Every time I’ve read an article about John McAfee recently, I’ve felt conflicted. On the one hand, this story of an eccentric millionaire evading Belizean authorities through a variety of disguises and plots reads like The Fugitive if Harrison Ford were playing a crazy person. Still, it seems more likely than not that McAfee is actually mentally unstable, and he is a person of interest in a murder, so being too thrilled by all the details feels gross.
This New York Times feature on the situation hits all the right notes. They lay out exactly why this case is so fascinating while also providing plenty of context. They balance talk of his past, including his possible self-experiments with psychoactive drugs, with a bunch of the details McAfee’s been publishing on his own blog while he’s been on the run. Stuff like this:
He has contended on his blog that when the authorities searched his house in the days after the murder, he hovered nearby in preposterous-sounding disguises, including that of a drunk German tourist in a Speedo and “a distasteful, oversized Hawaiian shirt” who would yell “at anyone who would listen.” He has also said he dressed as a stooped Guatemalan peddler “in ragged brown pants,” his cheeks stuffed with chewing gum, selling wares to tourists and reporters.
A quote in the article from Chad Essley, a man McAfee had corresponded with online and who had been invited out to Belize on McAfee’s dime, rang especially true:
I met this woman there named Helen and at some point, either she or John said that they needed someone there to document things that were too crazy for words. And they needed some levity. I wasn’t able to bring any levity, because the situation wasn’t very funny.