Posts Tagged ‘Gatlinburg’

Alcatraz East Crime Museum’s Unabomber Exhibit Teaches Guests Technique That Led To Arrest

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (July 31, 2017) –The media buzz surrounding the new eight-part television series on the Discovery Channel, Manhunt: Unabomber, has led to renewed interest in the investigation that ended with the arrest of Theodore Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber. The ongoing fascination in this case is understandable considering the randomness of the targets and anonymous killings that left the public and law enforcement perplexed and apprehensive for years.  His bombs were untraceable and Kaczynski even planted clues to divert law enforcement in their investigation.

“Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, is one of our most popular exhibits at Alcatraz East,” states Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer. “Knowing the details about what went into capturing criminals like Kaczynski helps us understand and appreciate the persistence of law enforcement to solve a case.”

Behind the headlines there are things that people today may not realize about the Ted Kaczynski, who remains in a high security prison in Colorado. He is extremely intelligent. In grade school, his IQ tests were so high that he was able to skip two grades. He was educated at Harvard University and received his PhD at the University of Michigan. In 1967, he was hired as an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, becoming the youngest professor they had hired.

The manhunt for the Unabomber is considered to be the FBI’s most expensive case to solve. Multiple agencies joined efforts to provide a total of 150 investigators, analysts, and others who worked on this case for 17 years. During that time, Kaczynski’s homemade bombs killed three people and injured 23.

Kaczynski’s ultimate capture came after the FBI, The New York Times and The Washington Post came together in agreement to publish the Unabomber’s manifesto. On September 19, 1995, The Washington Post printed the now famous 35,000 word essay where he explained his motives and views on the ills of modern society. The Unabomber’s writing style was recognized by family members, who, after investigating on their own, sadly realized that their findings had to be reported. In February 1996, the FBI was contacted by David Kaczynski, noting the similarities in the manifesto to the writings and philosophy of his older brother Ted. A linguistic analysis examined previous writings by Ted Kaczynski and determined that he was, in fact, the author of the manifesto, ultimately leading to his arrest. The critical technique used by investigators, called forensic linguistics, proved that the FBI had made the right decision to publish the manifesto.

A Unabomber exhibit can be seen at Alcatraz East Crime Museum, with items from his cabin, including his passport photos, a scale with Kaczynski’s handwritten calibration notes, which he used to calculate postage to mail his packages, and a Bible with his handwritten notes.

“This display shares with our visitors details about this case that aren’t as readily known. It also allows them to see the importance of the public working with law enforcement, and agencies pooling resources to solve crimes,” explains Janine Vaccarello, COO of the museum.

Today, the Unabomber is 75-years-old, and remains in ADX Florence, a prison located in Florence, Colorado, where he is serving eight life sentences with no possibility of parole. There, he is locked in his cell 23 hours per day.

Those interested in learning more about the case should be sure to tune in to the Discovery series on August 1, 2017.

Alcatraz East officially joined the ranks of fun and family friendly Sevier County options on December 16, 2016. The new crime museum is located at the entrance to The Island, at 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, near the Margaritaville Hotel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. Guests can also enjoy free parking available at The Island during their visit.

The museum has a star-studded panel of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including those in law enforcement, collectors, a medical examiner, crime scene investigators, and others. The board includes Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial.

General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum is open daily from 10 am to 9 pm, with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit:

About Alcatraz East

Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests of all ages can encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages – so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. For more information, visit

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Cher Murphy



FBI. The Unabomber.

NY Times. Unabomber’s kin collects reward…

Washington Post. The Unambomber Trial: The Manifesto.


More Than 200 Free Seminars, Outdoor Excursions Highlight Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge May 9-13

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (April 24, 2017)—Featuring more than 220 free sessions spanning five days, Pigeon Forge’s award-winning Wilderness Wildlife Week is set for May 9-13. The event is headquartered at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge.

In its 27th year, Wilderness Wildlife Week offers a variety of workshops, lectures, seminars, concerts, hikes and other activities designed to introduce or reacquaint participants of all ages with the great outdoors.

“From great speakers and interactive how-to classes to topics like Appalachian heritage and forensics, Wilderness Wildlife Week is designed to be informative, engaging and fun,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

The event’s headline sessions include Ken Jenkins, Judy Felts and Friends in a program entitled Beauty from the Ashes (May 9 at 7:45 p.m.) which features photography and inspirational music. Forensics experts Dr. Bill Bass and Art Bohanan (May 10 at 7:45 p.m.) share their findings from applying forensic science to identifying human remains, some of which were discovered in graves dating back 2,000 years. Former park ranger Dwight McCarter (May 11 at 7:15 p.m.) shares stories of search and rescue efforts in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers or those who simply want to learn more about Great Smoky Mountains National Park can choose from lectures about topics ranging from the area’s rich heritage to conservation. Outdoor demonstrations include backcountry cooking and blacksmithing while indoor workshops focus on quilting, basket weaving, photography, fishing and wildflowers. Sevier County’s Sevier Solid Waste management facility’s Where Did It Go? presentation will address managing debris from the November wildfire.

Hikers of all experience levels can choose from several excursions each day. Highlights include a three-mile behind-the-scenes Cades Cove Tour (May 10 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.), a 13.8-mile Appalachian Trail/Goshen Prong hike (May 12 from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.), the one-mile LeConte Center Riverwalk Birding Safari (May 13 from 7:30-9:30 a.m.), and the new 2.5-mile Cades Cove Loop Night Hike (May 11 from 7:15-11 p.m.).

A special kids’ track is offered for younger outdoor enthusiasts where participants can learn more about such topics as whittling, crafting mystery stories, making art from recycled materials and more. Children ages seven to 12 can register for the free Kids’ Trout Tournament on Saturday, May 13, at 8 a.m. in Pigeon Forge’s Patriot Park pavilion.

Patriot Park also is the location of the second annual Appalachian Homecoming event on Friday, May 12, at 5 p.m., with storytelling, music, children’s games, and an antique tractor show. A limited 200 tickets ($15 in advance and $20 onsite) will be offered for a country-style picnic dinner on the grounds with proceeds benefitting Keep Sevier Beautiful.

More than 50 exhibits and vendors include the not-for-profit American Eagle Foundation, Appalachian Bear Rescue, Cades Cove Preservation Association and Onsite Heritage Museum, Keep Sevier Beautiful and more.

This spring celebration of the great outdoors is free and open to the public. For more information, a complete schedule and registration details, visit




Pigeon Forge, Smokies To Get PBS Exposure

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (February 2012) – Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville, three gateway cities to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, are featured in an upcoming episode of the new PBS series “Getting Away Together.”

The episode features some of the area’s most popular attractions: Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP), Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Dollywood theme park, Dollywood Cabins, Dollywood’s Splash Country waterpark, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction, the Old Mill, River Romp and the Apple Barn Cider Mill & General Store.

The episode follows three generations of the Colgan family from Bedford, Ind. When Peggy and David Colgan were married in 1962, it was Peggy who insisted the couple honeymoon in the Smokies.

The two made a lifelong commitment to return to the area, a commitment the couple has honored each year. Their 50th anniversary is this summer.

The Colgans were selected from more than 250 families who submitted photographs and stories on Facebook last summer. The episode, which features all 12 Colgans, was filmed in August 2011.

“Getting Away Together” highlights the rapidly growing trend of sharing a vacation rental with friends and family.

The series airs on PBS member stations that reach almost 70 percent of the U.S. Episodes also are available at

Sevier County provides entry to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which hosts more than nine million recreational visits each year, the highest visitation of any of the 58 national parks.