The Unabomber: Evil Genius
Candice DeLong went undercover in Montana and sat face-to-face with Ted Kacszynski in a cabin in Montana. For years, Americans were terrified to open their mailboxes, fearful of falling victim to this elusive killer. Candice digs into his childhood to discover what really drove the Unabomber, and why he captured the public’s attention.
I've been an agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 15 years. When I got the call to go to Montana, it was February 23rd, the dead of winter in Montana. Emphasis on dead. I'd be going with two other agents, one of them, John, was actually my fiance at the time and a surveillance expert and I had worked on a Unabomber squad for about a year and knew the case pretty well. We needed expertise in both case history and surveillance. Because John and I were going undercover in order to gather evidence about a man named Ted Kaczynski. So our bus stop. Candace and John would be perfect because they'll look like a normal couple when they go undercover. So Sunday afternoon, the day we were set to leave, I started packing. I went down to the basement but I couldn't find my coat. I had just moved into that house and I had no idea where it was. However, I did know my son ski parka was in his closet so I grabbed it it. Was black with red and blue stripes. It looked like the kind of thing you'd see a teenage boy wearing skiing down a mountain side. It was way too big for me, but fashion was not on my mind. When we arrested Ted Kaczynski out of his mountain cabin, he would be wearing my son's coat and it would go on to make criminal history. You might remember the headlines, a brilliant math professor turned recluse living in a mountain cabin deep in the woods. A bizarre manifesto. And a string of deadly homemade bombs that left a trail of bodies in its path. The FBI investigation took 17 long years. Three innocent people were killed and more than 20 were seriously injured. But who was this guy who instilled a deep fear of packages placed on our nation's doorstep or boxes? Or even the May. In 1996 I found myself face to face with him, seated alone in an isolated mountain cabin in Montana. I looked into his eyes and I think I know better than almost anyone what might have been going on inside the mind of the man known as the Unabomber.
About The Podcast
I'm Candice Delong and this is killer psyche. I'm a retired FBI criminal profiler for the past 50 years I've been studying people's minds from my early days as a psychiatric nurse in Chicago to the insular world of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I've sat across the table. From a shocking number of killers, criminals and a wide variety of others with severe mental disorders. Whenever somebody does something shocking or criminal, we ask ourselves why? What were they thinking? But we rarely get a satisfying answer in this series. We'll go beyond the headlines in every episode. I'll do a deep dive into the mindset of a different criminal or someone notorious in the news. Many of these cases I actually worked on, while others are some of the most fascinating ones you thought. They knew I'll reveal the details you never heard before and I'll give you my best analysis of what made them do what they did.
This episode is the Unabomber evil genius. It was 1995 and I had just moved to San Francisco to work in the field division there. I had spent the previous 15 years as an FBI agent in the Chicago Division and I was a criminal profiler. When I got assigned to the Unabomber case, it was already. 17 years old and the longest running unsolved case in the Bureau. All we really knew was that a serial bomber had been mailing or hand delivering explosive devices across the entire United States since 1978. And when I arrived I was told along with everybody else that had newly arrived, we would all be assigned to the Unabomber case. That's what the Bureau does, with long running unsolved cases. That are high profile to solve it once and for all. They throw more money, more cars, more computers and more agents at it. In fact we used to joke around and say unabom was the case where good agents went. Die and it seemed no closer to being solved in 1995 than it did in 1978. The very first bombing was in Chicago, where I lived at the time, but I wasn't an FBI agent yet. I was head nurse at the Institute of Psychiatry at Northwestern University Hospital. I met an FBI agent and he said to me, you know what, you should be an FBI agent, and I I remember looking at him and saying, in case you hadn't noticed. I'm a nurse, but I couldn't sleep that night. In fact, when he said that to me, I didn't even know women could be FBI agents, so I went to the Chicago office. I took the test, and four months later I found myself at the FBI Academy. I distinctly remember I heard about this case for the first time when I was driving home. It was on the radio. The story is a 9 year old boy was walking home from school and he sees a package underneath a blue mailbox and he picks it up, calls his mum who was at work. She said do not. So when she gets home, she's examining it. And she sees. That it's addressed to a professor at Northwestern University, and it had a return address from a professor at a College in upstate New York. His mom called a professor at Northwestern. He did not know who the other professor. Was but he says send it to me anyway, so she did. The security guard brings this item up to his office and it looked like a small skinny pine box and it had a metal latch on it. There was a black marker used to make a huge arrow pointing to the latch. The only thing that wasn't there was a little note. That said, open here. So the guard opens it and it explodes. And the guards hands and arms were slightly burnt after that first bombing. A series of explosive devices were mailed or delivered to people or universities or corporations for the next 15 years. One bomb even went off inside the cargo section of a flight. This one had materials that were similar to those used in the previous two northwestern bombings, like pieces of string flashlight, batteries, nails, and common plumbing. A pattern was emerging not only of the types of bomb making materials, but also how they were fused together. His early devices were very amateurish, rudimentary. We called them Kitty bombs because they were so simple. It was like something a kid would make in his dad's garage, remember? Back then there was no Internet or dark web where a person could go and get extensive details on how to build a lethal device. Nice, it was clear to the FBI bomb techs at the lab that whoever restoring this was learning as he progressed. But as the Unabomber continued making bombs with each device, he seemed to be getting better and better. In 1985, he placed a device in the parking lot of a computer store in Sacramento. The owner of the computer store was cleaning up some trash in the. Back parking lot. He noticed a bag and picked it up. It exploded and a piece of shrapnel pierced his heart, killing him instantly. That was the first time one of the devices killed someone. Two more people were murdered in the next few years. In 1995, the President of the California Forestry Association unwrapped the parcel in his office. Even though it. Was addressed to his predecessor when he opened it, he was blown to bits. His shoes were found 40 feet away. There had been over a dozen bombings, and frankly, we were no closer to finding him. Any thoughts at this point on who the Unabomber was were purely speculative. I believed it was probably a middle-aged white guy, but some of my colleagues were not even convinced of that then. We got a break in the case that would change everything. For the first time in a 16 year criminal career, he began communicating with media outlets. He sent them what he called the manifesto. It was a 54 page 35,000 word essay and that manifesto helped us learn a lot more about the kind of guy we were looking for. This was just about the time I was arriving in the San Francisco Division and assigned to work Unabom. I was 45 years old. I never dreamt I'd be involved in a case like this. A long standing high profile case that seemed unsolvable. The manifesto turned out to be our best tip for the investigation. He sent it to three different publications, The Washington Post, the New York Times and Penthouse Magazine. One of these was not like the other, but the request for Penthouse certainly confirmed for us that we were looking. For a guy. Along with the manifesto, he included an extortion demand, which basically said publish this manifesto and we will stop the killing. He referred to himself as we, but at that point we just weren't sure. The FBI actually convinced the Washington Post and the Times to publish the manifesto. It told us he was hung up on what he called the ills of technology and that the world needed to slow down its advances. He claimed to be fearful that humanity would be unable to keep up with technology. He had an issue with intelligent people and academia. He also asserted that he was better than academically minded and tech savvy individuals that they were bad. He put them down. It was basically a complain fest. And one of the things we noticed were a couple of turns of phrases you can't eat your cake and have it too. We hoped someone would read it and think, wait a minute. I know someone that says that wrong as well and. Then we hope. That person would pick up the phone and contact us. We had to set up a system to receive all the calls and tips we were getting. So we set up a tip line. It was one 800 unabom and we were flooded with tips, most of them useless. I was on the tip line one day and took a call from a disgruntled Student, which was not unusual and he said his chemistry professor so and so he believed you as the Unabomber. And I said really well, why is that because? Well, because he's into science and he's weird and I said oh and did he by any chance give you a deer enough? Well yeah, but that's not really important, but that's the kind of stuff we were getting. I remember I took another call one day and someone said I saw the Unabomber on the corner of Main and 1st Street in downtown Detroit. He looked just like the composite sketch. But we did eventually get our biggest break.
Getting the call from David Kaczynski’s lawyer
About a month later, the FBI was contacted by a private attorney whose clients believed the author of the manifesto was a close relative. The wife's name was Linda and when she read the manifesto, she believed the language in it sounded a lot like her estranged brother-in-law, Ted Kaczynski. We didn't know anything about Ted at that point, and we were fearful it might be just another bad tip. But Ted Kaczynski a 51. Year old Harvard, educated recluse would prove to be our guy. Linda Kusinski was in her living room in Schenectady, NY when she read the manifesto, she had a hunch it might be her brother-in-law. She shared that information with her husband David. He noticed the same thing she did when they looked at the FBI unabom calendar of events. They became filled with dread. And the next thing they did was talked to a friend of Linda's who was a private investigator. They gave her a document, a lengthy one that they knew Ted had written decades earlier. She found a retired FBI profiler and linguistics expert, and he studied both documents. Of course, he didn't know. Who had written the earlier one, but he concluded there was a 60 to 80% chance that both documents were written by the same person and he said to them, tell your clients if they don't notify the FBI, I will. David was crucial, but it took some time to get him to share information about Ted's whereabouts. We had to negotiate with him. We were asking him to put his brother in the hands of the FBI. It has been my experience that the average person who knows someone. They love or are friends with. That might be a killer or knows they're a killer. Does not turn them in. Dave Kaczynski was the exception, not the rule. He was worried the FBI might descend on his brother's cabin and there'd be a shootout, and his brother would be killed. I can't blame them for thinking not. Dave knew what we did not know and what we needed to know for the case to go forward with. Kaczynski is a suspect and it was this the Unabomber had to have lived or worked in Chicago in the late 70s, early 80s and over the next several years Sacram. You know we had to be able to place him in at least four different cities where bombs were actually placed. That's the kind of thing that can go in an affidavit for a search warrant, but there was something else Dave told us that convinced me his brother was. The gap. He told story that his brother Ted, when he was in grammar school. Wrote a letter to a girl that he liked that girl didn't like him apparently. And so Ted wrote a letter to her but signed the name of another boy in their class and the contents of that letter were mean nasty. Something that a disturbed kid. Might say to a girl that doesn't like him. What interested me? What's the content of the letter? It was the style. But there was another time that happened, and David shared with us that Ted had bragged to him that when he was at UC Berkeley, he did the same thing, only to a female colleague and signed another colleague's name. Just a horrible vile letter. And when I saw that. He had done it twice in his youth. You could, you know I could dismiss it and go huh youthful indiscretion. Not good behavior, but he did it in adulthood and what else was he doing in adulthood that was simple. He was sending explosive devices to one person and return addressing another. When I saw that I thought this is him. Ted Kaczynski is the Unabomber. Why that aberrant nasty behavior. My thought was his signature. He liked causing problems and not being suspected of who did it, but that's not the kind of thing that can go in an affidavit for a search warrant or an arrest warrant. But for me it was golden information.
Mad or Bad?
I always wonder how someone goes stray and becomes a killer. If someone is psychotic or on drugs, that's easy. But when someone who achieves the level of at least academic success that Ted Kaczynski did getting into Harvard at 16, finishing a doctorate, becoming the youngest professor at one of the most prestigious and high-ranking public institutions. Then the country became a hermit and the killer, how? Did that happen? Well, what we found out was there was an incident that was, I think, very telling his mother shared with us that when Ted was nine months old. He had an allergic reaction to something and it was a severe reaction and. He was in. The pediatric ward for three weeks. And in those days parents were not welcome. Now here's what's significant about that. His mother also said that prior to that hospitalization he was unhappy. The bouncy, smiling, laughing little baby and when he came home from that experience, he was not. He wouldn't make eye contact with her. She described him as being listless and for the rest of the time that. Ted was home and grew up, and he had a terrible relationship with his mother and when he would do something odd or bizarre or be hostile or angry, for example, the grammar school near steal it. His mom and dad kind of roll their eyes and go well, Yep, that's that hospital problem coming out again, I mean. They believed his. Experience in the hospital. Harmed him forever. We didn't know it then, but we know it now. There is tons of research on the effects of what's called maternal deprivation on young children, and it's not. But we're talking about three weeks in a strange environment, scary environment and pediatric wards in those days would be a huge room with maybe 20-30 cribs in it, and one or two nurses. There was no touching, no smiling, no laughing, no rocking, no holding the baby to give him his bottle. So Ted went from all kinds of good stuff that babies need to suddenly having it cut off. And when he emerged 3 weeks later according to his mother, he was not the same baby that went in that hospital. Well, there were many, many really good studies on the effects of maternal deprivation, and it can have lasting behavioral and psychological and emotional damage on the child. For me it helped explain well food. Maybe that contributed to this brilliant. Child a young man turned into basically a misfit, a social misfit, and then someone who was angry. It seemed at the world, seeking revenge and became a killer. Dave Kusinski told us where to find his brother in a remote mountain cabin outside of Lincoln, Montana, just to give you an idea how small it is, the nearest big city is Missoula and that's 60 miles away. Lincoln is basically. Hunting community. When Ted first moved there, he dug a hole in the side of a hill and he lived in the hole, but he eventually bought a tiny piece of land about 1/4 of an acre and constructed a cabin to live in. No water, no electricity. When I first went with my fiance John to Montana to go undercover, our mission was to get as much evidence as we could to help make. The case that Kaczynski. Was our guy. Just because we had a belief and some circumstantial evidence wasn't enough to put him in handcuffs. We did not have the hard evidence we needed. Such as conclusive DNA, fingerprints or hair. We did have what we believed was possibly his DNA from a stamp that he licked, but the DNA study revealed that 3% of the males that lived in Montana could have licked that stamp. That's not hard. Evidence that's enough to get an arrest warrant. Circumstantial evidence relies on an inference to connect it to a conclusion such as. Comparing the S8 that Kaczynski wrote 20 years before, the manifesto, comparing that to the manifesto and seeing the same mistake and expression, misspellings the same turn of phrase that was exciting as we discovered it. But it's not hard evidence if you don't. To have that. Then you need a mountain of circumstantial evidence. And in order for evidence to be usable, we have to be very careful how we get it. Everything has to be by the book. Whenever I was involved in an investigation, I always had on my mind. How is this going to play out in court? So kind of thinking ahead and always asking myself if I were a defence. Attorney, what would I have to say about this? We had to figure out how is he getting from Lincoln Mt to San Francisco. We knew that there were four different books mentioned in the manifesto. We knew from his brother that he likes to go to the local library. Would there be a record that Theodore John Kaczynski? Checked out XYZ books on such and such date and would that line up with the manifesto being published? He was known as the Scrap Yard bomber because of all the kind of garbage and scraps that he used to put these devices together. We ran all over the area trying to find out is there a junk store somewhere? Is there a hobby store? All these kinds of things went into building if you will the. Search warrant We found out that Ted had concerns about his health years earlier and sought out a physician and he sent her a letter. In addition to Ted telling her what his symptoms were, he wrote this in 1992. He said that he'd been under quite a bit of stress since 1978, and he'd been under extreme stress quote for the past five to six years. I'm not great at math, but I can subtract. This number from that number five years prior to 1992 was the last time a unabom device went off in Salt Lake City. It also was the first time anyone saw him, and that is where that famous composite sketch came from. A woman looking out her window sauce, a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and aviator glasses. Bend over, put something in her parking lot, stand up. She looked him right in the face and he walked away. The bomb eventually goes off. The FBI comes in and we get information from that woman. I can only assume that because we know Ted went to the local library and periodically read. Newspapers he certainly didn't have a TV or radio in his cabin that he found out. Yeah, you were seen and that I think, is the extreme stress he was referring to. We said I've been under stress since 1978. That was the 1st bombings, 1978 in Chicago. So my partner and I were driving back to Helena to meet with the brass we all met at the local restaurant that we were frequenting and when I saw Max my boss I was practically jumping. I was jumping up and down and he read it and. My gosh, this is incredible. Now I got it logged into evidence. It's not good enough to go into court with, but I took it as a confession and it did get us to the next step, which was my partner and I going undercover in Lincoln. Our cover stories were that I was a Nat Geo researcher and John was a Nat Geo photographer. He always had a camera around his neck and we told people that we were doing research on a couple of silver and gold mines in the area that had been closed. But there was talk. About them reopening, so nobody really thought anything of. People like to talk. We talked to a lot of different people, bus drivers, some neighbors he didn't have close neighbors, but he had some neighbors and the local librarian gave us quite a bit of helpful information. Of course, she didn't realize she was doing that. She thought she was just chatting. One of the things we did. Find out is that the town folk called Ted the Hermit on Baldy Mount. Ted was a real loner, or I mean, truly he did not like people. He did not want to be around people, but that wasn't enough for him. He actually did things to neighbors he. Sometimes booby trapped snowmobile trails and a neighbor told us that he killed his dog because the dog barked. Why did? He do all these things. Because people and things things that made noise really. Really bothered him. Ted was not a Zen kind of guy. He was easily upset, but I think he was probably more excited by the idea of exacting revenge. I'm going to get you and you'll. Never know it was me. But Ted was so passive aggressive it's clear he would rather kill a dog than confront a neighbor about the issue. He pathologically avoided confrontation of any kind. We saw this in his ability to make and send bombs, and regarding those nasty letters, that's a type of bomb. Metaphorically speaking, opening an envelope and having a vile, disturbing, horrible. Rant and then signing someone else his name. That's like a little bomb. Metaphorically speaking. This is the kind of biographical detail that John and I were collecting in our weeks undercover. We were also on the lookout for Ted himself, but we never did see him in town. We still didn't know exactly what he looked like because the photo we had was so old. Every now and then I'd see someone that resembled the picture we had and I'd walk up to them and start a conversation. One time I pretended to be looking for a purse I left on a bus when I was actually trying to check out someone that I saw got on the bus that looked like him, and another time I picked up a hitchhiker. We believed to be him. Probably not something my bosses would be happy about, but I did it because this guy was a dead ringer for Kaczynski. He even had blue eyes just like Ted did. I took my gun out of the holster and put it under my leg. I was driving the truck and I picked up the hitchhiker and of course he got in the passenger side and I wanted to be able to get to my gun quickly if things devolved to a point where I had. To do that? As we chatted driving down the road. I realize this guy wasn't Kaczynski, he was on his way to his mother's house to water her plants while she was in the hospital. I must admit when he got out of the truck, I was thankful and a little disappointed. Still, we were gathering a mountain of circumstantial evidence. John and I needed some help so very slowly and discreetly. More personnel were brought up to the Lincoln area. Finally, it was time to seek out a search warrant from the local magistrate.
Day of the arrest
Finally the big day was here. On April 3rd, 1996, the number of FBI personnel in Montana had grown from 3 to 97, and that included agents that were specially trained bomb technicians and the San Francisco SWAT team. They were there to help us carry out the arrests. I was one of only two female agents I saw another female agent there, an ATF agent I had worked with before. He was basically two women and almost 100 guys at the command post. Soon enough, several of them would be surrounding Kusinski cabin. We had a detailed plan and many many hours went in with the SWAT team was to surround the bottom of the mountain. You know, like a guy every 20 feet or so in a circumference and slowly crawl on their bellies so that they. Wouldn't be seen. Up the mountain that would be so they could blend in with the snow so they were wearing these things called ghillie suits, and it goes over all their protection and it looked like white feathers. Basically they look like chickens, great big chickens with high-powered shoulder weapons. Once they were in position, they radioed the arrest team. The plan was to lure Kusinski out of his cabin with people that he knew. Talking about. Property lines, one of them was his nearest neighbor. The other was Jerry. A US forestry agent for that area. If you live in the woods, you will know the local forestry agent because you may need to rely on them to save your life. So everybody in that area knew who Jerry was. And then we also had my boss and a couple FBI agents they got in position outside of. The front door or the only door? Kaczynski had on his cabin now. The Unabomber is not someone that you knock on their door. Maybe it's booby trapped. You have to assume that's happening. We were dealing with the bomber so we thought he hears the term property line with people outside his cabin. He's going to open the door and he did. Recognize the forestry agent. He recognized his neighbor, of course. Said yeah, come on out and show us your property. Line he goes OK. Just a minute, let me get my jacket and that's when they grabbed him. There was no way we could allow him to go back into the cabin. We knew he had at least a rifle in there. And let's not forget, we suspected it was a bomb factory. Second guessing is not an option for an agent, and we couldn't run the risk of a single second. Of him being able to grab a gun or detonate a bomb or escape us and head north to Canada. He didn't have a car, but he knew the woods. We didn't arrest him, we grabbed him. He put up a fight. And he was put in handcuffs. We were detaining him while we executed the search warrant. That's not always done. In fact, most of the time it is not. But if it is believed based on facts that somebody might be dangerous to themselves or to the public during a search warrant execution, then they can be detained. The plan was that if the team was successful in luring Ted out of his cabin, it would be our job to keep an eye on him while they executed the search warrant. So once he was cuffed, they brought him down to the neighboring cabin where John and I were waiting. I saw him being walked down by my colleagues. And I thought, wow, what a mess he's you know, closer torn. He must have really been throwing some punches. Then he was just a few feet from me. I looked at him and I realized that wasn't torn closed. I was. Seeing his clothes were rotting off his body. As they walked him by me, he looked me right in the eyes and I looked at him. I thought, Oh my gosh, those bluest eyes I've ever seen. And as they passed. I got an interesting aroma. Ted Kaczynski smelled like wet dirt. He had so much dirt on him I could see layer upon layer of it on his eyelashes, his really long eyelashes. I was alone with him off and on for the rest of the afternoon. Of course I couldn't talk to him about anything about the case we had. What I would call a chit chat, little light conversation once he was in the cabin, he was seated at this really small pine table and there were only two chairs. Before I got to the site that day, I was handed a box lunch. I really didn't have much of an appetite and I asked him if he was hungry. He said he was, and in the box lunch was a candy bar, among other things, a piece of chicken I didn't really want to hold a piece of chicken up to his. Mouth, but I did unwrap the candy bar and held it up and he would take a bite and chew it. I also had a can of soda and I asked him I said would you like some of this? He nodded, so I popped the top and held it up to his lips so so he could drink it. At one point I was sitting across the table from him and I was just kind of searching for something to converse about, so I asked him. I said so what's it like living off the land? And he told me how to cook on a wood fire stove. In fact, how to make Stew? He wasn't inflective, there was no animation to his voice, just kind of like, well, you have to build the fire and then you put in the carrots and in about 45 minutes they're done. I thought I was on the worst date in the history of the. It was only a few hours, but it seemed like forever, which I guess you could also say about your worst day. But I did help him at one point I noticed he was trembling and even though it was cold in the cabin, he was sweating, which kind of gave me a guilty pleasure, thinking. Ah, Mr. Unabomber, now who's afraid. I was wearing my son ski parka, the same one I had grabbed from his closet when I was leaving San Francisco. I took it off and put it over his shoulders and it was that parka that was photographed as he was taken into the jail in Helena, Mt. And that photograph went around the world. Of the Unabomber, who had killed 3 people and injured more than twenty others, he was finally in custody.
Searching the cabin
I wondered if Kaczynski believed this day would ever come. It turns out he did not. Every single piece of evidence and then some that we were looking forward to connect him to his crimes was right where he was sleeping. When he was lured out, he was working on a bomb we found underneath his bed. A completed bomb with the address on it of a prominent CEO in America, and eventually we found the mother lode, the hooded sweatshirt. An aviator glass. We also found a copy. The original copy of the manifesto that he typed on his typewriter, which we also found it was over. So what was going on inside the Unabomber? Why did he do what he did? Beyond the maternal deprivation, I describe what would be my assessment. Some people thought he might be delusional, or a schizophrenic, which is described as a type of mental illness. That is a thought disorder. Someone who is truly schizophrenic suffers from delusions, and a delusion is a strong belief in an idea. Or a concept that has no basis in fact. Their thought process is highly disorganized. They cannot focus on anything too long. They don't think logically. I did not just describe Ted Kaczynski. He was a disturbed human being, but he was not severely mentally ill. I call him an evil genius because he really was both. He was methodical, he planned things out. He distanced himself from the victims. He didn't know them. He wasn't near them. He was completely lucid and aware of his choices. He chose to. Do the wrong thing. He was very logical. He could focus for long periods of time. Was he misguided? Probably was he legally insane? It means the person did not know right from wrong at the time they committed the act. No, he was not insane. A seriously mentally ill person could not have eluded capture. For 16 years he was smart enough to know that his actions were not going to stop the advancement of technology. He knew that, but he was arrogant and narcissistic enough to believe that is 35,000 words in the manifest. So deserved a platform for the whole world to know where he's coming from. His ego got in the way of his good judgment. For years. His judgment was don't reveal yourself. Don't take credit for these crimes, but then he decided. He wanted the attention and the world should know what he had to say. How arrogant can you get had he not sent the manifesto and had it not been published, he might never have been caught. Ted Kaczynski was a killer with A cause and that's the most dangerous kind of killer. It appears to me that he was a very angry man, a misfit. He was a disturbed person, but he was not hearing voices. He was not delusional. He was angry and he. Vented his rage by sending bombs that hurt people he didn't even have to be near them when the bomb went off. He didn't have to see pictures he didn't have to hear. TV reports. It just made him feel good. He probably went to sleep with a smile on his face after he mailed a bomb because he knew somebody was going to die. Ted is a sociopath, sociopaths have generally troubled with society. People, they hate them. They hate their rules, their Moraes and and it's also believed, whereas the psychopath is born, a sociopath is may. And if we are to put any weight at all on the possible horrible effects of the three weeks of maternal deprivation that he suffered when he was nine months old. Then we could say that's the kind of thing that could contribute to the making of a sociopath. I think he was a killer with the 'cause he justified his desire to kill because it was in the name of stopping the advancement of technology. He convinced himself of that, or at least that's what he said. In doing so, he was wrapping himself in a cloak of righteousness. Justify his murderous actions just like a political terrorist. I have a cause so it's OK to hurt and maim and kill what interesting thing that I remember when I went. Into the cabin. Before he was lured out of his cabin. We're kind of getting things set up for what we hoped would be an interview and interrogation. I noticed some. Insect larvae on a windowsill. Hours later, I noticed the insect larvae were hatching. I it just momentarily crossed my mind that it was. A new beginning. The Unabomber was caught, the case was over, but not not completely. Now the judicial. Part was there, but the 17 year search for this killer serial bomber serial killer was over. The media attention on this case and the trial was very intense. The fact that this guy an incredible loner who went out of his way to avoid people was now a weekly, if not daily headline. The irony of that was not lost on me. Many of the pictures taken of Ted after his arrest. It occurs to me in some of them. He's smiling. I think he might like the attention. In June of 1996, a federal grand jury indicted Kaczynski on 10 counts of illegally transporting mailing and using bombs at the start of the trial, his legal team tried to enter an insanity defense to avoid. The death penalty, which the prosecution wanted. But Ted rejected their idea. I've always believed Ted rejected the insanity defense because he wanted to be taken seriously by the world. Eventually when he was up against the wall, he took the plea, Ted court appointed psychiatrists determined. That he was a paranoid schizophrenic, one of the most serious mental illnesses known to mankind. But I worked with paranoid schizophrenics for 10 years as a psychiatric nurse and Ted Kaczynski is not one of them. The trial lasted six months and he fought his legal team for the entire duration. Lots of theatrics. Ted would abruptly stop the trial by telling the judge he was unhappy with his lawyers and he had asked to represent himself. However, the judge. Wisely denied him that request, citing that they were way too far into the trial when he learned that he could not release his lawyer, he tried to hang himself in his cell. But he failed. Despite his suicide attempt, however, an evaluation by a psychiatrist found him fit to stand trial. Instead of a jury decision, he accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to life without parole. He was also ordered to pay $15 million in restitution to his victims, but of course, he was penniless. Eventually, his cabin in. All its contents went to auction and raised a couple of $100,000. Ted is serving his eight life sentences at the Supermax federal prison in Florence, Co. Ted has no interactions with the outside world, but that doesn't stop him from communicating with the outside world. Sound familiar, Kaczynski authored books and collections of his previous writings, however. Not a single penny of profits goes back to him. The Unabomber case captured the public imagination for years, even before his manifesto to the media. His crimes were in the news a lot. It was also known that the FBI had not caught him. In a sense, he kind of bested the FBI at their own game. He was successful. At bombing, he was elusive. He developed a cult following of admirers and fans. America loves an underdog and he was definitely one of those. I'll never forget sitting in that cabin with Ted watching him shiver as the team inspected his cabin. I'll never forget the way his eyes would follow me around the room and I'll never forget the moment of ironic kindness I shared with him when I offered him some food and my soda while we waited to hear of his impending. Arrest, but all that time inside the cabin with him I never had any fear for this man because I saw him for who he really was. A disturbed coward who didn't have a bomb with him anymore. Today, Ted Kaczynski is 79 years old.
I'm your host, Candace Delong. This episode was written and produced by Lisa Ammerman and Dana Johnston edited by Steven Johnson, Jasper Leak, and Zach Fessler. Production manager is just in Washington and Haley Mandelberg is our production coordinator. Oscar Guido is the line producer. Our executive producers are Kelly Garner and Lisa Ammerman for tree Fort and Marshall Lewis and Aaron O'flaherty for wondering. The series is produced by wondering and Treefort Media.