Jim Thompson (designer)

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Jim Thompson
Born James H.W. Thompson
(1906-03-21)March 21, 1906
Greenville, Delaware, United States
Disappeared March 26, 1967 (aged 61)
Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Status Declared dead in absentia
Citizenship American
Alma mater Princeton University
University of Pennsylvania
Occupation Co-founder of Thai Silk Company
Known for "Mysterious" Disappearance in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Spouse(s) Patricia Thraves (divorced)

Jim Thompson (born James Harrison Wilson Thompson; born March 21, 1906) was an American businessman who helped revitalize the Thai silk industry in the 1950s and 1960s. At the time of his disappearance he was one of the most famous Americans living in Asia. Time magazine claimed he "almost singlehanded(ly) saved Thailand's vital silk industry from extinction".[1]

Education and professional background[edit]

Jim Thompson was born in Greenville, Delaware, USA. He was the youngest of five children of Henry and Mary Thompson. His father was a wealthy textile manufacturer; his mother was the daughter of James Harrison Wilson (1837–1925), a noted Union general during the American Civil War.

Thompson spent his early years of education at St. Paul's boarding school. He graduated from Princeton University in 1928. Post-graduate studies followed at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Architecture, but he did not complete his degree at this institution due to his weakness in calculus.

From 1931 to 1940, he practiced in New York City with Holden, McLaughlin & Associates, designing homes for the East Coast rich and a band shell in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. His blueprints were reviewed and signed off by certified architects.

Throughout the 1930s, he led an active social life and sat on the board of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. He also became politically active, but his liberal politics alienated him from his conservative family.

In 1941, he quit his job and enlisted with the Delaware National Guard regiment. Before the outbreak of the Second World War, he was transferred to a military outpost in Fort Monroe, Virginia. While he was here, he got to know Second Lieutenant Edwin F. Black, a fresh graduate from the US Military Academy, West Point. It was Black who encouraged him to join the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency.[2]

World War II activities[edit]

At the height of the Second World War, Thompson was recruited by William Joseph Donovan (1883–1959) to serve as an operative in the OSS.

His first assignment was with the French resistance forces in North Africa. He was then sent to Europe. After Victory in Europe Day (May 7–8, 1945), he was transferred to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to work with the pro-Allied Seri Thai or Free Thai Movement. Their mission was to help liberate Thailand from the occupying Japanese Army. The group had the support of Pridi Panomyong, the regent to King Ananda Mahidol of Thailand and Seni Pramoj, the Thai ambassador to the United States.


I do love the color and general confusion of the Far East. There is so much to see and learn out here.

Jim Thompson [3]

In August 1945, Thompson was about to be sent into Thailand, when the Surrender of Japan officially ended World War II. He arrived in Thailand shortly after Victory over Japan Day and organized the Bangkok OSS office. It was here he got to know Mrs. Constance (Connie) Mangskau, an Allied Services translator, who later became one of his closest friends.

In the spring of 1946, Thompson went to work as military attaché at the United States legation for his former Princeton classmate Charles Yost, the U.S. Minister to Thailand. Thompson used his contacts with the Free Thai and Free Lao groups to gather information and defuse conflicts on Thailand's borders. Working with him in the Legation was Kenneth Landon, an American missionary[4] whose wife, Margaret Landon, was the author of Anna and the King of Siam, which was the inspiration for a 1946 drama of the same name, and the The King and I in 1956.

Return to private industry[edit]

In late 1946, Thompson headed for home to seek his discharge from the army. After his divorce from Patricia Thraves, he returned to Thailand to join a group of investors to buy The Oriental Hotel in Bangkok. While working on its restoration, he had some differences with his associates and this resulted in him giving up his shares. He subsequently switched his focus to silk.

In 1948, he partnered with George Barrie to found the Thai Silk Company. It was capitalized at US$25,000. They each bought eighteen percent of the shares. The remaining sixty-four percent were sold to Thai and foreign investors.

A functioning loom on exhibit at the Jim Thompson House

The firm achieved a coup in 1951 when designer Irene Sharaff made use of Thai silk fabrics for the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I. From then on, the company prospered.

There was no secret in the way Thompson ran his business.

“In the first instance,” he said, “we run a dependable operation with a high standard of quality and reliability. Whenever we come up with a pattern or color that sells well, we make sure we stick to its exact formula. That way, our customers can rest assured that when they reorder, they will get a consistent product.”

“Equally important,” he added, “is that the cottage industry in this part of the world is more significant than what most people realize. Most of the weavers in this area either don’t care or don’t need to know who are buying their products. But it is necessary for us to know what our customers' tastes and requirements are.

"The Thai silk-weavers technique is hundreds of years old. Every child learned how to weave but each family wove enough for its own needs. Their styles and colors are not suitable for foreign consumption. It took us a long time to know what the world markets required. It makes no difference to us as to how well we know our clients. What really matters is whether they like our products or not.

Thompson’s private collection of silk garments which were used for the stage musical The King and I.

"(I must say) that silk in itself possesses a great deal of glamour. It has an aura of exotic mystery and richness about it. For centuries it has been the fabric of kings and queens. From the way our sales are going, everyone must be dressing like royalty."[5]

A contemporary textile exhibit displayed at the Jim Thompson House. (c. August 2013 to January 2014).

Besides inventing the bright jewel tones and dramatic color combinations today associated with Thai silk, he raised thousands of Thailand's poorest people out of poverty. His determination to keep his company cottage-based was significant for the women who made up the bulk of his work force. By allowing them to work at home, they retained their position in the household while becoming breadwinners. It was only after Thompson's disappearance that the Thai Silk Company relocated its weaving operations to Korat, a city which serves as a base of operations for the Royal Thai Army. Although it abandoned home-based weaving in favor of factories in the early 1970s, the Thai Silk Company's Korat facility looks more like a landscaped campus than a factory.

Thompson's "House on the Klong"[edit]

Main article: Jim Thompson House
Main building, Jim Thompson House, Bangkok, Thailand (c. 2013).

Thompson was unlike any other figure in Southeast Asia. He was an American, an ex-architect, a retired army officer, a one-time spy, a silk merchant and a renowned collector of antiques. Most of his treasures, if not all, were amassed after he came to Thailand.

In 1958, he began what was to be the pinnacle of his architectural achievement – the construction of a new home to showcase his objets d'art.

Jim Thompson House: Service building and gift shop.

Using parts of old up-country houses – some as old as a hundred years – he succeeded in constructing a masterpiece that involved the reassembling of six Thai dwellings on his estate. Most of the units were dismantled and brought over by river from Ayutthaya, but the largest – a weaver's house (now the living room) – came from Bangkrua. On arrival, the woodwork was offloaded and pieced together.

Jim Thompson House: Pond reflection of retail store.

In his quest for authenticity, he saw to it that some of the structures were elevated a full floor above the ground. During the construction stage, he added his own touches to the buildings by positioning, for instance, a central staircase indoors rather than having it outside. Along the way, he also reversed the wall panels of his quarters so that it now faced inside instead of it having an external orientation.[6]

After he was through with its creation, he filled his home with the items he had collected in the past. Decorating his rooms were Chinese blue-and-white Ming pieces, Belgian glass, Cambodian carvings, Victorian chandeliers, Benjarong earthenware, Thai stone images, Burmese statues, and a dining table which was once used by King Rama V of Thailand.

It took Thompson almost a year to complete his mansion. Now a museum, the Jim Thompson House can be reached by public or private transport. At 6 Soi Kasemsan (2) Song on Rama I Road, it is open daily from 9am to 5pm. The last guided tour of the complex is at 5pm.


Thompson heads for Malaysia

Thompson flew out of Bangkok on Thursday, March 23, 1967. He arrived in George Town, Penang in the afternoon. Accompanying him on his trip was Mrs. Constance (Connie) Mangskau, 59, his long-time acquaintance. They stayed at the Ambassador Hotel (now the Merchant Court Hotel). They spent the rest of the day touring the island in a taxi. In the evening, they had dinner at an Indian restaurant.

"Moonlight" bungalow: Thompson stayed here on three occasions. On his last visit to the Highlands, he left the cottage at 1.30pm.[7][8] He failed to return before 6pm.

The following morning, they left Penang for the Cameron Highlands. They reached Tanah Rata in the afternoon. They stayed at “Moonlight” bungalow with Dr. Ling Tien Gi, a Singaporean-Chinese chemist and Mrs. Helen Ling, his Caucasian American-born wife.[9]


On Easter Sunday, March 26, Thompson was visiting friends in the Highlands. After attending morning services at the nearby All Souls' Church, they retired to their "Moonlight" cottage.

At 1.30pm,[10] Thompson left for a walk on his own — never to return — launching the largest manhunt Malaysia has ever known.

Simon Ostheimer [11]

The next day, Thompson and Dr. Ling got up early to explore a trail in the neighborhood. Later, they had lunch with Mrs. Ling. and Mrs. Mangskau at a nearby club.

After their meal, they returned to "Moonlight" for a nap. At about 4pm, they got up for some tea. In the evening, they headed for Ye Olde Smokehouse Inn to have dinner with Dr. Einar Ammundsen. The Dane was at the resort by coincidence. After dinner, they called it a day.

Thompson goes for a stroll

On Sunday, March 26, all four attended the morning services at All Souls' Church. They returned to "Moonlight" after the services ended.

After lunch, Thompson left the bungalow for a stroll but failed to return before 6pm.[7][8]


… Mrs. Ling and Mrs. Mangskau witnessed Thompson’s leave-taking at 1.30pm. As for Dr. Ling, he could only presume that Thompson left his home at 3.30pm.

SOLVED! (2nd ed), page 92. [12]

Dr. Ling took it that Thompson left the estate at approximately 3.30pm. In an interview with The Straits Times, he said:

"I heard footsteps pass by my bedroom door about 3.30pm and presumed it was Mr. Thompson taking a stroll."[13][14][15]

Mrs. Ling, however, felt otherwise. She told the Eastern Sun that Thompson left her home at 1.30pm. She said, "Mr. Thompson told her and Mrs. Mangskau at 1.30pm just before going for the walk: 'Good night, sweethearts'."

Asked why the 'good night' bit during noon, Mrs. Ling replied, "It has always been our practice, despite the time of the day or night to say good night whenever we wanted to retire for the night or for a siesta."

The report concluded, "... with the wave of the hand, Mr. Thompson was gone."[14][15][16]

Thompson fails to return

Map of the Cameron Highlands.

After 6pm, Dr. Ling got into his white car and drove to a nearby club. He was confident he would meet Thompson along the way. He never did. When he got home, he was puzzled as to where Thompson could have gone. Later, Mrs. Mangskau called Dr. Einar Ammundsen to find out if Thompson had visited him at Ye Olde Smokehouse Inn. Dr. Ammundsen told her he did not.


I believe he (Thompson) had an appointment to see somebody.

Mrs. Helen Ling [17]

At 8.30pm, Dr. Ling went ahead and lodged a police report. He was told that word of his missing friend would be filtered down to the settlements in the area. He was also informed if Thompson failed to show up, an inquiry would be conducted the following morning.[18]

By now the Lings and Mrs. Mangskau began to sense that something was amiss. Out of concern for his friend, Dr. Ling called his rental agent to inform him about Thompson’s absence. He felt since he knew the area rather well, word of Thompson's whereabouts would soon be forthcoming. This, however, did not come to pass.

Police comb area

At daybreak, about five policemen showed up at "Moonlight" bungalow. After taking a look at Thompson's passport, they left the scene. Later that morning, the police, with the help of thirty aborigines, combed the area. The survey was intensive but there were no signs of him. Before noon, news of his disappearance began to spread. Now, there were more than a hundred people looking for him.

Massive hunt for Thompson

Lutheran Mission bungalow: After leaving “Moonlight” at 1.30pm,[7][8] Thompson was seen at this place at about 4pm. He left the premises after taking a look at the garden.

The next day (March 28), the biggest hunt in Malaysian history was staged.[18] The police came complete with loud hailers, walkie-talkies, field telephones, pistols and sub-machine guns.[19][20][21]

The sweep of the forest was thorough but there was no trace of Thompson. The police concluded that he could either be trapped or accidentally injured. However, they were convinced he would somehow or other be able to find his way back. His previous jungle-survival training, they reasoned, would see him through whatever difficulties he was in.

Last known sightings

On Wednesday, March 29, the police were provided with some clues that they found useful in their hunt for Thompson.

Che Fatimah binte Mohamed Yeh, 24, a cook at the Lutheran Mission bungalow, told Superintendent A.S. Nathan that she had seen Thompson on Easter Sunday at about 4pm.

"I was in the kitchen," she said, "when I saw him come up the road. He had on a white shirt and a pair of gray slacks. He stopped for a while to take a look at the garden. While looking at the plants, he did not speak to anyone. A short while later, he left the premises and headed the same way from where he came."[22][23]

A partial view of the bedroom which Thompson occupied during his stay at "Moonlight" bungalow.

In a separate report, a servant from the Overseas Missionary Fellowship bungalow informed the police she had seen someone who resembled Thompson standing on a plateau opposite the estate. According to her, he was there at around 4pm. Thirty minutes later, he was gone.[23][24]


Back then, there was very little to do in Cameron Highlands. When word got out that there was a reward being offered for this missing white guy (Jim Thompson), everyone was leaving work early so they could go into the jungle to look for him!

Alias Abdul Rahsid [25]

The last person to see him was an employee of the Eastern Hotel (now the site of the Century Pines Resort). The man was sure he saw someone who looked like Thompson heading in the direction of the track which led to the golf course.[23][26]


The Thai Silk Company was the first to declare a reward for finding Thompson.[27] Charles U. Sheffield, 40, who was appointed acting manager, announced that "a generous reward of US$10,000 will be paid by the Thai Silk Company to any person or persons" who succeeded in finding Thompson.[20][24][28]

The offer was made on Wednesday, March 29, three days after Thompson was reported as lost. The incentive was a follow-up to the rumors in Bangkok that he could have been kidnapped and taken to another country.


Asked what she meant by “handsome”, she (Mrs. Mangskau) explained that it was a “big” reward in the “terminology” of the aborigine trackers.

Eastern Sun, March 30, 1967, page 2.[29]

Apart from this, two other rewards were also announced. Mrs. Mangskau affirmed she was more than willing to hand a reward to anyone who knew where Thompson could be found. She left the details of her “handsome reward” with the police at Tanah Rata.[29]

The Malaysian police, in line with tradition, also offered a remuneration amounting to RM10,000 (about US$3,000). The payment, approved by the Inspector General of Police, was valid for a period of three months.[27][28]

General Black joins in the hunt

On Friday, March 31, Brigadier-General Edwin Black came to the resort to look for Thompson. He visited "Moonlight" with his aide, Lieutenant Denis Horgan and his friend, Dean Frasche. While they were at the bungalow, they were briefed by Mrs. Ling and Mrs. Mangskau about the developments which unfolded prior to Thompson's going astray.[30][31]

The following morning, the trio got up early and arranged for an aerial tower to be positioned near the house. The gadget was designed to throw a radar communication 'net' that covered a radius of approximately sixteen kilometers. Lieutenant Horgan was put in charge of the device.[30][32]

Driveway leading to exit of the Lutheran bungalow: When Thompson left the Lutheran home after 4pm, he came into contact with the driver of a white car. After an exchange of words, the driver drove off. The questions that came to mind were these: Who was the driver of the vehicle? Was the driver Dr. Ammundsen? Or was it Dr. Ling? [33]

General Black then headed for the forest to conduct a survey of his own. He was in constant contact with his aide while being accompanied by Frasche and two aborigines. Apart from being able to keep in touch with his assistant, General Black was also able to establish radio contact with the other parties who were on the lookout for Thompson.

Mount (Gunung) Batu Brinchang
After attending the Sunday services at All Souls’ Church, did Thompson and his three friends head for Mount Batu Brinchang? Unlikely.
The church services ended at about noon. If they had drove home to collect their food hamper they would have reached "Moonlight" at about 12.15pm. The travelling time from "Moonlight" (foreground) to Mount Batu Brinchang (background) was more than an hour.[34]
It is doubtful they could have gone there for a picnic and returned home at 2.30pm.[34]

The search conducted on Saturday, April 1, was extensive. Joining in the exploration were two hundred more officers and men from Perak's police field force. They were earlier engaged in a training operation at Tambun near Ipoh. They came to the hill station from Tanjung Rambutan after making their way through the woods. They were later ordered to merge with the other parties who were based at Tanah Rata.[30][35]

General Black calls off search

On Monday, April 3, General Black and his crew called off their search. They left the scene and headed for Kuala Lumpur. While resting at the Malaysian capital, the commander told a group of reporters "there has been absolutely no trace of Thompson's whereabouts." "Thompson", he reasoned, "has knowledge of jungle survival. This would have enabled him to survive for a few days. On realizing he was lost, he would have been on the lookout for a stream. He would have subsequently followed it expecting to come to a village.

"I find his disappearance rather strange. There has not been a single clue, not a bit of torn clothing or even a shoe. According to the police, a ransom is usually demanded within forty-eight hours. Nothing of that sort has surfaced since the day he went missing."[36][37]

The search winds down


… books have been written on Thompson’s vanishing act – I (Gerard Corr) call it act because some of the circumstantial evidence suggests that this expert in jungle survival staged his disappearance...

The Straits Times, April 11, 1977, page 14. [38]

The pursuit for Thompson went on uninterruptedly for eleven days. On their part, the police did put in a concerted effort to find for him. On the twelfth day, there was a change in their operation: more than two hundred officers and men were ordered to head back to their base in Perak. Only a force numbering less than a hundred was instructed to stay behind.

With the dwindling of the police field force, the casting about for Thompson took on a different twist – the seekers narrowed down to two categories: the first were experts who knew the place like the back of their hands; the second were those who delved into the supernatural. Both parties were just as confident of success; they were more than eager to track Thompson down.[37]

Noone engaged to look for Thompson

On Sunday, April 23, Richard Noone, 49, a British officer with the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization came onto the scene. He was no stranger to the jungles of the area. At one stage, he served as head of the Malayan Department of Aborigines.


His (Hurkos') spiel was that Thompson had been drugged unconscious, abducted and flown to Cambodia.

When he was told that there was no landing strip (at the Cameron Highlands), the story was changed to include an equally impossible boat ride to a neighbouring state for the plane trip.

The Star, March 23, 2010, page T10.[39]

After two days of planning, Noone, a Cambridge-trained anthropologist, went into the woods with two assistants. Both helpers were equally at home in any tropical rainforest: one was a border scout from Sarawak, the other was an aborigine witch doctor.

While they were in the wilds, they met a few aborigines, but they were unable to provide the threesome with any leads as to where Thompson could be found. Undiscouraged, Noone carried on exploring in the hope of meeting up with him where the field force had earlier left off.[40][41]

Hurkos visits "Moonlight"

While Noone and his partners were still in the jungle, a controversial figure arrived at Tanah Rata. He was Peter Hurkos, a psychic investigator from the United States. Hurkos came to the haven on Tuesday, April 25, with his personal secretary, Miss Stephany Farb, and Lieutenant Denis Horgan.

The "upstairs" of "Moonlight" bungalow.

The first thing Hurkos did was to visit "Moonlight". While he was there, he spent some time pacing the garden. He then stopped to feel a chair that was left at the veranda. After a short pause, he yelled, "This is the chair! Yes, this is the chair that Thompson sat on just before he disappeared!" A brief silence followed. A few minutes later, he sat on the floor just outside the house. A photograph of Thompson and two maps were laid out. The first chart highlighted the countries of Asia; the second featured the details of the resort. While glancing at Thompson’s photograph, he broke out in a stammer:


Beside Hurkos, a swamp of mediums and mystic psychics swept through the jungle and came out with an assortment of sinister possibilities. Retired Deputy Supt Ismail Hashim, 85, who was the OCPD in Cameron Highlands then, said he logged 118 such people but many others came later.

The Star, March 23, 2010, page T10.[39]

"He was sitting in the chair… right over there… he was not sitting in the house… the chair was on the veranda… aagh, Prebi, ooogh… Thompson… Prebi, Pridi… fourteen people… fourteen people took him… Prebe or Bebe… orah blah-lun-dah Bebe… he is not in the jungle… I want to follow the route where they picked him up… he was sitting right there… this chair… there was nobody in the room… they were upstairs… he was sitting outside in this chair… this chair… not in the jungle… car… fourteen people… one vehicle, like a military vehicle… like a truck… I see truck… ah, truck, about from here on the road… he walks down the road… somebody woke him up… he was sitting outside and somebody came in here… a friend of his… Bebe or Prebie… Pridi has own army… no bandits… nothing to do with bandits… he walks about half a mile, with Bebe or Prebie… truck on the road… fourteen people… one person here, one person picked him up… he knows him… he was sitting on the veranda and the men came in… asked for something, I don’t know… he went down the road… got chloroform… chloroform… sleep in truck…"[42]

Sunlight bungalow: The mansion is about 50 meters from "Moonlight". On the day Thompson disappeared, none of the residents here remembered seeing Thompson walk pass their home at about 3.30pm.

After returning to his normal self, Hurkos said, "It is ridiculous to look for Thompson at the Highlands or even within a hundred-and-sixty kilometer radius of it."

"There is no way you'll find him there," he declared. "It's just that he had been abducted to another country. You can take it from me he is not being held for ransom. I am prepared to stake my neck on this!"[40][42]

"Thompson isn't in the jungle"

On Wednesday, April 26, Noone and his two assistants, Rahim bin Kamman and Toh Pawang Angah Sidek, emerged from the forest. In all, they spent a total of thirty-six hours looking for Thompson.


On the day Thompson went missing, two black cars were seen travelling along the Main Road (Malay: Jalan Besar). Thompson was seen in one of the cars when it passed the Cameron Highlands Golf Club.

SOLVED! (2nd ed), page 92.[43]

"I am fully convinced," Noone told a group of reporters, “that Thompson isn't in the jungle. We went further into the woods, starting off from where the police field force men had earlier left off. But we could not find any clue which could be of use in leading us to him.

“During our survey, we came across a steep cliff. We had to turn back. I don't think it would have been possible for Thompson at his age to have scaled that cliff. Furthermore, I don't think he would have gone as far as we went if he did go into the wilderness.”

When told of Hurkos' visit and his abduction theory, Noone expressed his surprise at the soothsayer's claim that Thompson had been kidnapped and was being held as a captive.


I saw him (Thompson) leave a hotel in Tahiti and called after him,” (Edward) Pollitz is reported to have said, “but he got into a taxi and left. There was an elderly lady in the back seat.”

The businessman’s subsequent attempts to track him drew a blank.

Strangely enough, a man named Selvaram, the taxi driver who took Thompson and Mrs. Mangskau on a trip around Penang island, claimed having heard the couple talk about Tahiti.

“I just assumed they were extending their holiday to Tahiti after finishing in Penang” he had said.

The Malay Mail, March 21, 2013, page 24. [15]

"Telepathy," he admitted, "is something new to me. If what Hurkos says is true, then it makes the search for Thompson all the more interesting."[44][45]

Thompson's sister murdered

The last appearance of Thompson was unique in many ways: for the next few weeks, his eclipse was not only discussed at length; equally significant, it also became a subject that refused to die off on its own.

While many were trying to figure out what had happened to Thompson, another strange development came to light. On Wednesday, August 30, it was reported that his older sister, Mrs. Katherine Thompson Wood, 74, was found bludgeoned to death in her Pennsylvania home.[46][47][48][49][50]

Police believed that a blunt object was used to carry out the murder. An autopsy indicated the weapon could have been a crowbar or a tire iron. The bedroom where she was found was spattered with blood on all four walls.[51] The police later said her death had no link to Thompson's disappearance at the Cameron Highlands [52]

Was Thompson behind his disappearance?

The mystery of Jim Thompson was not only puzzling; it also stirred many to come up with their own conclusion.

Firstly, what were Thompson's reasons for visiting the Highlands? Moreover, what did he have in mind after the completion of his stay at the resort?


I still insist, like others who know far more about the affair than I do, that he (Thompson) disappeared by his own choice and will, and not by force.

Richard Hughes [53]

According to Mangskau, "(He) was a tired man… That was why he came here for a holiday." She was also quoted in the press as saying, "He was looking forward to going back to Bangkok."[24]

However, Thompson had in fact made plans with Mangskau and the Lings to go to Singapore on the morning of March 27.[54] The Lings were to drive him there so he would be able to keep his dinner appointment with Francis Joseph Galbraith, the United States ambassador to Singapore, and Edward Pollitz, an American capitalist who was exploring the possibility of establishing a textile company in the republic. But the day before that, Thompson disappeared.

Recent information

One researcher believes the clue to Thompson's mystery may lie in some bone fragments that were found at the Cameron Highlands in 1985. The remains, without the skull, were discovered by Orang Asli settlers in a grave at the edge of a vegetable plot off the main road in Brinchang.[55]

The Jim Thompson Corner, Time Tunnel museum, Cameron Highlands, West Malaysia.

Captain Philip J. Rivers, a master mariner, said he learned of the discovery from a health officer while researching on Thompson's disappearance in 2007.

The police collected the remains but no connection was made to Thompson's disappearance in Tanah Rata, as they were found in Brinchang, almost 30 years after he was reported as missing.[56]

"The probability is that his body lay undiscovered in the thick under bush, hidden in an unmarked grave after a hit-and-run accident. A DNA on the bones might possibly provide a fuller answer," said Rivers at a lecture organized by the Perak Academy in Ipoh, Malaysia on Friday, March 26, 2010.

Rivers admitted that, "though this is a solution to the mystery, it is a costly exercise and doubts whether anyone is willing to do it."[57] He ended his talk by stating that “firstly, it must be confirmed whether the bones belong to a Caucasian or not; if affirmative, find out whether (it is) male or female. If the bones belong to a male, further investigation should be done to confirm whether it is the remains of Thompson.” [58]

To date, there has been no confirmation that the bones belong to Thompson. According to Rivers, however, “the bones are presently kept in a safe and secure place".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BUSINESS ABROAD: The Silk King, Time, Monday, April 21, 1958". 
  2. ^ De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 3. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  3. ^ "The Disappearance Of Jim Thompson, International Herald Tribune, Wednesday, March 26, 1997". p. 2. 
  4. ^ The American largely responsible for bringing about this relationship was Dr. Kenneth Landon, a former Presbyterian minister who had spent ten years in Thailand as a missionary.
  5. ^ "Jim Thompson's rainbow – how he shared the treasure with the people of Thailand, Eastern Sun, Thursday, March 30, 1967". p. 2. 
  6. ^ De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. pp. 13–14. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  7. ^ a b c De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  8. ^ a b c "Cameron Highlands: Malaysia’s enduring ‘Little England’, CNN Travel, Thursday, June 27, 2013". 
  9. ^ De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  10. ^ De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  11. ^ "Cameron Highlands: Malaysia’s enduring ‘Little England’, CNN Travel, Thursday, June 27, 2013". 
  12. ^ De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  13. ^ "Big ground-air hunt in the Highlands, The Straits Times, Wednesday, March 29, 1967". p. 24. 
  14. ^ a b De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 89. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  15. ^ a b c "On Thompson’s trail, The Malay Mail, Thursday, March 21, 2013". p. 24. 
  16. ^ "THE HUNT (8th day) CONTINUES, Eastern Sun, Monday, April 3, 1967". p. 2. 
  17. ^ ""Story of the Lings", The Straits Times, Monday, June 15, 1981". p. 8. 
  18. ^ a b De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. pp. 23–24. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  19. ^ "Copter joins search for missing millionaire, The Straits Times, Wednesday, March 29, 1967". p. 1. 
  20. ^ a b "Chances Of Finding Missing Millionaire Alive Bleak, The Sarawak Tribune, Thursday, March 30, 1967". p. 8. 
  21. ^ De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  22. ^ "Cook: I saw millionaire the day he vanished, The Straits Times, Thursday, March 30, 1967". p. 1. 
  23. ^ a b c De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  24. ^ a b c "FRIENDS RULE OUT SUICIDE IN JUNGLE, The Straits Times, Thursday, March 30, 1967". p. 18. 
  25. ^ ""Never-ending trail", The Star, Monday, March 26, 2012". p. 5. 
  26. ^ "Thompson still missing, Eastern Sun, Wednesday, March 29, 1967". p. 2. 
  27. ^ a b De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  28. ^ a b "Missing silk king: Reward goes up, The Straits Times, Friday, April 31, 1967". p. 6. 
  29. ^ a b "Speculation is rife as to the disappearance of Thompson, Eastern Sun, Thursday, March 30, 1967". p. 2. 
  30. ^ a b c "The master of the hunt, The Sunday Times, Sunday, April 2, 1967". p. 1. 
  31. ^ De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  32. ^ De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  33. ^ De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  34. ^ a b De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  35. ^ De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  36. ^ "Not a sign of my friend Jim, say General, The Straits Times, Tuesday, April 4, 1967". p. 1. 
  37. ^ a b De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  38. ^ "SPECTATOR, The Straits Times, Monday, April 11, 1977". p. 14. 
  39. ^ a b "Looking for the Silk King, The Star, Tuesday, March 23, 2010". pp. T10. 
  40. ^ a b "He ‘sees’ silk king in clutches of Red band, The Straits Times, Wednesday, April 26, 1967". p. 18. 
  41. ^ De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. pp. 46–47. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  42. ^ a b De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. pp. 47–48. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  43. ^ De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  44. ^ "Missing millionaire ‘not’ lost in jungle, The Straits Times, Thursday, April 27, 1967". p. 9. 
  45. ^ De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 55. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  46. ^ "Rich matron Found Slain in Delaware, The Milwaukee Journal, Thursday, August 31, 1967". p. 8. 
  47. ^ "Society Matron Is Slain, The Free Lance-Star, Tuesday, Thursday, August 31, 1967". p. 11. 
  48. ^ "Woman beaten to death, The Windsor Star, Thursday, August 31, 1967". pp. 32A. 
  49. ^ "Missing Silk King’s sister murdered, The Straits Times, Friday, September 1, 1967". p. 24. 
  50. ^ De Souza, Edward Roy (2010). SOLVED! The "Mysterious" Disappearance of Jim Thompson, the Legendary Thai Silk King (2nd ed). Word Association Publishers. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-59571-505-0. LCCN 2009944204. 
  51. ^ "Seek Murder Link In Matron’s Death, The Morning Record, Friday, September 1, 1967". p. 7. 
  52. ^ "Jim Thompson and sister: ‘No link, The Straits Times, Thursday, September 14, 1967". p. 7. 
  53. ^ "Where Is Flamboyant Silk King, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Saturday, March 26, 1977". p. 83. 
  54. ^ "No sign of missing millionaire so far, The Straits Times, Wednesday, March 29, 1967". p. 24. 
  55. ^ "Researcher: DNA may help unravel the mysterious disappearance of "Thai Silk King", The Star, Wednesday, March 31, 2010". 
  56. ^ "Researcher: DNA may help unravel the mysterious disappearance of "Thai Silk King", The Star, Wednesday, March 31, 2010". 
  57. ^ "Bones May Cast Some Light to Jim Thompson's Mystery, Ipoh Echo, Thursday, April 1, 2010". 
  58. ^ "Bones May Cast Some Light to Jim Thompson's Mystery, Ipoh Echo, Thursday, April 1, 2010". 




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