted Bundy or Charles Manson. It was all 100% ironic and it was about six people in the group the first day.
“Random people obviously found out and made more accounts, a lot of them being actually serious, which I found out this morning when I deactivated my Ted account.”