John McAfee, the pioneer creator of popular computer antivirus software, died in an apparent suicide at a Spanish prison in June, on the day that a court approved his extradition to the U.S. on tax evasion charges.
McAfee committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell. He was 75.
He had been held in Spanish prison since his arrest in October 2020, when the U.S. Justice Department announced charges that he and his supporters insisted were politically motivated.
His death followed a wild, controversial life filled with legal issues and foreign adventures, including allegations that McAfee murdered his American neighbor in Belize, a claim that was never proven in criminal court.
Author Mark Eglinton collaborated with McAfee on a book for six months beginning in October, 2019 via video calls while he was on the run from authorities. Eglinton’s new book No Domain: The John McAfee Tapes documents his extensive interviews with the genius outlaw.
He has shared an excerpt with DailyMail.com.
British antivirus software pioneer John McAfee was found dead in an apparent suicide in a Barcelona prison in June 2021
‘I was going to kill my mother, my wife, and my baby daughter because God had told me to,’ McAfee admitted. ‘In my mind, this was the only thing I could do’. He’s pictured with his daughter in 1974
ME: Why did you deal drugs at all when you had a well-paying job?
John McAfee: Habit? I don’t f***ing know. It was just fun for me, even to meet interesting people. Working at a place like Univac, I was working with folks who in no way had anything in common with me other than the work. So I dealt drugs to keep in touch with the underbelly of society, which is more than often the source of revolution, new ideas in politics, and everything else. I’ve always kept in touch with these folks.
ME: So you left town with your wife and daughter? What was the plan thereafter?
Mark Eglinton is the author of a new book about McAfee, titled No Domain
John McAfee: At this point, I definitely took my responsibilities seriously. We traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, where I took a job as programming manager for the Missouri Pacific Railroad, which was at that time automating all their rail car movements. This was one of the biggest challenges in all of the industry. Even in 1972, they probably had ten thousand cars, all of them moving in different directions on different trains. My job was to automate all this so that the computer could work out the best and most economically efficient routes. As opposed to my work with Australia Iron & Steel, where we were automating the machinery based on feedback we were getting from the steel rollers, at Missouri Pacific Railroad, we were automating the people controlling the cars.
ME: Did you continue dealing drugs in St. Louis?
John McAfee: I wasn’t dealing so much, but I was certainly heavily into taking drugs at that time. I’d been taking all kinds of different sh*t and wasn’t really feeling anything, so one night, in the apartment we were renting, I took an overdose of something my friends claimed was DMT, which was meant to be like a powerful, naturally occurring equivalent to LSD. All I really remember was that it was an orange color. It wasn’t just a mild overdose either; this was massive. The long and short of it was that I basically lost contact with all reality for three months. I lost my job, which was highly embarrassing. I lasted a few days, but it must have been apparent to everyone that I no longer knew what the function of my job was. The program might as well have been spitting out rail car routes to Mars. Then, after about a week, when I walked in one morning, everybody was just staring at me. I don’t know why. I don’t think I was naked, but at that point, I could easily have been. But I must have looked crazy. A friend of mine who also worked at the company and had supplied me drugs at various times in the past was sent into my office to deal with me. This dude talked to me for a while, established that he didn’t need to call the police or to hospitalize me, and then calmly walked me to the door while everyone just stared. I got in my car, drove away, and that was the last I ever saw of the Pacific Railroad job. They had no choice but to fire me.
ME: Do you remember what it felt like when you took this drug?
McAfee is pictured with his mother and daughter in Bristol, Virginia. ‘Eventually, unable to deal with me, Lindsay took our daughter and drove back to Virginia to stay with my mother,’ McAfee said
McAfee is pictured with his daughter in Rochester, New York in the 70s. He said due to the drugs, he felt ‘compelled’ to kill his family
McAfee with is daughter in Bristol, Virginia in 1969. She is from his first marriage, and McAfee has kept his daughter’s identity private
John McAfee: I was sitting around this table with these friends in the apartment. We all took a little; I assume everyone else was tripping. But initially, I didn’t feel anything. Then I snorted a bit more, and then a bit more for good measure. I just kept doubling my dose until I felt something, because that’s how I approach things. When the drug came on for real, the table started spinning in a DNA type of spiral going upwards. Then, we all climbed on top of this table, whereupon it shot up through the roof and into the stratosphere. We were all desperately just clinging onto this table. These were my perceptions of reality, and it got stranger from there. Honestly, it was three months until I could recognize a semblance of normality. Even today, I still struggle with it at times.
Author Mark Eglinton (pictured) collaborated with McAfee on a book for six months while he was on the run from authorities
ME: What were you actually doing during these lost three months?
John McAfee: Eventually, unable to deal with me, Lindsay took our daughter and drove back to Virginia to stay with my mother. Meanwhile, I stuck out the aftermath of this trip alone in the apartment. I got crazy. And I mean scary crazy. That’s how bad it was. People were calling and stopping by. Apparently, I hadn’t shaved or showered for days or weeks. Eventually, getting desperate, I called that old flame Alexa. I’d been calling her all the time, and eventually, she just said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll come to St. Louis. You need help.’ So, she came to St. Louis, and yes, I was married with a daughter, and yes, I was now cheating on my wife with an ex-girlfriend. However, one night, she and I were sitting on the sofa listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, which is still one of my favorite albums today. It’s hard to explain this, but as I was sitting there, I felt like I went through an entire lifetime before being shocked back to the sofa again. Then I went through another lifetime, and then I’d be shocked back to the sofa again. At one point, I left Alexa and went out to downtown St. Louis. I have no idea why. I felt that everybody was after me or something bad was happening. Meanwhile, I was scurrying around, paranoid, hiding behind trash cans in back alleys. If anyone came anywhere near me, I’d dig deeper in. Then, suddenly, from this position behind a dumpster, I had this feeling that I had to find a certain person, I don’t know who. But I got it into my head that they might be in this bar around the corner. So I very slowly peered in the window of this bar and then backed up a little. And then I edged closer again. Pretty soon, people started looking at me, and when I finally summoned the courage to walk in the door, two people stood up! I thought, F**k me. I’m in a dangerous situation here, and instinctively picked up the phone book that was sitting beside the payphone at the door and started leafing through it. Lo and behold, it was no longer in alphabetical order. That’s how fu**ed up I was. As I read these names, with G somehow before C, etc., I thought, I have made a serious mistake. I have walked into a place of great evil. I have no recollection of getting home that night. That was just one episode. I lived multiple lifetimes, and I had flashbacks for years afterward, the most recent of which was in a bank in Woodland Park, Colorado, in 2004.
ME: What happened on that occasion?
John McAfee: I was standing in line, playing around with one of the little calculators. All of a sudden, I thought the digits on the calculator screen were showing my Social Security number, and in that moment, it felt like someone had tapped me on the shoulder, and I was right back in St. Louis, Missouri, on the sofa. I grabbed the podium and started screaming, ‘No! No!’ all wild-eyed like an absolute madman. The manager came out and ushered me into an office to calm down. Thank God I had millions of dollars at that time, or else I’d have probably been put in some kind of asylum. Anyway, gradually, I got a grip and realized that nothing bad was actually happening to me, by which time the busy bank had completely emptied, and I was then led back to the window to finish my business. That was the last time I flashed back in a major way.
ME: Knowing what you know about drugs, did this trip alter the wiring in your brain?
John McAfee appears via videoconference during his extradition hearing at Audiencia Nacional court, in Madrid, Spain before his death in June
On the run again in Cuba, in 2019: McAfee went on the run after being charged with tax evasion but he still kept in touch with the media. He wasn’t shy of running from the US authorities and wanted people to know what he claimed — that the American government was guilty of corruption
John McAfee: If it didn’t, I don’t know what the f**k was happening during those three months. The pivotal experience of all of this time was that I went through the most hellish periods of introspection. The drugs force you to do that s**t. You are made to look at the raw, gory facts of you, and I don’t mean the superficial s**t you show to the world, where people might have looked at me and thought: He’s a nice guy, has a decent job, loves his family, has a kid…. No — none of that s**t was on the table. I had to look at the real me: the resentments, the flaws, the insecurities, the secret desires, and the twisted wishes that I’d never acknowledged. I had to live with all this for three fu**ing months.
ME: I’ve never taken drugs, so would you say psychedelics are synonymous with paranoia?
John McAfee: Not as a rule — no. It’s usually stimulants: methamphetamines and, to a lesser extent, cocaine that will bring on paranoia. If you use crystal meth, for example, as I have done in recent years, you will develop severe paranoia within three or four months. Some people can deal with that; others can’t. With psychedelics, massive overdoses and bad trips happen. I’ve gone through as many hellishly introspective trips as I have blissfully happy ones over the years.
ME: Would someone like me enjoy an LSD trip?
John McAfee: Well, it is a potluck what kind of trip you might have, which is why I don’t recommend that anyone take drugs, even though I have at various times. And if you are insistent on experimenting with psychedelics, don’t do it alone, and never do it with a stranger. Do it with somebody you know who has taken fifteen pounds of them and knows all of the potential outcomes. You need someone with you who knows the ropes a little and can recognize that when you’re saying that you feel that you can fly and are standing on the edge of a roof about to try, they can say, ‘No, sir, you don’t want to do that. Step down.’
ME: Anyway, back to St. Louis. What happened after these lost three months?
John McAfee: Do I really want to tell you this? Well, OK, as long as you are giving me the right to review this at a later date.
ME: Sure. We’ll decide whether it serves the story or not. But you make the ultimate call. It’s your life.
John McAfee: At this point, I’d pretty much stopped taking my mother’s calls because she didn’t seem to be helping any. She’d been in almost constant contact, wondering what the f**k was going on with me. Then one day, I picked up, and she was pleading for me to come home. She made all kinds of assurances, promised that nobody was going to be judged, etc. So I agreed to go back. However, bear in mind, I was still crazy. I was not in touch with reality whatsoever and, in fact, still doubted my own reality. I’d been so introspective for so long that I’d gone beyond myself and into the universe. I reached a point where I was crying because God, if there was a God, was alone. I got in the car and started driving to Virginia, and I was so deranged that, when someone on the radio said, ‘Drink Coca-Cola,’ I immediately had to pull off the freeway and search for a place to buy a Coke. These weren’t suggestions; these were commands. I genuinely believed that God was now talking to me through the car radio. That’s how far off the map I was. Along the way, I picked up two hitchhikers. I have no idea what I said or did, but within two or three minutes, they were fu**ing begging me to stop the car and let them out. I was on a fu**ing freeway at the time. There was nowhere to stop. ‘Please. Stop the car. Now.’ I hadn’t threatened them; I didn’t have a gun. I had nothing. But I clearly wasn’t acting normally. But when I arrived in Bristol, I knew exactly what I was going to do.
ME: Which was?
John McAfee: I was going to kill my mother, my wife, and my baby daughter because God had told me to. It’s important that you don’t judge me here, my friend. In my mind, this was the only thing I could do.
ME: Are you serious? You were actually going to kill them?
McAfee is seen with third wife Janice. They freely admit that Janice was working as a prostitute in Miami Beach when McAfee hired her for a night, before rescuing her from a violent pimp and falling madly in love. They were married for eight years before his death
John McAfee: At the time, that’s what I felt compelled to do, yes. So I pulled into the driveway at my mother’s house, on a nice quiet street in a nice rolling hills suburb of Bristol, Virginia, where there were lots of trees, grass, and flowers. I opened the door of the car, a white Chevrolet station wagon by the way, and as I got out, a man came walking across the yard straight toward me. ‘Sir, do you believe that you have to be reborn into the kingdom of heaven?’ he asked. ‘F**k, yes!’ I said. This was the first fu**ing person in three months that I actually felt like I could talk to. We went up on the porch and sat on the porch swing and talked. Meanwhile, thank God my wife and mother had the common sense to leave it be and let me talk to this man. We swung for two hours while they looked out of the window at us from time to time, and for those two hours, he imparted the whole impact of the Holy Bible. In my perception at that time, and it wasn’t a specifically Christian perception, everything he was saying made total sense.
ME: Why did this man’s presence have so much impact at that time?
John McAfee: I don’t know. I guess those two hours were all I needed. When he left, I didn’t want his pamphlet, and I had no desire to either go to church or to go out on the street begging people to accept Christ into their lives. None of that sh*t appealed. All it did was get me to a place where I said to myself, Was I really so crazy that I thought about killing my mother, my wife, and my daughter? So I came into the house in peace. Confused as f**k? Yes. But I was at peace because I had connected with one other fu**ing human being who understood.
Eglinton is a Scottish author whose recent books include Blindsided, with former Australian rugby captain and stroke survivor Michael Lynagh which was shortlisted for International Autobiography Of The Year 2016; Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest with musician K.K Downing — one of Rolling Stone magazine’s ten Music Books of 2018 and, most recently, Reboot: My Life My Time with football legend Michael Owen — shortlisted for Autobiography Of The Year 2020 by the Daily Telegraph.
This content was originally published here.