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The Unabomber | 35,000 Words | 3

The Unabomber | 35,000 Words | 3

Tue, 15 Dec 2020 10:00

A fight erupts between Ted Kaczynski and his brother, David. And when tragedy strikes, the Kaczynski family begins to break apart.

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It's evening, December 1992, in a stake house in San Francisco. The lights are low and the booths are crowded. Glasses, clink and chatter and music fills the air. At a corner table, Patrick Webb slowly nurses a beer and waits patiently. He gazes across the table and sees a row of empty bottles. The other people sitting beside him seem to be drunk. They're laughing and getting louder by the minute. But not Webb. He knows that tonight is not an occasion for heavy drinking. He needs to remain sober and clear headed because he's got an important task at hand and he's waiting for the right moment to strike. Webb is a bomb expert with the FBI and right now he's sitting alongside three other FBI agents. They're in town for a conference and while they seem to be having a good time, Webb is in a foul mood because he just learned that the FBI is planning to shut down the Unibomor case. Webb understands why the bureau has gotten so impatient. It's been five long years since the FBI released a sketch of the Unibomor to media outlets across the country. Webb expected a breakthrough in a matter of weeks but no credible leads ever emerged. For Webb who's given his life to this case, the sketch was just another frustrating dead end. And throughout this time, the Unibomor has gone quiet. So the FBI decided this investigation is a waste of time and money. But Webb isn't ready to give up because he knows the Unibomor could still very well be out there. If they shut down the case, Americans could still be at risk and the bureau will have thrown away years of Webb's hard work. So now Webb knows it's his job to get just a little more time enough to finish the case and he knows just the person who can help him. Webb glances to his right at a man with a square jaw and thin brown hair. His name is Chris Renee and he's an FBI supervisor who has real power in Washington. All night, Renee has been talking to another agent who's happy to see the case shut down. Webb has been waiting for the right opportunity so he can make his argument and ask Renee to save the case. And now, just as the other agent rises and says he needs to use the bathroom, Webb knows it's time to strike. Webb sits down his bottle and leans into talk with Renee. Can you believe this? I mean, talk about short sighted. Chris, I expected better decisions coming out of DC. The folks at headquarters are frustrated, Pat. You know that. It's been a year since there's been a single new development. Come on, don't give me the party line. Tell me, what do you think? Personally. Renee takes a deep swig of beer as he considers his words. Look, it doesn't matter what I think. It's not my call. But that's the thing. You have power. You have influence. Come on, put your thumb on the scale. But why? Let's be serious. The case is dead. Dead. Chris, you remember that guy who had a computer store, one of our Sacramento? Yeah, I remember. The guy who was killed by Unibom? I said, yeah, I remember him. Will I get a call from his mother every month? When am I going to catch your son's killer? So Chris, what am I supposed to tell her now? Oh, come on. Don't get sentimental. You know you can't win them all. What if Unibom strikes again? Any word leaks out that we dropped the case? How will that look? Ronay twerls his beer bottle and doesn't say anything. So Webb jumps in with his trump card. You know you made this case, Chris. It's your baby. Webb knows it's true. Ronay was the first person to link all the early bombs. Without him, there might not be a Unibom or case. And so Webb shoots him a look at pity. You're telling me now you want to abandon it? Ronay shifts uncomfortably and shuts his eyes. Right then, Webb knows he's won. Okay, Pat. Okay, fine. I'll recommend an extension. But one year, one year tops. And if there's no new leads, that's it. You won't regret it, Chris. I promise you that. Right then, Webb Grins announces that the next round is on him. Finally, he feels like he can sit back and enjoy the night. But as he searches for the waitress, Webb realizes that after tonight, he can't waste any more time. He has only one year on the Unibom or case. The clock is already ticking. American scandals sponsored by Sachi Art. I'm lucky. Not only is my wife beautiful, funny and smart, she also has great taste that matches mine, which has made decorating our home together a delight. But how do we go about finding the art for our home? Well we agree on that, too. Sachi Art. They have art works from thousands of emerging artists around the globe in all styles, so you're guaranteed to find art that fits your style, space and budget. Their view your room feature lets you visualize the art on your walls, and my advisor, Siting, was instrumental in finding our newest piece. Get 15% off your first order with promo code podcast. Just go to and enter code podcast at checkout. Find art you love today. Officially one hour until your favorite show premieres, time to get some snacks delivered through Instacart. Okay, let's get some popcorn, seltzer, chocolate covered almonds, and wait, did they release the whole season? Better cart some ice cream for the two part finale. When your day should be ending, but a new season is starting, the world is your cart. Visit or download the app and get free delivery on your first order. Offer valid for a limited time, minimum order $10 additional term supply. From Wondery, I'm Lindsay Graham, and this is American Scan. By the mid 1980s, Ted Kaczynski's bombs left several people injured and one man dead. But the FBI found itself stymied as agents struggled to identify the eunabomer. Then in 1987, the bombing ceased. The quiet period lasted five years. Many wondered if the eunabomer had died or had been arrested for another crime. But Kaczynski was simply plotting the next phase in his campaign of terror. He also began to write a manifesto, something he hoped would drive a revolution. But Kaczynski didn't realize that his manifesto would soon expose his identity. This is episode 3. 35,000 words. It's the fall of 1989. Ted Kaczynski stares at a piece of paper, his hand shaking. His fingers are cold and stiff, and his heart begins to race as he reads the letter he holds. Kaczynski just got back to his cabin after biking to the town of Lincoln, Montana. It was a six mile ride over hills and through a dense pine forest. Kaczynski felt alive and full of vigor. And when he stepped inside his cabin, he unzipped his backpack and took out the letter he picked up while in town. It was from his younger brother, David. But as good as he felt before, now as he finishes the letter, he feels himself go numb. He lets the paper fall onto the table. It lands next to a set of batteries. The necessary supplies for his latest bomb experiments. He gazes across his small cabin. It's silent, as always. And suddenly, Ted Kaczynski feels totally alone and full of rage. He can't believe what David just wrote. It was another note about that woman, Linda. Ted first heard about Linda two decades ago when he and David took a trip through Canada. For 20 years, he kept David on a string. It was embarrassing to see him that desperate. And Ted knew that his brother had grown weak. But then it got worse. David briefly lived on a homestead in rural Texas, but gave up on that pure life. Instead he got a home and a car, just like all normal people, trying to fit in. But then David announced that he and Linda are getting married. Ted rises and paces around his cabin. He races back to the letter to read it one more time. Maybe he misread it. Maybe he's losing his mind. But as he finishes rereading the letter, he feels himself once again aching in pain. He buries his face in his hands. He squats down to the ground. And then he lets out a piercing scream until his throat cracks and burns. It's clear, David has abandoned him. He's too blind to realize that this Linda is manipulating him and using sex to tear the brother's apart. David's stupidity and selfishness is like a knife and Ted's back. And now Ted can't help but wield a weapon himself. Ted sits down and grabs a pen and paper. He begins furiously writing a response. He says he's disgusted by David's weakness. He calls his brother a fool. And he issues an ultimatum. Break things off with Linda or he will cease all communication. Ted finds an envelope and seals up the note. He hates going into town too often, ever since the FBI began sending around that sketch of him. But tomorrow he'll make an exception. Because David needs to know that there are consequences for his actions. A year later David Kaczynski exits a Chicago freeway and heads toward the suburb of Lombard. He glances right and sees his father Turk sitting in the passenger seat. He looks exhausted and old. And as he stares out the window, Turk grabs a cigarette and lights it up. David's eyes go wide with shock. The two of them just left Turk's latest chemotherapy session. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and David came all the way from New York to take care of him. But here Turk is still smoking. David reaches out and tries to grab the cigarette, but Turk fends him off. David then pounds the steering wheel and asks why they're even bothering with treatments if Turk is just giving up on life. But Turk just shrugs. That doesn't say a word. He keeps staring at the window. That coldness reminds David of Ted. And any reminder of Ted makes David feel desperate with sadness. He hasn't heard from Ted in over a year, not since Ted mailed an angry response after learning about David's engagement. And now, with her father shutting down, it seems like the whole family is falling apart. David knows he has to do something to change this, to fix his family and bring them back together. Soon, David pulls up to his parents house. He and Turk step inside and David grabs the male. He sorts through some bills, a catalog, and then sees a letter. He fixes hearts, skip a beat, because he'd know that blocky handwriting anywhere. It's a letter from Ted. David tears it open with a surge of hope. He recently wrote to Ted and told him the horrible news that their father had terminal lung cancer. He had hoped that this family emergency would somehow rouse Ted and convince him to rejoin the family. But as he reads the letter, David's heart sinks. Ted acknowledges that he received the news of his father's condition, but he offers no sympathy, and he doesn't offer to return home to see Turk or to be with the family as their father is dying. David sets down the letter and rests his head in his hands. He had hoped he could somehow save Ted, bring the family back together. But now, for the first time, he feels it might be too late. Ted, maybe too far gone. A month later, Wanda Kaczynski stares blankly across a funeral home in the Chicago suburbs. She feels dizzy and slow. And even though she hears the soft music coming from an organ, and even though she sees a table lined with flowers, somehow none of this makes any sense. It doesn't make any sense at all. Wanda's son, David, suddenly appears, and hands her a plate of food. He tells her she has to eat, so she takes the plate, but then her hands start shaking, and before she can help it, Wanda drops her fore. She feels like something has broken inside her, and she begins to sob. Once again, she replays the scene in her mind. It's the same one she can't let go of. Can't stop remembering. It was just last week, and she was in the living room at home. Wanda heard a loud pop from upstairs. She stood up worrying that her husband Turk had fallen. David was at home, too, and he went upstairs to check. But a moment later, he came back downstairs. His eyes were wide, and his mouth hanging open. He told Wanda that Turk had shot himself with a rifle. Now, remembering that moment, Wanda's grief begins to overtake her again, as she stands trembling in the middle of the funeral home, an old friend approaches and gives her a hug. But she's weeping hopelessly, and searching for an explanation for everything that's happened. But that's something she knows she'll never get. Wanda spent days looking for a suicide note. She searched the house top to bottom, looking for a simple last message from Turk, something saying, I love you. But there was nothing. Turk could be cold like that, just like Ted. And Wanda knows that's one of the worst parts of all of this. Turk and Ted never reconciled. But Wanda knows it's not too late for her to reconnect with Ted. David invited him to the funeral, and so far he hasn't shown up. But maybe he will. Maybe she'll see her son. The person she wants here more than any friend or relative. A few minutes later, the funeral director appears at Wanda's elbow. He says he has a long distance phone call. Wanda sighs and nods. She is exhausted, but she should at least thank whoever is calling. Wanda steps into another room and picks up the phone. Hello? Mom, it's me. Wanda's heart suddenly soars. It's Ted. The first time he's called in years. Teddy! Teddy, are you in town? Are you here? I'll come get you. No, no, I'm not, Mom. I'm in Montana. Oh, okay. This is costing me $3 a minute. Well, don't worry. I'll pay you back, Teddy. I'm just so glad you called. David sent an emergency letter about Dad. So you heard. It's awful. Just terrible. Terrible for all of us. No, it wasn't terrible. It was brave. He died on his own terms like a man I admire him. Wanda bites her lip and pinches back a tear. She doesn't know what to say. Huh? Uh. What is it? I do feel sorry for you. I know you loved him. Listen, Teddy. No matter what happened in the past, it is not too late. We want you in our lives. I love you. I miss you. Stop it, Mom. Teddy, I said I love you. Come back and be with us. Wanda holds her breath and waits for him to say something. All she hears is silence. And then a click. Teddy. Hello? Teddy. Wanda sits down the phone and wipes her nose. Her heart is still aching, but she feels something else, a small trickle of hope. Teddy did call. He wouldn't have called if he didn't care. As Wanda rejoins a funeral, she catches David's eye across the room. And she feels her strength coming back. She has two good kids. And even if the family is strained right now, someday, hopefully, she can bring them back together once again. This two years later, the summer of 1992, Ted Kaczynski shields his eyes and looks over an endless forest of pine trees. He takes a deep breath and wipes the sweat from his forehead. And then he continues hiking up this slope in northern Montana. Kaczynski loves to hike. Gives him a chance to clear his head and commune with nature. But today isn't just about trees and mountains. Today Kaczynski is experimenting with a new type of bomb. It's been over five years since his last bombing in Salt Lake City. Since then, he's been lying low and rethinking his strategy. Planting bombs in person is out of the question. He can't risk being spotted again now that the whole country has seen that famous sketch of him. At the same time, large packages are expensive to mail. And they arouse suspicion. Kaczynski needs something smaller, something stealthier. And that's why he's begun experimenting with aluminum powder mixed with ammonium nitrate, an extremely powerful explosive. And he's built a bomb that could be a work of genius. It looks like a hot dog inside a bun. First the detonator inside goes off, and then that ignites the surrounding ammonium nitrate. But Kaczynski has face setbacks with a number of duds. Still he knows that if this new detonator works, he'll be that much closer to building the perfect bomb. First though, he needs to test it. Out on the hillside Kaczynski scans the forest. Finally he spots a large dead tree with a hollow in his trunk. Kaczynski walks toward it and wedges the bomb inside the hole. He then lights a long fuse. Hurrying off Kaczynski finds a space between two boulders. He settles in and waits, feeling the stab of anxiety because he can't afford any more duds. After hundreds of experiments, he's almost out of money. And the last thing he wants is to have to ask David or his mother for anything else. Several minutes pass, and Kaczynski grows nervous. He rocks back and forth waiting. And then he grows certain. That's another failure. Maybe it's time to give up. Maybe he's not the genius he thought he was. Kaczynski stands and starts walking back. But when he's a hundred feet from the tree, there's a thunderous explosion. Kaczynski falls to his knees and listens as the boom echoes through the mountains. Kaczynski's mouth hangs open. And he jumps up and runs back to the tree. He smells burnt wood and sees plumes of smoke and a smile lights up his bearded face. The tree trunk is a smoking black crater. Kaczynski examines the site, rolling charred debris beneath his foot. If his bomb tore apart solid wood, he can only imagine what it would do to an unsuspecting scientist. Kaczynski grins again. He may have been quiet the last few years, but he is far from done. Peloton isn't just about bikes and treadmills. It's a team of instructors ready to motivate you 24.7. Just Peloton, there are literally thousands of classes, ranging from strength training and yoga to running and boxing, which means Peloton is the perfect nonjudgmental space to experiment with new types of movement at a level in pace that feel good for you. Super busy, it doesn't matter if you have five minutes or an hour. If you're an early riser or a fan of the evening burn, there's a Peloton class that fits into your day. Peloton is where you'll find what works for you on your schedule wherever you happen to be. At home, at the gym, or even outdoors. One that moves you anytime, anywhere. Try the Peloton bike or tread risk free for 30 days. Learn more at New members only, terms apply. We get support from Audible. We've all got busy schedules. And I'm sure sometimes you feel like, with all the things you have to do, it's hard to find time for the stuff you love to do. Like reading, that's why Audible is so great. Audible offers an incredible selection of audiobooks across every genre, from bestsellers and new releases to celebrity memoirs, mysteries and thrillers, motivation, wellness, business and more. Plus, as an Audible member, you can choose one title a month to keep from their entire catalog, including the latest bestsellers and new releases. And also, I have to say, I love how the Audible app makes it easy to listen anytime, anywhere. When you're traveling, working out, walking, doing chores, wherever your day takes you. Cleaning the bathroom has really never been more fun. Let Audible help you discover new ways to laugh, be inspired, or be entertained. New members can try it free for 30 days. Visit slash listening, or text listening to 500 500. That's slash listening, or text listening to 500 500 to try Audible free for 30 days. slash listening. It's June 22, 1993, in a bright, cloudless day in Tibberon, California. Charles Epstein pulls into the driveway of a big white house and steps out of his car. He pauses for a moment and looks out at the San Francisco Bay. Epstein would love to lie out in the sun and relax, but today he came home early because he has an important task ahead of him. He needs to finish writing a grant application, one that'll let him keep pushing ahead with his important work as a geneticist at UC San Francisco. Recently, he's been getting a lot of attention and was even featured in The New York Times. In his research, he splices genes into mice to give them the equivalent of Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease. The public responds to his genetic engineering has been overwhelming, but it hasn't all been positive even if Epstein believes his work will save people's lives. Epstein unlocks the front door and quickly glances at the male on the kitchen table. The stack includes a small package from the chemistry department at Cal State Sacramento. It's about the size of a VHS cassette, but heavier. Epstein is curious, so he sits down at the table and begins to open it. It all happens very fast. There's a huge bang and a bright white force blows him backward. Suddenly, he sprawled on the kitchen floor. The table has been blown off its legs, the windows shattered. Epstein feels a terrible throbbing and then a searing pain coming from his right hand. He's dazed, but he knows he needs medical help and quickly. He drags himself across the floor and manages to reach the phone, but he can't dial 911 because several of his fingers are missing. Using all his strength, he gets to his feet and nudges the door open. Then he steps outside. He notices gardeners working in his neighbor's yard. He starts toward them limping in incredible pain and hoping he can stay conscious long enough to reach them. An hour later, Patrick Webb turns the steering wheel of his Toyota sedan and heads toward the Golden Gate Bridge. The car approaches the tall red beams and he looks out across the bay. The sun is starting to set and the water on the bay is calm. Webb glances right, quickly locks eyes with his wife Florence. She shoots him in the midst of his grin. He then grabs her hand and gives it a kiss. Tonight's going to be a perfect night. Webb and his wife are going out for a romantic dinner, one that's long overdue. Webb has been working tirelessly and he knows that his pursuit of the unabomber has started to take a toll in his marriage. That's no surprise to Webb. It's been six months since he got his extension on the case, but his team hasn't found a single new lead and morale in the unit has grown abysmal. The stress is steadily turning Webb's hair gray and affecting his relationship with Florence. But tonight is finally his chance to reverse course and to fix things with his wife. Webb is halfway across the bridge when his cellular phone rings. Florence shoots a weathering look. Don't do it. I shouldn't let it go. Look, it'll be two seconds. Don't pick it up. This is our night. Webb grips the steering wheel time. He feels torn, but he knows what he has to do. So Webb lets go of Florence's hand and picks up the heavy foam. He quickly glances at Florence, but she's already turned away with a look of resigned anger. Webb knows he'll just have to patch this up later. It'll be fine. Hello, this is Agent Webb. Patrick, it's Dennis. I'm at the office. Can you talk? I'm just getting off the bridge. Hold on. Webb finds a spot to pull over. Before Florence can say anything, he hops out of the car and pulls out the phone's antenna for better reception. All right, Dennis. Shoot. There's been a bombing. It's in Marin County at a house. You think it's you, no bomb? Pat has got all the hallmarks. He's the victim. Some scientist. He'll live, but he's in bad shape. Look, we need you to head over and lock down the crime scene right away. Webb's heart starts racing. He looks at Florence trying to meet her eyes, but she turns her head and again looks away. Webb knows he's got a terrible choice in front of him. He can't stand to hurt his wife. She's put up with night after night of late hours, and this case has taken over his life. But he also knows he can't say no. And now, not when they finally have a development. All right, Dennis. Be there soon. Webb gets the address and hangs up. Then he walks back to his car and takes the seat behind the wheel. For a moment, he and Florence sit in silence. Webb can feel a heavy weight between the two of them. But Webb knows he has to break the news. They have to reschedule dinner. This is too important. Florence sits quietly, her expression blank. And then Webb tells her the next piece of news. He doesn't have time to drive her home. You'll have to drop her off in a parking lot and have their daughter come pick her up. Florence turns and shoots Webb a look of crushing disappointment. And she tells him that they can't go on like this. Something has to change. Webb nods. Tells Florence that he loves her. He says he can't imagine what she must be feeling. But whatever anger she has, whatever resentment, she's right to feel it. This job has taken over his life. And it's not okay. Florence nods and thanks him for saying that. But Webb reminds Florence that after all these years, finally, the case has got some life again. And then he makes a promise. They may have to cancel yet another dinner. But this time is different. This time, he's going to get the unibond. Almost two years later, Ted Kaczynski is in his cabin in Montana, an owner rampage. He turns over food boxes, digs through his bedding and piles of worn clothes. But he still can't find his missing notebook. For 16 years, Kaczynski has been the mastermind behind a deadly bombing campaign. He's injured and killed people, and now he's finally ready to tell the world why he launched the campaign. How technology has corrosive effects on the human spirit, and how Kaczynski has an idea to change the world. He's been jotting down his ideas in the notebook. But now he can't find it. Kaczynski grunts and kicks over an apple crate. There underneath it is the missing notebook. Kaczynski nearly collapses and happy relief. He stalks over and picks it up, and then he heads over to his typewriter. Kaczynski knows he's become a celebrity criminal, with a million dollar reward for his capture. And so now he plans to take advantage of this celebrity status. He's going to type up a manifesto and submit it for publication. He knows he can aim big, maybe the Washington Post or New York Times, maybe even Scientific American. He always liked that one. Wherever it's published, it's critical that millions of people read it. That will give his manifesto power. Because once people digest its message, they'll rise up in revolution. Human kind will finally throw off the chains of technology. Kaczynski licks his lips and bangs out the first line. The industrial revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. Suddenly though, his arms feel weak. It's one thing to fantasize about publishing his manifesto. But it's another to stare at actual words on a page. All at once Kaczynski realizes what a huge risk this is. He's essentially mailing evidence straight to the FBI. But Kaczynski chuckles. The FBI has been chasing him for years, and so far they've been clueless. He could probably drop off his manifesto at FBI headquarters in person and still get away with everything. Somehow they'd still screw it up. But Kaczynski knows there's no need to tempt fate. So he tosses this first sheet of paper into the fire. Then he puts on a pair of gloves, picks up another sheet, and begins typing again. It's October 1995. David Kaczynski is searching through the newspaper collection at Union College in Schenectady, New York. His wife Linda stands beside him as the two search through the papers. They're looking for a special pullout section from a specific edition of one paper, a 35,000 word manifesto which the Washington Post printed last month. The author of the article is the terrorist known as the unibomber. David frowns as he searches the papers. He resents being here. He heard about the manifesto when it was first printed, but didn't give it much thought. It sounded like the words of a psychopathic murderer, but one who apparently agreed to stop killing people if the newspaper published his ideas. For David, this sort of blackmail is just another despicable act in a world that was growing more violent by the day. But David hadn't thought again about the manifesto until Linda brought it up. She mentioned that the manifesto was anti technology, and it reminded her of how David described his brother Ted. She said she wondered if there was a connection. David was floored by his suggestion. Linda has never even met Ted, and now she was implying that he could be the unibomber. Ted couldn't even stand to see a bunny in a cage. How could he be a violent killer? Still, Linda insisted that David at least read the manifesto. He agreed just to keep the peace, which is why he's here today searching through a collection of recent newspapers. Finally, Linda spots the issue of the post. They flip through it, but there's another hiccup. The supplement with the manifesto is missing. David exhales, feeling secretly relieved. He suggests that they call it a day. But then Linda's face lights up. She has an idea. The internet. She grabs David's hand and drags him to a computer terminal. David and Linda have never been online before, and wait as the machine pings and hisses. But finally, the first six pages of the manifesto load. David settles in to read certain this is a waste of time. But when he finishes those six pages, he pushes his chair back, and hurries out into the hallway. His face feels flushed, and he tells Linda he needs some room to breathe. For a minute or so, the two stand in the hallway, quiet. But then Linda asks David what he thought. David looks down at the floor, feeling shaken. Then he looks back at Linda and says, he's been waiting all day to shoot down her idea. But if he's being honest, something about the manifesto does sound like Ted. There's a chance it's him, maybe one in a thousand. Linda takes his hand, and says that even if it's only one in a million, they should still do something. David sighs. In his job, he works with troubled children. And he always tells them to do the right thing and follow their conscience. But now he has his own dilemma, and his own torn conscience, and he has no idea what to do. But David gets an idea. He was an English major in college, and very good at analyzing texts. He tells Linda that he'll find a full copy of the manifesto, and then dig up some of Ted's old letters. He'll compare the two, line by line. David realizes it's going to be painful going over Ted's old letters. That pain won't be nearly as great as imagining his brother as the unibomber. And so as quickly as he can, David is going to become an expert in the unibomber's manifesto, and hopefully prove that his brother is not a killer. If you're into true crime, the Generation Y podcast is essential listening. We started this podcast over 10 years ago to dissect some of the craziest and most notable murders, crimes, and conspiracy theories together, and we'd love for you to join us. Generation Y is one of the longest running true crime podcasts out there, and we are still at it, unraveling a new case every week. We break down infamous cases like the Evil Genius Bank robbery, and lesser known cases like the case of Kimberly Rico. Did she actually kill her husband after they took part in a murder mystery game? Recover every angle, breaking down theories, diving deep into forensic evidence, and interviewing those close to the case. And with over 450 episodes, there's a little something for every true crime listener. Follow the Generation Y podcast on Amazon Music, or every listen to podcasts, or you can listen ad free by joining Wondry Plus in the Wondry app. This November 1995, and a month after David Kaczynski first read the Unibombers Manifesto. Tonight, David sits on his living room couch with his wife, Linda. He grabs another yellow piece of paper from the pile on the coffee table and begins to read it. It's another old letter from Ted, and David winces as he revisits all of Ted's rage and hatred. David is tired, but he knows he has to keep reading. Every night has been like this for the past few weeks. Instead of cooking or watching TV, he and Linda have ordered takeout, settle down on the couch, and spend hours comparing Ted's old letters to the Unibombers Manifesto. It's the only way David can know with any certainty whether Ted's just a troubled man, or a murderer. David takes a deep breath, and then continues reading the old letters. Halfway through reading one, David lets out a groan, and he tells Linda that he's got something. It's yet another word with British spelling. David never understood why Ted spelled certain words the British way. He writes, analyze with an S instead of a Z. David always saw this as a harmless quirk, but it doesn't seem harmless now. While reading the Manifesto, David kept seeing those same British spellings, and each time he saw one, he couldn't help but get chills. Linda jostowns something in a notebook. She then looks up and says this is another point against Ted. David's eyes wander as he considers the horrifying implications. These past weeks he's gone back and forth like a pendulum, trying to figure out whether Ted is guilty or innocent. Part of him still can't imagine Ted as the Unibomber. His brother may be mentally ill, but he's never been violent. But the evidence keeps stacking up. And what they found is uncanny. Ted has lived in Chicago, Michigan, and the Bay Area. Those are all areas that were hit by bombs. Even worse, there seems to be a pattern in the timing of these attacks. Little bombs exploded soon after David and his parents sent money to Ted. David feels sick by the thought that he funded terrorism and murder. As he and Linda have continued this exercise, he's felt his own mental health teetering. He wishes this could all just go away. So David sets aside the letter and stands up. He shakes his head, says this isn't working, this exercise isn't getting them anywhere. Linda watches David as he paces the room. He can tell she's exasperated. He wanted them to hand over the letters to the authorities, but David refused. Now though, they're out of options. But then David stops pacing. He feels an electric charge of an idea as it begins to take shape. And he sits back down on the couch and tells Linda he has a plan. He'll write Ted a letter and propose a visit. He'll say it's a chance for the brothers to catch up. He can even offer to pick up winter supplies or Ted as an incentive. And while he's up there, he can poke around for signs of bombs. If there's no evidence, we'll know for sure that Ted is innocent. Then they can stop obsessing and get their life back. David smiles and waits for Linda to agree with the plan. But she doesn't. Instead, she tells him it's a terrible idea. It's dangerous. She's afraid Ted might hurt him. At that, David feels something inside him snap. And he yells at Linda that Ted is not violent. How many times does he have to say that for her to believe it? Linda backs away and gives him a cold stare. She says that's fine. If he's so certain, then there's no point in reading all these letters. She then grabs her box of takeout and disappears into the bedroom. David rubs a hand through his hair and curses. He hates this. He hates all the ways he feels like he's failed Ted, like he's let his brother down. But then he looks back and forth between Ted's letters and the Unibomber's manifesto, which are all spread out on the coffee table. Deep down, he isn't sure that Ted is innocent. But he also can't go on with this uncertainty. So David sits down again, grabs a piece of paper. He decides he will write Ted. He will pay him a visit, and he will prove to Linda and himself that his brother is innocent. A month later, David cousins he walks up to his house and grabs the mail. But as he shuffles through it, he stops in his tracks. To letter, addressed in blocky handwriting from Ted. David's hands tremble as he unlocks the front door. He steps inside and lets himself drop onto the couch. He stares at the letter, a heavy feeling of dread washing over him. He can't bring himself to read it, not yet. Because he's still not sure what he'll actually do if Ted invites him to Montana. Ted could be a killer. He could be mad. David can't risk his life for such a foolish plan. And if he somehow raised Ted's suspicions, something even worse could happen. David can't live with that kind of guilt. But David decides he can't hold out any longer. Ted tears open the envelope and pulls out the letter. It's short by Ted's standards, just two pages. And as soon as David scans the first line, his heart sinks. Ted is furious with David for writing. He says that he's choked with frustration. All he wants is to get his family off his back forever. And he lets David know that this includes him. The rest is a wandering, hateful rant. David thought that after all these years, he could withstand this venom a little better, but he was wrong. It has come completely unhinged, and it hurts more deeply than David ever thought possible. David's father is already dead. Now it seems his brother has gone as well. What the worst part is he knows that this is Ted's intention. Ted wants to hurt him. Pains David to admit this, but if Ted is willing to hurt his own family, he's probably willing to hurt strangers as well. David tries to read the letter again, but can't. His eyes are full of burning tears. And he realizes that he doesn't need to reread the letter. He already knows what he has to do. It's time to talk to the FBI. Three months later, David Kaczynski steps into a suite at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC. There's a woman waiting for him and sitting at a glass table. Her name is Kathy Puckett, and she's an FBI agent. David collapses into a chair and rubs his eyes. He's exhausted. Last night, he and his wife Linda flew to DC so he could meet with the FBI. But a blizzard knocked out power everywhere in the city, and he spent the night freezing cold in his hotel. After that long, shivering night, he spent this morning being grilled by one of Puckett's colleagues. The conversation went on and on as the agent questioned David about Ted's history, and my David thought he might be the unibomber. It was excruciating. And David realized then that there was no turning back. He had now betrayed his own brother. David looks up at Puckett, and he doubts this next interview will be any better. He knows that he has to keep going, even if he is tired, even if he is heartbroken from his own decision. Because Ted appears to be unhinged and deadly. But if David cooperates, he could somehow still protect Ted. Agent Puckett sets down a mug and leans forward. So how are you doing, David? I hope my colleague wasn't too eager this morning. Eager? That's one way to put it. Guys are bully. He pushed and pushed. All he wanted was for me to hand over Ted's letters. I'm sorry. I don't think you should have been treated that way. When you understand that's why I was afraid to talk to you people. I mean my brother, he's mentally ill. I can't just give you some evidence and then have a bunch of FBI agents go charging into his cabin. Well, David, that's not exactly how it would happen. We're just collecting information. Listen to me. He could be innocent. You understand that, right? Of course. Of course. Well, if you go storm his cabin, he might lash out. Or he might hurt himself. And if David, if Ted's innocent, he could go right back to his normal life. But if he's behind these bombs, then we have to stop the killing. Either way, we need his letters. That'll help us identify whether he's the unibond. Now I'm sorry my colleague was pushy, but we do need those letters. And you know that. It's the right thing to do. David stands. His legs shaky. He walks to the window and stares out at the falling snow. He knows that if Ted is convicted, he could face the death penalty. His blood would be on David's hands. At the same time, three people have already died from the unibombers attacks. Even more have been injured. And so as hard as it is, David's decision seems clear. Yeah, you'll get the letters. But you need to promise me something in return. Ted can never know I talked to you. Never, never, ever. He would be devastated. We can do that. We can keep your identity secret. Don't worry about that. David looks directly into our eyes. I mean it. My role can never be made public. I promise. On behalf of the FBI, I promise. And with that, David makes a promise of his own. He agrees to turn over Ted's letters and to cooperate in the case against his brother. He just hopes it all ends soon. And that the man being led away in handcuffs is someone, anyone, other than Ted. Next on American Scandal. After a 17 year manhunt, the FBI closes in on a remote cabin in Montana. But will they find enough evidence to lock up the unibomber? From Wondery, this is episode three of the Unibomber for American Scandal. And a quick note about our reenactments. In most cases, we can't know exactly what was said. But all our dramatizations are based on historical research. If you'd like to learn more about Ted Kaczynski and the Unibomber case, we recommend the Brooks Harvard and the Unibomber by Austin Chase, every last time by David Kaczynski and hunting the Unibomber by lease wheel. American Scandal is hosted, edited, and executive produced by me, Lindsey Graham for airship, audio editing by Molly Bach, sound design by Derek Ferons. This episode is written by Sam Kean, edited by Christina Maul's burger. Our senior producer is gay ribbon. Executive producers are Stephanie Jenns, Jenny Lauer Beckman, and her nonlopes for Wondery. The shocking true crime podcast The Devil Within is back for a second season, with a story about love, exorcism, and a murder that's haunted the town of West Yorkshire for decades. In 1974, Michael Taylor was a doding father of five, but after joining a local church and falling in love with its young beautiful preacher, Michael changed. His new church determined that he was possessed by no fewer than 48 demons and would require an exorcism to save his soul and protect his young family from evil, but the supposed remedy would come at a very steep price. The terrifying series The Devil Within is available on Amazon music, Apple podcasts, or wherever you're listening right now. If you'd like to binge the entire series early and add free, subscribe to Wondery Plus in Apple Podcasts or the Wondery app.