Bombing Cases
Bombing Cases
Bombs are Weapons of Mass Distruction

The Unabomber

Serial Bomber Ted Kaczynski


Updated July 2024
Posted October 2023

FBI Unabomb
Ted Kaczynski

The Unabomber case was a seventeen-year-long investigation a serial bomber, later identified as Theodore Kaczynski, who sent explosives to a seemingly unrelated series of victims, killing three and injuring twenty four. The bombings began in 1978 in Chicago.

The case was named UNABOMB after the targets: university (UN) and airline (A) bombs (BOMB).

Kaczynski targeted people who represented everything he hated: college professors, businessmen, government officials. The bombs were initially investigated by the FBI, the Postal Inspection Service, and ATF as separate cases.

A bomb on an American Airlines fight on November 15, 1979, was sent to the FBI lab, where it was determined to have an unusual construction. After details were published in a trade magazine, an ATF bomb examiner alerted the FBI to two previous bombs. The subject was initially known as the "Junkyard Bomber" since components were scavenged from debris piles to make them untraceable. The bomber would stop for years at a time while he researched and tested bombs to make them more lethal. In 1993 a letter typed on a Smith-Corona circa 1925-30 typewriter with Pico-style type and 2.54 millimeter spacing, was sent to the New York Times. It gave a nine-digit number to authenticate his genuine correspondence.

A UNABOMB task force was led by the FBI from their San Francisco field office. A national hotline was set up and manned 24-hours a day, and the FBI received over 53,000 calls. They created a computer program to manage all the information, over 85,000 documents. They sent an 80-page questionnaire to each of the victims, looking for any connection. All physical evidence was re-examined. The only witness was in 1987 in Salt Lake City, UT, when a woman working at a small computer company saw a suspicious man in a grey hooded sweatshirt. One sketch was made at the time, and when the eyewitness was re-interviewed years later, a new sketch was made.

Over the next two years, two more bombs were sent, killing their victims, and the Unabomber threatened to blow up an airliner. That was when he sent his manifesto "Industrial Society and its Future" to the media. After much debate, the FBI and newspaper editors agreed to publish it in the hope someone could identify the author, which is how Kaczynski was identified. The UNABOMB case had identified 2,417 possible suspects; Kaczynski was number 2,416. Kaczynski, who had been living in a small cabin in Montana, was arrested on April 3, 1996. After pleading guilty in January 1998, Kaczynski was sentenced to eight life sentences.

Unabomber Bomb Component
  • UNABOMB Task Force $1,000,000 Reward Flyer
    The UNABOMB task force, amont its strategies, offered the first million-dollar reward by an investigative agency.
  • Unabomber Bomb Component
    When agents searched the cabin after Kaczynski's arrest, they found components for additional bombs in various stages of creation.
  • Newsweek, "The Mind of the Unabomber"
    APRIL 15, 1996
    This magazine cover features a photo of a disheveled Ted Kaczynsk1 in the FBI's custody moments after his arrest.
  • Unabomber Evidence Bags
    FBI agents collected evidence from Kaczynski's cabin in these bags, and took notes on what found.
  • Newsweek Featuring a Sketch of the Unabomber
    July 10, 1995
    A bombing at CAAMS Inc. computer store in Salt Lake City, UT, in February 1987 was significant because it agave the FBI its first eyewitness in the UNABOMB case. An employee was a man in a hooded sweatshirt with aviator sunglasses leave the bomb. The task force re-interviewed her seven years XXXXXXXX created and distributed.

Unabomber Bomb Component

Unabomber Bomb Model
Unabomber Bomb Model
This is a model of the bomb that was left at the computer atore in Salt Lake City, February 20, 1987. A witness to that helped a sketch artist create the composite sketch. The model was made for Kaczynski's trial.

Unabomber Bomb Package Models
Unabomber Bomb Package Models
These are models of bombs sent by Kaczynaki in the mail. University of California geneticist Dr. Charles J. Epstein was severely injured by a bomb sent in 1993. The package sent to William Dennison at the California Forestry Association in 1995 was opened by Gilbert Murray, who died in the explosion.

The mockups were created by the FBI Laboratory's Special Project Unit to be used at trial.

Unabomber Kaczynski Shoe Replicas
Kaczynski Shoe Replicas
Kaczynski created shoes with false soles to wear as he broke into nearby cabins, hoping the smaller footprints would deflect suspicion from himself.

These replicas were made by Evidence Control Technicians (ECT) at FBI Sacramento.

Unabomber Manifesto
"Industrial Society and its Future"

UNABOMBERThe Unabomber's Brother David
Kaczynski targeted his victims because of their role in technological development. He composed this manifesto on the subject and offered to halt bombings in exchange for its publication. After much debate it was agreed that publishing the work, with its unusual spellings and acronyms, might spur someone to identify the author. Linda Kaczynski read the manifesto and made her husband David, Ted's brother, read it as well, and "the hair stood up on the back of his neck." David then contacted the FBI.

New York Times
This is a message from FC,

If the enclosed manuscript is published reasonably soon and receives wide public exposure, we will permanently desist from terrorism in accord with the agreement that we proposed in our last letter to you.

In that letter we stated that whoever agreed to publish the manuscript was to have exclusive rights to it for six months, after which the material was to become public property. We are willing to be flexible about the six month limit. The reason we offered exclusive rights (temporarily) was to provide an incentive for publication of the manuscript. Presumably, whoever published it would hope to profit by doing so. We assume that the six month limit should be ample if the material is published in a periodical, but if it is published in book form we don't know how long the publisher would need exclusive rights in order to have a reasonable expectation of making a profit. So if the NY Times arranges for publication in book form, we leave the period of exclusive rights to your discretion. But it should be no longer than necessary and in any case must not exceed one year, unless you publish in the Times XX good and convincing reasons for making it longer than that. We don't want our material to remain locked up by a copyright, especially if it is published in the form of a book and the book doesn't sell.

Contrary to what the FBI has suggested, our bombing at the California Forestry Association was in no way inspired by the Oklahoma City bombing. We strongly deplore the kind of indiscriminate slaughter that occurred in the Oklahoma City event. We have no regret about the fact that our bomb blew up the "wrong" man, Gilbert Murray, instead of William N. Dennison, to whom it was addressed. Though Murray did not have Dennison's inflammatory style he was pursuing the same goals, and he was probably pursuing them more effectively because of the very fact that he was not inflammatory.



  1. The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in "advanced" countries, but they have destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued development of technology will worsen the situation. It will certainly subject human beings to greater indignities and inflict greater damage on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased physical suffering even in "advanced" countries.
  2. The industrial-technological system may survive or it may break down. If it survives, it MAY eventually achieve a low level of physical and psychological suffering, but only after passing through a long and very painful period of adjustment and only at the cost of permanently reducing human beings and many other living organisms to engineered products and mere cogs in the social machine. Furthermore, if the system survives, the consequences will be inevitable: There is no way of reforming or modifying the system so as to prevent it from depriving people of dignity and autonomy.
  3. If the system breaks down the consequences will still be very painful. But the bigger the system grows the more disastrous the results of its breakdown will be, so if it is to break down it had best break down sooner rather than later.
  4. We therefore advocate a revolution against the industrial system. This revolution may or may not make use of violence: it may be sudden or it may be a relatively gradual process spanning a few decades. We can't predict any of that. But we do outline in a very general way the measures that those who hate the industrial system should take in order to prepare the way for a revolution against that form of society. This is not to be a POLITICAL revolution. Its object will be to overthrow not governments but the economic and technological basis of the present society.
  5. In this article we give attention to only some of the negative developments that have grown out of the industrial-technological system. Other such developments we mention only briefly or ignore altogether. This does not mean that we regard these other developments as unimportant. For practical reasons we have to confine our discussion to areas that have received insufficient public attention or in which we have something new to say. For example, since there are well-developed environmental and wilderness movements, we have written very little about environmental degradation or the destruction of wild nature, even though we consider these to be highly important.


  1. Almost everyone will agree that we live in a deeply troubled society. One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our

Unabomber Cabin

FBI Ted Kacynski's Cabin
Ted Kacynski's Cabin

Once Kaczynski was identified as a subject, the FBI sent a small team of agents, posing as members of a mining company, to Lincoln, MT, to surveil him. Kaczynski was living in a 10' × 12' cabin with no electricity or running water. Once Kaczynski was arrested, ERT and the bomb unit began their work. In case the cabin was booby-trapped, they cut a hole in the wall and entered through the loft. In the cabin, they found evidence to tie him to the UNABOMB attacks. Shelves were filled with bottles, jars, and cartons containing compounds used to make bombs, along with metal and plastic pipes, electrical wire, and other bomb components. They cleared the cabin of the bombs he was constructing, including one he was only days away from mailing.

Unabomber Inside Cabin

Ted Kaczynski

WIKIPEDIA Theodore John Kaczynski
May 22, 1942 - June 10, 2023
AKA the Unabomber, was an American mathematician and domestic terrorist. He was a mathematics prodigy, but abandoned his academic career in 1969 to pursue a primitive lifestyle.

Between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski murdered three individuals and injured 23 others in a nationwide mail bombing campaign against people he believed to be advancing modern technology and the destruction of the natural environment. He authored Industrial Society and Its Future, a 35,000-word manifesto and social critique opposing industrialization, rejecting leftism, and advocating a nature-centered form of anarchism.

In 1971, Kaczynski moved to a remote cabin without electricity or running water near Lincoln, Montana, where he lived as a recluse while learning survival skills to become self-sufficient. After witnessing the destruction of the wilderness surrounding his cabin, he concluded that living in nature was becoming impossible and resolved to fight industrialization and its destruction of nature through terrorism. In 1979, Kaczynski became the subject of what was, by the time of his arrest in 1996, the longest and most expensive investigation in the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI used the case identifier UNABOM (University and Airline Bomber) before his identity was known, resulting in the media naming him the "Unabomber".

In 1995, Kaczynski sent a letter to The New York Times promising to "desist from terrorism" if the Times or The Washington Post published his manifesto, in which he argued that his bombings were extreme but necessary in attracting attention to the erosion of human freedom and dignity by modern technologies. The FBI and U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno pushed for the publication of the essay, which appeared in The Washington Post in September 1995. Upon reading it, Kaczynski's brother, David, recognized the prose style and reported his suspicions to the FBI. After his arrest in 1996, Kaczynski-maintaining that he was sane-tried and failed to dismiss his court-appointed lawyers because they wished him to plead insanity to avoid the death penalty. He pleaded guilty to all charges in 1998 and was sentenced to eight consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of parole. In June 2023, Kaczynski committed suicide in prison.

Unabomber Wanted Poster

Between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski mailed or hand-delivered a series of increasingly sophisticated bombs that cumulatively killed three people and injured 23 others. Sixteen bombs were attributed to Kaczynski. While the bombing devices varied widely through the years, many contained the initials "FC", which Kaczynski later said stood for "Freedom Club", inscribed on parts inside. He purposely left misleading clues in the devices and took extreme care in preparing them to avoid leaving fingerprints; fingerprints found on some of the devices did not match those found on letters attributed to Kaczynski.

May 25, 1978Northwestern University Police OfficerMinor cuts and burns
May 9, 1979 Northwestern University Graduate StudentMinor cuts and burns
November 15, 1979 American Airlines Flight 444Twelve Passengers smoke inhalation non-lethal
June 10, 1980 Percy Wood, President of United AirlinesSevere cuts and burns over most of body and face
October 8, 1981University of UtahBomb defused
May 5, 1982 Vanderbilt University SecretarySevere burns to hands; shrapnel wounds to body
July 2, 1982UC Berkeley Engineering ProfessorSevere burns and shrapnel wounds to hand and face
May 15, 1985 UC Berkeley Graduate StudentLoss of four fingers and severed artery in right arm; partial loss of vision in left eye
June 13, 1985The Boeing Company in Auburn, WashingtonBomb defused
November 15, 1985University of Michigan Psychology ProfessorTemporary hearing loss
November 15, 1985University of Michigan Research AssistantBurns and shrapnel wounds
December 11, 1985Sacramento Computer Store OwnerDeath
February 20, 1987Salt Lake City Computer Store OwnerSevere nerve damage to left arm
June 22, 1993Geneticist in Tiburon, CASevere damage to both eardrums with partial hearing loss, loss of three fingers
June 24, 1993Yale University Computer science professorSevere burns and shrapnel wounds, damage to right eye, loss of use of right hand
December 10, 1994New Jersey Advertising Executive at Burson-MarstellerDeath
April 24, 1995Sacramento Timber Industry LobbyistDeath

Other Wikipedia Citings