The Curious Case of Jim Thompson
February 2, 2006 11:03 AM   Subscribe

When American expat, Thai silk king, and former OSS (now CIA) agent James H.W. Thompson disappeared without a trace in the highlands of Malaysia on Easter 1967, he left behind a remarkable house in Bangkok, a major silk exporting company, and a lot of questions. There are many theories about his disappearance, but there's little evidence to support any of them.
posted by goatdog (14 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is really interesting, cheers.
posted by Rothko at 11:15 AM on February 2, 2006

Never heard of this guy before. Good post.
posted by justkevin at 11:22 AM on February 2, 2006

Fascinating. Thank you.
posted by Gator at 11:24 AM on February 2, 2006

He was the business of my friend's father. They imported all the silk for "The king and I" on Broadway, thereby paying for my friend's college education with that one deal.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:32 AM on February 2, 2006


a really quiet american.
posted by tzelig at 11:35 AM on February 2, 2006

Great post. I've been hiking in the jungle (and was bitten by a snake) in Cameron Highlands. The only way in there was on a road that was so narrow that traffic went uphill for one hour and then went downhill the next hour. My dad, who worked for the US govt in Malaysia from 68-70, told me Thompson's story, and mentioned that he was a chain smoker who never went anywhere without the cigarettes and lighter that he left behind that day.
posted by OmieWise at 11:54 AM on February 2, 2006

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble Not much between despair and ectasy One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble Can't be to careful with your company.

Sister bludgeoned to death? His nephew commits suicide....that is frikin’ strange.
Interesting post.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:18 PM on February 2, 2006

I met Jim Thompson when my family was living in Bangkok. Sad/weird story.
posted by languagehat at 2:51 PM on February 2, 2006

No shit, lh? Weird world.
posted by OmieWise at 3:24 PM on February 2, 2006

Excellent post. I grew up reading about the searches and the 'Jim thompson' sightings after we moved to Malaysia in 1970
posted by infini at 4:39 PM on February 2, 2006

My friend has a gorgeous Thompson silk handbag that she bought in Thailand. Will have to share this post with her, thanks.
posted by of strange foe at 8:21 PM on February 2, 2006

I love Thompson silk mostly because it is gorgeous and I have heard that the workers are treated well. My biggest regret about visiting Bangkok was missing a chance to go to the warehouse and buy silk off of the bolt.
posted by Alison at 8:50 PM on February 2, 2006

I wonder if this guy influenced Tom Robbin's character in his fictional tale involving this area of the world?
posted by nofundy at 6:13 AM on February 3, 2006

I visited the Jim Thompson house in Bangkok just this summer... it's gorgeous, in typical Thai style, despite his American origins. Lots of rare Thai artifacts there too. Neat links, thanks!
posted by degnarra at 8:05 AM on February 3, 2006

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