Bones May Cast Some Light to Jim Thompson’s Mystery


The discovery of some fragments of human bones in a box from the old Tanah Rata hospital in Cameron Highlands could cast some light into the highly publicised missing without trace mystery of Jim Thompson – dubbed as the “Thai Silk King”, about 43 years ago.

However, it would be a costly and tedious effort to establish whether or not the bones belong to the missing Caucasian.

This hope of closing the chapter of the mystery was raised at a Perak Academy’s talk “He never left the hills – the real search for Jim Thompson”, delivered by Captain P.J. Rivers, a Research Fellow of Perak Academy at a hotel in Ipoh recently.

Thompson was an American businessman who helped revitalize the Thai silk and textile industry in the 1950s and 1960s and a former U.S. military intelligence officer. He mysteriously disappeared while going for a walk alone on Easter Sunday, March 26, 1967, while on holiday in the highlands resort. He was then 61 years old.

Capt. Rivers narrated in detail what happened and the massive search, which was triggered following the disappearance, without any success.

According to Capt. Rivers that when he was in Cameron Highlands about ten years ago, all the items from the old hospital in Tanah Rata were transferred to a new hospital and one of the items was a box containing the bones brought by Orang Asli who had found them in the jungle.

Capt. Rivers feels that those bones could solve the problem of the missing Thompson.

Firstly, it must be confirmed whether the bones belong to a Caucasian or not; if affirmative, find out whether male or female. If the bones belong to a male, further investigation should be done to confirm whether it is the remains of Jim Thompson.

Capt. Rivers ended his talk by saying that though this is a solution to the mystery, it is a costly exercise and doubts if anyone is willing to do it.


3 thoughts on “Bones May Cast Some Light to Jim Thompson’s Mystery

  1. Lance,

    I was in Thailand at the time. Where were you attached. Interested to hear more.

    Charlie Kirkwood

  2. I’m also interested to know if there is any further information. I’m considering writing my essay on Jim Thompson.

  3. Quite interested to read the article concerning the possible discovery of Jim Thompson’s remains. Some 43 years ago as the Signal Officer for JHEOA, I was in the middle of the very extensive search for him in the
    jungle around Cameron Highlands and elsewhere. The search involved significant resources of JHEOA, Police, Army,RMAF,and entities of the US Government. No information was ever released as to finding his remains or whereabouts. If the bones are deemed male caucasian then DNA testing, with the help of the
    US Government, could determine yes or no, for perhaps
    a degree of closure on the Jim Thompson mystery.

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