Few criminals in recent American history could be claimed to have has as much of an impact on the public's mind as the Unabomber. Gaining his moniker from the FBI's summary of his activities (UNiversity +Airline +BOMber), Ted Kaczynski set 16 bombs which killed three and injured 23 before convincing the New York Times and Washington Post to publish his 'Manifesto'.
Kaczynski was a child prodigy and extremely accomplished mathematician at Harvard University, writing a PhD thesis so difficult that his supervisors struggled to understand it. He was the youngest professor ever hired by the University of California, Berkeley - but this did not last as he struggled badly with his teaching duties.
Becoming a reclusive a self-built shack in Montana, Kaczynski became incensed at the destruction of the wilderness around him, and this led him to conduct a bombing campaign with the intention of highlighting the dangers of the 'techno-industrial' system.
Kaczynski is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Now a two week online auction has just opened to sell his belongings online in order to benefit his victims. These include photos, typewriters, tools, clothing, watches and books - all items that were significant to Kaczynski in some way.
After an initial flurry of bids, the likely top lots have settled as being his 'hoodie' top and sunglasses (currently at $5,025) which may have been used to disguise his appearance when he was planting bombs, his typewriter ($5,175) and a handwritten copy of his 'Manifesto' ($12,025). The final prices are likely to be significantly higher.
In the end it was the Manifesto that led to the Unabomber's capture. It was read by his brother David Kaczynski and his (David's) wife, who recognised a number of stylistic similarities, such as the use of the phrase "You can't eat your cake and have it too" and views similar to those in his sibling's letters.
The auction closes on June 3. The sale of criminal memorabilia is always controversial, but it can be valuable nevertheless - for example a series of letters written by the UK's 'Yorkshire Ripper', Peter Sutcliffe sold for £1,966 ($3,250) in December 2009.
More generally, there is a lot of interest in somewhat macabre items, such as the Pierrepoint collection of Britain's 'top' hangman.
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