Ted Kaczynski is better known as The Unabomber, but before he started mailing homemade explosive devices to targets (he later plead guilty to 16 bombings and was sentenced to life in prison) he was just a college student. Kaczynski was considered a stand out academic and went to Harvard University when he was just 16 years old. This week's episode of Discovery Channel's limited series, Manhunt: Unabomber (airing Aug. 29 at 10 p.m. ET) takes fans back to these days at Harvard where the Unabomber was part of a psychological experiment — and you can see the show's dramatized take on this in the exclusive clip below.
According to CBS News, in real life the experiment was performed by Professor Henry Murray who was reportedly "well known by the CIA and worked with the OSS during World War II training spies to withstand intense interrogations." According to Alston Chase for The Atlantic, the tactics used in the experiment were reportedly "disturbing" and "would now be seen as ethically indefensible." Chase conduced in-depth research to determine what happened during the experiment. According to his report:
Henry Murray’s experiment was intended to measure how people react under stress. Murray subjected his unwitting students, including Kaczynski, to intensive interrogation — what Murray himself called “vehement, sweeping, and personally abusive” attacks, assaulting his subjects’ egos and most-cherished ideals and beliefs.
According to CBS News, which reported on Chase's findings: The study began with the students writing essays about their life philosophy and ended with the students "brought into a room with bright lights … seated in a chair facing a one-way mirror. They had electrodes attached to their body." Then their philosophical beliefs were attacked and ridiculed while the entire thing was filmed. Afterwards, the students were forced to watch their own humiliation.
In this exclusive clip from Tuesday's episode of Manhunt: Unabomber, viewers will watch as the dramatized Professor Murray seems to take a young Kaczynski under his wing. The voiceover talks about how refreshing it was for Kaczynski to have someone, a Harvard professor at that, listen to his ideas about the world around him. It ends with the ominous chair, sitting in front of a mirror with bright lights shining all around it.
Watch the rest of this experiment unfold in the Aug. 29 episode of Manhunt: Unabomber at 10 p.m. on Discovery Channel.