The Unabomber Theodore J. Kaczynski

Theodore John Kaczynski earned the name 'The Unabomber' after he mailed bombs, which would explode upon opening, to various professors and universities. In total, Kaczynski mailed 16 homemade explosive devices to locations varying from California to Connecticut. The attacks spanned over 17 years with his first attack in May of 1978 and his final attack in April of 1995. In total, Kaczynski killed 3 people and injured 23. His reason for bombing was to "call attention to the destabilizing effects of technology and 'leftism' on modern society and traditional values."

Mug shot of the Unabomber (Ted Kaczynski)
Ted Kaczynski (pictured left) sits with his brother David in their childhood home in Evergreen Park, Illinois.

Ted Kaczynski breezed through high school and went to Harvard at the age of 16. After completing his undergraduate degree at Harvard, he attended the University of Michigan where earned his master's and doctorate in mathematics. In 1967, Kaczynski moved to California where he taught mathematics at University of California at Berkeley. He left after two years and moved to a remote part of Montana where he purchased some land with his younger brother, David. For 25 years Theodore Kaczynski lived as a hermit in a small shack without heat or running water.

Kaczynski's shed is where he lived for 25 years. This 10x12 foot box did not have running water or heat.

Many of the bombs were sent to universities and professors. The first bomb, sent to a professor at Northwestern University, was opened by a security guard who was only mildly injured when he opened it. Following bombs were sent to a University of Michigan professor, the computer science departments at Vanderbilt University and the University of California at Berkeley, and a United Airlines executive, among other places.

A flyer showing that Kaczynski was wanted for mailing explosive devices. On the left is a sketch of what the Unabomber was expected to look like.
These three men were among the victims of the Unabomber. Yale computer scientist David Gelernter was crippled by a mail bomb. Computer store owner Hugh Scrutton was killed in 1985 after he picked up a package sent to his building in Sacramento. Gilbert Murray, a Sacramento timber industry lobbyist, was killed by a bomb at his office.
The bombs would be placed inside a wooden box and would explode when opened.

The Unabomber created these bombs from scraps in his ten by twelve foot cabin deep in the wilderness of Montana. At first, his bombs were made with things such as a pipe and safety matches. As he built more bombs, they became more sophisticated.

Ted Kaczynski sent this 35,000 word piece to The New York Times and Washington Post. It is written by 'FC' which Kaczynski said stands for 'Freedom Club.' Kaczynski would write 'FC' on the wooden boxes of the bombs.

In 1996, an interesting development occurred when a manuscript from the Unabomber was sent to The New York Times and Washington Post. In this 35,000 word manifesto, Kaczynski argued his reasoning for the bombings. Although the FBI still did not know who the Unabomber was, David Kaczynski, the brother of the Unabomber, recognized the writing style of the manifesto which led to the arrest of Theodore John Kaczynski.

Time magazine shows the Unabomber on the front cover after he had been captured.

These attacks by the Unabomber left a lasting effect of fear in Americans because of this domestic terrorism. This terrorsim committed by an American citizen began the era of other attacks committed by U.S. Citizens such as other bombings and school shootings. Also, this Unabomber case will go down in history as one of the longest violent crime cases of the FBI, as it was active for 17 years.

One of Kazcinsky's code-written papers found in his cabin. His code was said to be one of the most complex since World War II.

"Ted Kaczynski." Violence in America, edited by Ronald Gottesman and Richard Maxwell Brown, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999. U.S. History in Context, Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.

"Kaczynski Pleads Guilty in Unabomber Case, May 4, 1998." Historic U.S. Events, Gale, 2004. U.S. History in Context, Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.

"Ted Kaczynski." Encyclopedia of World Biography, vol. 33, Gale, 2013. World History in Context, Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.

"Kaczynski, Theodore John 1942-." American Decades, edited by Judith S. Baughman, et al., vol. 10: 1990-1999, Gale, 2001. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.

"Domestic Terrorism." American Decades, edited by Judith S. Baughman, et al., vol. 10: 1990-1999, Gale, 2001. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 30 Apr. 2017.


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