Ted Gunderson: Fearless Truth-Teller, Government Agent or Reckless Lunatic?

Ted Gunderson in his FBI office

In the alternative research community certain individuals are lightning rods for controversy. Throughout the 80s, 90s and early 2000s Ted Gunderson was just such a figure, and many people who know of his work still aren’t sure what to make of him even to this day.

Until his death in 2011 at the age of 82, Gunderson was both a seminal presence and a loathed outcast in the conspiracy universe, where con artists and disinfo agents mingle freely with the usual assortment of idiots, narcissists, hate-mongers, crypto-fascists and the minority who possess some degree of discernment and know how to find nuggets of truth hidden in the big pile of mindless crap.

Sometimes it is difficult to calculate who falls where on this diverse spectrum of intellectual acuity and integrity, and over the course of his “career” Ted Gunderson skirted this line of ambiguity as effectively as anyone.


For those who aren’t familiar with his history, Ted Gunderson was an ex-FBI agent who morphed into a full-blown conspiracy theorist in the 1980s. He delved into a lot of areas, but he became especially well-known as an advocate for young people allegedly victimized by Satanic cults operating behind the walls of legitimate institutions.

Like daycare centers, for example, such as the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California, or banks like the Franklin Federal Credit Union in Omaha, Nebraska. Both were connected to fantastical allegations of ritual sexual abuse that emerged during the “Satanic Panic” era - and Ted Gunderson was intimately involved in both of these highly-publicized scandals.

But in almost every instance Ted Gunderson was more of a disruptive force than an effective crusader for truth. Gunderson’s claims were always sensationalistic, seldom verifiable and inevitably delivered in a package of blowhard-iness that alienated almost everyone but the truest of the true believers.

His Associates Speak Out

Many people who worked closely with him now believe Ted Gunderson was a disinfo agent and a paid provocateur.  Some (specifically a former associate named Stew Webb) have gone so far as to claim that Gunderson was a Satanically-inspired child abuser himself. They offer as evidence his apparent friendship with the notorious Satanist Col. Michael Aquino, and the fact that he was briefly married to the widow of Anton LaVey, who founded the Church of Satan and was at one time America’s most well-known practitioner of the dark arts.

Whether or not Ted Gunderson was really a paid asset of the FBI, or some other government agency with a secret agenda, is unknown. But even if he was not there is little doubt his sloppy, overheated style of investigating brought ill repute on conspiracy researchers as a whole. Ted Gunderson may not have been a paid shill but he certainly acted like one, and his work undoubtedly set back the cause of truth in pretty much every case he was ever involved in.

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