In the later 1970s, a deranged madman began mailing bombs to unsuspecting victims. The targets were usually associated with universities or airlines, and the suspect was therefore dubbed “The UNAbomber.” The bomber sent more devices throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and he wounded and killed several people during his violent career. The UNAbomber eventually mailed a letter in which he threatened to continue his campaign of terror unless The New York Times and other newspapers published a lengthy “manifesto” in which the bomber blamed modern technology for the woes of the world. Editors consulted with authorities and subsequently published the manifesto with the hope that someone might recognize the style and thoughts of the bomber.
David Kaczynski read The UNAbomber’s words and suspected that his brother, a former mathematician-turned-hermit, may have written the manifesto. David contacted authorities to report his suspicions and agreed to cooperate with the investigation. Law enforcement agents then descended on a small cabin in the woods of Montana and arrested David’s brother, Theodore Kaczynski. Mentally disturbed and unrepentant, “Ted” was convicted and sent to prison.
Born in Chicago, Illinois on May 22, 1942, Ted’s problems surfaced at an early age. The withdrawn yet intelligent child was afraid of other people and he awkward in social settings. His academic skills and high IQ pushed him ahead several grades into classes with older students; the sudden advancement also increased his anxieties. Ted’s interest in mathematics propelled him throughout his scholastic life, and he eventually attended Harvard University in 1958. As a college student, Ted struggled with emotional problems. His inability to develop friendships with others or establish intimacy with women had left him detached from the world and trapped in his own.
At this time, Ted agreed to be part of a debate as part of a study on the effects of stress. The experiment was conducted by Dr. Henry Murray, but the conditions were not as Ted expected. Strapped into a chair and blinded by a bright light, Ted was verbally attacked by a man acting as a merciless interrogator. A series of electrodes and wires gaged the responses of the traumatized student. Ted later said that the experience only aggravated his emotional distress.
Ted graduated and continued his studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His abilities earned him accolades and he published several articles in respected journals. After leaving Michigan, Ted landed a job as an assistant mathematics professor at the University of California in Berkeley in 1967. His attempt to join society failed, and Ted Kaczynski was a broken man. He inexplicably resigned and his academic career came to an end. He later found work but was fired after his interest in a female coworker led to open hostility and threats of violence.
Kaczynski left his job at Berkeley shortly after the Zodiac killed two victims north of Berkeley in Benicia. At the time of the murders, Kaczynski somewhat resembled the composite sketch of the Zodiac. Kaczynski’s handwriting was very similar to that of the Zodiac, and he even used his own, complex coded methods to write a secret diary of his criminal life. The career of the UNAbomber began shortly after the Zodiac disappeared. These and other facts led Douglas Oswell and Michael Rusconi to conclude that Kaczynski may have been the Zodiac. Authorities investigated this possibility and compared Kaczynski’s fingerprints with those believed to belong to the Zodiac. The prints did not match, and although authorities dismissed the so-called “Zodiac/UNAbomber Connection,” Oswell and Rusconi continued their amateur investigation and subsequently published their findings in a CD-ROM book.