Mid-Century Mania: Why Did Yeti-Slick Document Story Go Viral?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 18th, 2011

The recent discovery and release of a relatively unknown foreign service dispatch from the Embassy of New Delhi dated April 16, 1959, has created a virtual viral wave of interest across the internet in the last few weeks. Have you stopped to wonder why? The letter described the expeditions involved in searching for the Yeti in Nepal, and was directly caused by the Tom Slick-F. Kirk Johnson Snowman Expedition of 1959.

What would cause the foreign office to observe: “American resources in the last two years have been concentrated on efforts to capture the abominable snowman”?

Tom Slick, the Howard Hughes of cryptozoology, a Texas oil and beef millionaire, had sponsored, along with F. Kirk Johnson, another Texas millionaire, and the San Antonio Zoological Society, three separate expeditions to eastern Nepal to find the Yetis of the Himalayas and nearby region in 1957, 1958, and 1959.

During 1959, the United States government got interested probably because the Russians and Chinese took a heightened awareness of Slick’s treks to the region. While Slick was sincerely involved in the search for the Snowman, he also had intelligence connections of long-standing. Remember, it was the truly American thing to do back then, and although Slick was an advocate of world peace, he was also a patriot.

Now the story is being viewed by one blog as “Surprise State Department Memo Confirms Yeti’s Existence.” (See other treatments of this story here and here.)

The idea behind this one discussion by Thom Powell was a good one: Discover more about the memo writer. But Powell developed the story in the wrong direction. Blogger Thom Powell makes a huge misstep in his piece. The US government did not author these Yeti regulations but merely were reporting on Nepal’s use of them. Our government authored this memo, and that is important enough.

Nevertheless, the point is that the Slick expeditions and how much they stirred up the US federal government are certainly on the minds of many researchers and the media right now.

The story even made the “Google Editor’s Pick.” And one posting told of this as “Straight from the National Archives.”

This story is seriously heating up the interest in Tom Slick’s involvement in the Yeti search, and perhaps his spying work too. One of the latest spinoffs took into account my Tom Slick writings, and finally made a link to the Slick overlaps with Jimmy Stewart, but did not mention the perhaps more important angle, that the expedition probably was a spy mission.

Now, back in Asia, the story is being filled with gender confusions. In “Uncle Sam and the Abominable Snowman,” the Hindustan Times of September 8, 2011, contained this remarkable passages: “Many US expeditions to the Nepal Himalayas towards the end of the 1950s concentrated mainly on locating the hairy monster.

“Another dispatch sent from the US embassy in New Delhi in 1959 speaks of how American resources have focused on ‘efforts to capture the abominable snowman’.

“In her book Tom Slick and the Search for the Yeti, Loren L Coleman writes about the eccentric Texas oil millionaire who came to Nepal in search of the creature and also funded several expeditions.”

(Of course, I am a male and “Loren L. Coleman” is not my name, but the moniker of a younger scifi writer. I have used my name simply as “Loren Coleman,” as an author since 1969.)

Even the film The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas (1957) was an early fictionalized treatment of Tom Slick, via Forrest Tucker’s “Tom Friend” character.

So, why did the story of the government dispatch about Tom Slick’s expedition go viral in our time, at this time?

Is it because the underlying search for the Yeti is so compelling? Is it because the hint of spying in the story is being picked up by readers? Or are there other reasons?

Certainly, with the release of the Tom Slick correspondence this summer, the release of this foreign service document, and the growing interest in the search for hairy hominoids, the timing all does seem to be quite intriguing.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

3 Responses to “Mid-Century Mania: Why Did Yeti-Slick Document Story Go Viral?”

  1. sjreidhead responds:

    The fact that Slick may have been spying on what would obviously be the Soviets is even more fascinating than the Yeti angle. What I find intriguing is the possibility that the Yeti hunt was a front for his “other” activities. We all know what a hotbed that area of the world was in those years.

  2. Zabo responds:

    i agree he was on the james bond mission. that would be on heck of a mission right?you get all the china maps possible and a pic or two of some really big feet!!! the slick spy/si-fi novel would be a best seller. and i wish i could of been in that search party! i think that one aussy/brit speaking bloke is still alive.(anyone remember this guy’s name?) thanks!!!

  3. DWA responds:

    Would the “aussy/brit speaking bloke” be Peter Byrne, a key member of the Slick teams?

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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