“He reportedly owns many guns and a flame-thrower” and Other Extracts from William Vollmann’s FBI File

William T. Vollmann has an essay in the newest issue of Harper’s called “Life as a Terrorist.” In the essay, Vollmann details what he finds in his FBI files (after filing a Freedom of Information Act request, an appeal, and a lawsuit to actually get a hold of the thing). He finds out that he was one of the Unabomber suspects:

When I finally received my FBI file, such as it was — namely, two higgledy-piggledy batches of papers, out of order, padded with duplicates, some of which they had forgotten to redact — I learned that I had been Unabomber Suspect Number S-2047:

S-2047 William T. Vollman. Predicated on a referral from a citizen. Investigation has determined that Vollman, a professional author, is widely travelled, however, existing travel records for him do not eliminate him as a viable suspect.

A few more extracts from Vollmann’s FBI file:

  • While VOLLMANN’s appearance varies over the years, New Haven notes strong physical resemblance to UNABOMBER composites. New Haven provided color video prints of book jackets to Sacramento via referenced airtel.
  • UNABOMBER’s moniker FC may correlate with title of VOLLMANN’s largest work, novel Fathers and Crows. That novel reportedly best exemplifies VOLLMANN’s anti-progress, anti-industrialist theme/beliefs/value systems and VOLLMANN, himself, has described it as his most difficult work.
  • [An informant] suggests VOLLMANN has a death wish . . . Reportedly, at age 9, VOLLMANN’s younger sister (age 6) drowned in a backyard pond in New Hampshire while he was supposed to be watching over her. Guilt from that situation may have had a profound effect on VOLLMANN.
  • VOLLMANN’s meticulous nature, as described above, is consistent with manufacture of and presentation on UNABOM devices. Several witnesses have commented that UNABOM packages appeared “seamless” and “too pretty to open.”
  • By all accounts VOLLMANN is exceedingly intelligent and possessed with an enormous ego.
  • He revels in immersing himself in the seamy underside of life. He reportedly has used drugs (crack cocaine) extensively. He reportedly owns many guns and a flame-thrower.

“I would love to own a flamethrower,” Vollmann wryly adds to this last entry. And thus, new entries for the ongoing chronicles of The Myth of the Vollmann!

Vollmann discussed the article on NPR’s NPR’s Morning Edition with David Greene this morning.


9 thoughts on ““He reportedly owns many guns and a flame-thrower” and Other Extracts from William Vollmann’s FBI File”

  1. To think that people even more famous pay publicists millions of dollars for publicity like that. Maybe he should ‘dress’ in basic black and pearls. It’s worth a shot, if you’ll pardon the expression.

    Liked by 1 person

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