Mystery in History Disappearance of James Thompson Part 2

About the mystery in history involoving the disappearance of millionaire James Thompson including possible solutions.


The Event: The Disappearance of James Thompson

A man of inherited wealth and a Princeton graduate, Thompson had been introduced to Southeast Asia during W.W. II, while serving in the OSS. After W.W. II he remained in Bangkok, Thailand, where he revitalized and organized the Thai silk industry and became known as the "silk king." By 1967 his Thai Silk Company had $1.5 million in annual revenues. The disappearance of this man, who was recognized as an economic and political power in Southeast Asia, generated a massive manhunt. Malaysian and British troops with helicopters and bloodhounds searched the jungle surrounding the resort. Local tribesmen were also pressed into service, as well as a local Boy Scout troop. Gen. Edwin Black, commander of the U.S. support forces in Thailand and a friend of Thompson, led an American search mission. Even psychics and local tribal medicine men--called bomahs--were enlisted in the effort to find Thompson. Richard Noone, renowned British jungle fighter and explorer, who was hired by executives of Thompson's Thai Silk Company to hunt for him, stated categorically, "I am fully convinced that Mr. Thompson is not lost in the jungle."

Possible Solutions: Although there is no concrete evidence, there are many theories about what happened to Thompson. One of the simplest explanations is that Thompson was attacked and eaten by one of the tigers known to roam the Malay Peninsula jungles. Another theory holds that he had an accident and fell from a trail into a jungle ravine, where his body still remains. Yet another conjecture is that Thompson, an adventurous man, was bored with his routine life and committed suicide. These theories lack credence because trackers never found a trace of his body.

Other theories suggest kidnapping. Bandit gangs were known to operate in that area of Malaya, and they often kidnapped wealthy businessmen for ransom. However, a $25,000 reward was offered--together with an offer of immunity from prosecution--for Thompson's return, but nobody responded. Some argue that Thompson was kidnapped for political reasons. Proponents of this theory infer, without proof, that Thompson, the former colonel in the OSS, was still active as a CIA operative in Thailand. He was supposedly abducted by Communist agents who whisked him away to one of the numerous abandoned airfields that the British had constructed during their war against Communist insurgents during the 1950s. From there he was flown to Laos or Cambodia, where he was forced to reveal information on CIA operations in Southeast Asia. Or, possibly, his captors tried to brainwash him for later use as a propaganda tool by the North Vietnamese, who were then battling the U.S. in South Vietnam.

A related hypothesis is that Thompson went voluntarily with foreign agents to Cambodia, there to meet with Vietnamese Communists, whom he had known as OSS allies during the war against the Japanese, in order to open lines of communication for a peaceful settlement to the Vietnam War. Opponents of the theory that Thompson left voluntarily point to the fact that he left both his cigarettes and pills at the Ling cottage. This group of theories assumes that Thompson was either executed by the Communists or is still being held in either Vietnam or China.

At this time, the riddle of Thompson's disappearance is no closer to being solved than it was in 1967.

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