May 30, 2014
Visiting a local museum in Brinchang, Cameron Highland – Malaysia, but I don’t write about what things I found inside, for those you can see on the pictures. I more interesting to share about a story that happened in Cameron Highland years ago and still remains as mystery this day.
This is a story about James H.W. Thompson
James H.W. Thompson known to friends and strangers alike as Jim, was born in Greenville, Delaware – America on March 21, 1906. Thai silk was virtually unknown to the world before Thompson arrived in Bangkok in 1945 and founded the vastly successful Thai Silk Co. Ltd. subsequently, Thompson was unofficially crowned the ” Thai Silk King”
The world renowned company and it’s founder had been credited with elevating the silk trade in Thailand from an ailing cottage industry to the heights of international distinction. Tragically, Thompson’s legacies have long outlasted the man himself. On Sunday March 26, 1967, Jim Thompson vanished in the hills of Cameron Highlands and was never seen again..
What Really Happened to Jim Thompson ?
The Thompson case was the subject of many lively debates and a number of explanations and theories were offered as to what really happened to him ? To this day, the most tantalizing question remains unanswered.
Jim Thompson went to Cameron Highlands for a restful Easter weekend with some close friends. They were staying in the Moonlight Cottage, which belonged to Dr and Mrs Ling, the cottage stood just at the edge of the jungle.
Characteristically, he had made appointments in Singapore for the following Monday. On the first day in the highlands, he and one of his friends went for a walk in the jungle, and soon realized they were lost.
” Don’t worry,” he said, ” follow me along this stream and we’ll find our way out. ”
They did. But on the second day, his friends were napping, Jim Thompson walked off in the jungle alone. He did not return..
It was Dr. Ling who first reported Thompson’s failure to return to the cottage. He went to the police at about 7.30 that evening. A group of 30 orang asli trackers was gathered to help in the search, but they came back unsuccessful at about 2 in the morning. From then on, the hunt for Thompson steadily intensified. The next morning, a group of 120 people took to the hills. Searchers were divided into small groups and went out in shifts working from early morning until midnight. The following day, twice the number of people were despatched to the jungles surrounding Moonlight Cottage but Thompson remained missing.
It was reported that the rescue team eventually swelled to more than 300 people including 200 officers and men of the Police Field Force from Ipoh, a tracker dog and British servicemen who were convalescing in the nearby British Military Hospital at Tanah Rata. The searchers scoured the thick jungle on slopes, valleys and ravines equipped walkie talkies, field telephones and hailers.
As news spread, more help arrived and the search took on a new dimension with a string of colorful characters that included local bomohs, temple mediums, soothsayers and an assortment of others who claimed to have psychic powers.
By this time, bits of information on the ” Thai Silk King ” as he was called began to trickle into the news. The authorities were initially fairly confident that the 61 years old was still alive and was either trapped in virtually impenetrable jungle or had been injured in a fall. They felt that it was only a matter of time before he was found but as the weeks wore on, hope of finding him, alive at least, rapidly diminished.
Officially, search efforts for Thompson continued for eleven days but possibly due to the substantial reward that was later offered, people were still looking for him months after he disappeared…
A funny story from curator of the Time Tunnel as told by Mr. Ong Kim Leong, he also involved in the search party at the time Jim Thompson disappeared in the jungles.
* After weeks had gone by, there was still no news of Jim Thompson being found. One day, this Chinese medium ( bomoh ) approached me and claimed that he would be able to ‘speak’ to Jim Thompson with the super power he had possessed for many years.
So, we went to the path believed to be taken by Jim Thompson, hoping finding him alive or at worst dead, so that the medium would be able to claim the reward offered by the American and Thailand government.
First, the medium started praying by offering fruits and lighting joss sticks to the so called ‘God’. After a while, he went into hysterics and started jumping around in the jungle. Off he went…, leaving me by the road side, hoping to see him come out with Jim Thompson in person. After about 2o minutes or so, I heard the medium screaming and running towards me. I asked,” Why are you screaming, did you see Jim Thompson or did you see the ghost ? ”
” Run quick, ” said the medium. ” I was stung by bees, run quickly. ”
I asked him again while we were running for our lives. ” I thought you have super powers to protect you, why are you afraid of bees ?”
The medium replied, ” When the ghost is confronted by bees, the ghost also scare lah.” LOL *
Djakarta, 05 June 2014