Letters Reveal Unabomber Fell in Love With Pen Pal

Yahoo News reporter Holly Bailey pored over Ted Kaczynski's letters
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 25, 2016 1:20 PM CST
Letters Reveal Unabomber Fell in Love With Pen Pal
In this April 4, 1996 file photo, Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, is escorted into the federal courthouse in Helena, Mont.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

In handwritten letters to hundreds of supporters and curiosity seekers, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski expressed shock over the 9/11 attacks and wrote that he preferred Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential race. The correspondence was described in a report published by Yahoo News early Monday and picked up by the AP. Yahoo News reporter Holly Bailey spent several weeks looking through Kaczynski's letters, which now fill more than 90 boxes at the University of Michigan Library. The Labadie Collection, a special division of the library that documents the history of social protest movements, contacted him after his arrest to see if he would consider donating his writings. Kaczynski did not respond to a letter from Yahoo News asking why he has maintained the archive through the library.

The 73-year-old, convicted in 1998, is imprisoned at the Federal Correctional Complex in Florence, Colorado, known as Supermax. Some standout details of his correspondence:

  • In 2010, Kaczynski engaged in a long back-and-forth with students at Huntingdon College in Alabama about the power of Facebook and how public figures like WikiLeaks' Julian Assange used the Internet to gain influence. But he admitted he didn't know what YouTube was or what it meant to go "viral."
  • The papers reveal that Kaczynski remains strongly opposed to technology. Yahoo News reports that he is not allowed access to the Internet, but he still solicits email addresses from letter writers to share with others as part of his efforts to create an anti-technology movement.
  • The letters also show he fell in love with one of his early pen pals, Joy Richards, and they suggest Kaczynski and Richards explored the idea of getting married. Richards died of cancer in late 2006, and Yahoo reports that some of the most anguished letters in the collection deal with the pain Kaczynski felt over her illness.
  • Kaczynski has not corresponded with his brother since learning that he was the one who turned him into authorities, according to Yahoo News.
  • Kaczynski also "ignored repeated desperate overtures from his mother, Wanda, who wrote him constantly until she died in 2011."
(More Ted Kaczynski stories.)

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