Wired's $1 article about software millionaire John McAfee's bizarre life in Belize

David told me about Joshua Davis' profile of software millionaire John McAfee, who lives in Belize and is wanted for questioning in a murder there. I paid $0.99 for the article on Amazon and it was $0.99 well spent.

There was always something unusual about John McAfee. The tech entrepreneur made a fortune from the antivirus software that bears his name, but he also spent years as a cocaine addict, spiritual guru and yoga expert. In 2009, after losing millions in the stock market crash, he decided to retire to the tiny Central American nation of Belize. That's when things really got weird. He started hanging out with killers, prostitutes, and pimps. He fell in love with a 17-year-old and surrounded his tropical compound with armed guards. In November 2012 his neighbor was found murdered. McAfee, who professed his innocence, fled the police and went into hiding.

WIRED's Joshua Davis had months of exclusive access to McAfee before his disappearance and was virtually the only journalist McAfee had contact with when he went on the lam. In this fascinating profile, Davis takes readers into McAfee's heart of darkness, a harrowing and jaw-dropping tale of ambition, paranoia, sex, and madness.

McAfee's blog is good reading, too:

After two days we returned to the house, in disguise, and I began my watch.

The first day I colored my full beard and my hair light grey- almost white. I darkened the skin of my face, neck and hands carefully with shoe polish and put on an LA Saints baseball cap with the brim facing backwards and tufts of the front of my hair sticking out unkempt through the band. I stuffed my cheeks with chewed bubble gum stuck to the outside of my upper and lower molars – making my face appear much fatter. I darkened and browned my front teeth. I stuffed a shaved down tampon deep into my right nostril and died the tip dark brown – giving my nose an awkward, lopsided, disgusting appearance. I put on a pair of ragged brown pants with holes patched and darned. I wore an old, ragged long sleeve shirt. I donned an old Guatemalan style sarape and toted a bag containing a variety of Guatemalan woven goods. I adjusted my posture so that I appeared a good six inches shorter than my actual height and slowly walked up and down the beach with a pronounced limp, pushing an old single speed bicycle and peddling my wares to tourists and reporters using a broken English with a heavy Spanish accent. On my second day, while peddling small wooden carvings, I nearly sold a dolphin carving to an Associated Press reporter standing at the edge of my dock. He was pulled away from my enticement by an urgent phone call.

John McAfee's Last Stand


  1. I hope he comes out of this alive… if even half of his paranoia riddled side of the story is to believed, this is not a laughing matter.  

  2. That dude is going down…hard.

    Maybe it’s the drugs that made the guy so paranoid…maybe it’s the huge money; most likely both played a part in Mr McAfee’s unraveling.

    But the issue is not the drugs, or the sex…or even the crazy.

    His next door neighbor was just found shot to death, and our man is on the lam: blaming outside forces.  The guns, bro. They often cause bigger issues than they solve.

    Maybe it really is a set-up…anything is possible.

    But when someone close to a twitchy, erratic gun nut winds up shot, 9 times out of 10 it’s not the Mafia or the Black Helicopter-types that did it.

    1. The two had a dispute over McAfee’s dogs, which I think makes it all the more likely McAfee was the culprit.  White folks (including myself) get way too attached to those furry idiots.

      Some of the details about McAfee’s life down there are pretty effed as well.  Doesn’t sound like he’s put himself in the sort of situation that brings out the best in people.

      Innocent ’til proven guilty, yada yada.

        1.  Sorry, I read something by this Tim Krieder guy about getting stabbed in the throat.  So I google him to find out more details about getting stabbed in the throat and it turns out he’s a cartoonist who has been doing a strip for years.  When Bush got elected he started doing political cartoons so I’ve been reliving the early oughts through this guy’s cartoons.  (Not too many more details on getting stabbed in the throat, though.)

          Anyway, he has a cartoon called “Babies Are Assholes” which he describes as one of the most hilariously offensive three-word phrases imaginable.  I think “dogs are furry idiots” is a similarly hilariously taboo phrase.  But just because I think it’s funny doesn’t mean I think it’s (universally) true.

          1. Well…

            All (human) babies are assholes. However, not all baby dogs are furry idiots. 

            Of course, many (human) babies grow out of it…dogs, the ones born furry idiots, stay life-long furry idiots slightly less often than the  (human) babies who remain unrepentant, life-long assholes.

            I don’t know about you, but I take comfort in that.

  3. Gizmodo’s Jeff Wise quoting a local journalist, re. McAfee: “Rich white men who come to Belize and act strangely are kind of a type.”

  4. I am sure the police should start looking for someone disguised the exact opposite of what he describes. Or maybe this is a clever plan to lead us to think he will be looking the opposite, but will be the same. Or maybe we will think he is the same but actually the exact opposite.

    Clever man, this McGyver guy.

    1. He is probably describing actual people from the area or people he has seen hanging around the investigation.  It would gain him support if he gives a description of a dozen or so actual people and the cops arrest them and give them the third degree for being “McAffee” in disguise.

    2. But what you don’t realize is that he’s poisoned them BOTH after spending years building up a resistance to iocaine powder.

  5. Ok, I get it. All this just so he has an excuse to stick a tampon up his nose. He could have gone with a leaky sinus or something, but for a real fetish to work, it has to have a good back story.

  6. White billionaire moves to third-world country to pretend to be poor.  It’s like the opposite of a rap video.

    1. Belize is a pretty popular tropical vacation destination, not exactly what most people think of when they hear the words “third-world country.”

  7. BTW, describing your every move on a blog is a killer idea for staying incognito. Probably came to him while snorting the blue bath salts.

  8. Put out an APB on John McAfee: Last seen wearing backwards baseball cap, smelling like shoe polich with a tampon up his nose.

  9. John McAfee
    Narcissistic Personality Disorder


    Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

    Plate Full of Crazy

    Bring Back My Bonnie to Me

    Pompous Arse

    The “Company” is Out to Get Me

    Marsha, Marsha, Marsha

    Oh My

    Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla

  10. Hello,

    Former employee of Dr. McAfee here.  I realize that for a lot of people here, John McAfee is something of an make-believe person, or at best associated with the anti-malware software company that he founded (and left nineteen years ago) but to me he is someone that I know, worked for and stayed in infrequent contact with over the years (exchanging emails once in a while).  With that in mind, I would like to address the allegations about drug manufacturing and use.

    When I first started working for John out of high school, one of the first things he did was to sit me down and read me the riot act about drugs.  At that point in his life, he’d been sober for eight or nine years (I think) and told me about how drugs and alcohol had ruined his life and that he had never done a single worthwhile thing in his life until he stopped using them.  That is advice I have taken to heart and over the years have avoided them.

    At McAfee Associates, there was no alcohol or drugs allowed on site, at company events or even going out to dinner together.  Showing up drunk, stoned or otherwise intoxicated would have gotten you fired pretty darn fast.  As much as John ignored his employees’ lifestyles, there was one thing which was inexcusable in his eyes.

    I know that continued onward at Tribal Voice (his first company post-McAfee Associates), where he even hired some people he had met through AA.

    After that we drifted apart, but, like many former abusers, he was still very preachy about drugs and alcohol and a few years ago ran into some problems due to that in Hawaii. where he was living at the time.

    In Belize, he started looking into the quorum sensing properties of bacteria as a means of developing antibiotics, which is why he had a research lab far in excess of what would be required to make meth.  That business didn’t pan out, and he started up a new venture bioprospecting for topical antiseptics.  The allegations of running a meth lab were dropped, and he has already admitted in his blog that the aphrodisiac mentioned was just a hoax.

    There are a couple of things I do hope people keep in mind, and that’s that several of John McAfee’s dogs were poisoned, and that his neighbor, Mr. Faull, was murdered.  It would be nice if people could keep those occurred, and this is not a particularly humorous matter.


    Aryeh Goretsky

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