#TBT: "Unabomber" Manifesto Published in Major Newspapers

For years, Ted Kaczynski — also known as the “Unabomber” — terrorized Americans with a nationwide bombing campaign. On this date in 1995, his 35,000-word manifesto was published. It became his undoing.

The FBI’s longest and most expensive manhunt

Ted Kaczynski, who the FBI dubbed the Unabomber, terrorized America for nearly 2 decades. A PhD in mathematics, in 1971 he withdrew to a Montana cabin, where he grew increasingly disdainful — especially of modern technology. Between 1978 and 1995, he ran a nationwide bombing campaign — mailing or delivered 16 bombs that killed 3 people and injured 23. Theodore Kaczynski was born in Chicago in 1942 to a working-class family of Polish ancestry. He was one of two children, along with younger brother David, who would later become involved in his older sibling’s arrest.

After graduating early from Evergreen Park Community High School (he skipped 11th grade), Kaczynski was accepted at Harvard University on a full scholarship at the age of 16. While at the Ivy League school, Kaczynski didn’t make many friends, but he continued to perform exceedingly well academically. However, it was during his time at Harvard that Kaczynski also participated in a controversial study led by psychologist Henry Murray that in the experiment, subjects were asked to write an essay on their personal philosophies. Later, while hooked up to electrodes to measure their physiological response, the study subjects were subjected to hours of insults and personal attacks according to the History Company.

On September 19, 1995, the New York Times and Washington Post published his 35,000-word manifesto. In it, he argued that technology had led human beings away from nature and toward what he called “surrogate activities” such as popular entertainment and sports. He called for human beings to return to what he described as “wild nature.” In his view, this included an end to all scientific research. After he sent his manifesto to multiple newspapers and television stations in the form of several letters, he vowed to stop his attacks if it was published, in full, in a major newspaper. Kaczynski was arrested seven months later, in April 1996, nearly a year to the date after his last admitted bombing. The publication became his undoing — his family soon notified the FBI that he might be the Unabomber. His capture marked the end of the FBI’s longest and most expensive manhunt.