Tom Slick, Playboy Cryptozoologist

Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 2nd, 2007

The early Tom Slick lived a life of wealth, from touring the shores of Loch Ness to the company of Howard Hughes in Beverly Hills.

The once and future supporter of cryptozoology, Tom Slick, the son of a wealthy Texas oil millionaire, as a youth, shared a life that sounds very familiar to our ears today. For those living in the beginning of the 21st century, the son of another Texas oil millionaire is as near as the White House. Slick lived the trappings of influence and heritage seen in the Bush family.

Slick, the Southwestern nonconformist in the East, graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1934, while George Bush, the elder, graduated from the nearby private school rival, Phillips Andover Academy, in 1942, as would his son, George W.

Cofounder of the Americans for Democratic Action Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., an upperclassman at the same time Tom Slick was at Phillips Exeter, also traveled in the similar political circles of the Bushes and Slicks. The politics of privilege did not discriminate between left or right.

After his graduation from Phillips Exeter, Tom Slick would go to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut (just as both of the future Bush presidents had). Here, Slick was a member of the residential college of Pierson, and became a member of the Political Union. I have been unable to determine which of Yale’s secret societies Slick joined, if any, although he is not listed on any of the published Skull and Bones lists (as are George and George W. Bush).

Stewart Strong Wilson, a Slick friend from Exeter was at Yale, and roomed with Slick. According to what Wilson remembered, Slick, Wilson, George Nichols, John Francis, John Nelson, and Rawson Goodwin all were members of an informal group who would get in Slick’s car and take trips to Vassar, Smith, and Wellesley to spend weekends socializing with young college women.


In addition, Slick toured Loch Ness during the summer of 1937, when Slick, Wilson, Nelson, and Goodwin took Slick’s 1934 Buick sedan aboard the Bremen, debarked in Germany, which was in the early phrases of National Socialist, and then drove throughout Europe.

The route of Slick’s return is intriguing. From Europe, Slick’s friends went back with Slick’s car to America while Tom made a stop in the Soviet Union to allegedly see what it was like there before going home. We do not know what Slick did in Germany or Russia during his pre-War World II visits to these politically important nations. We do know that years later, Slick would be fascinated with obtaining Nazi collectibles and Nazi gold.

For a year or so after graduating, Slick lived in Oklahoma City, but in 1939, he established his home in San Antonio, Texas, and remained there for the rest of his life. By his late thirties, Tom Slick, like his father, had turned prematurely white-haired. This did not diminish his good looks, and in his bachelor days (and allegedly during his marriages) he kept the company of many attractive socialites and budding Hollywood starlets.

Thomas Baker Slick, Jr. was an attractive man, and he seemed to have known it. Some five feet, eleven inches tall, he was always fit and trim, never weighing much over one hundred and seventy pounds, even into his forties.

An early contact in California was Howard Hughes. They both were from Texas and shared much in common including traveling, women, Hollywood, inventions, the oil and airline industries, and the intelligence business.

Tom Slick and Howard Hughes became such close friends that they had adjoining cottages at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Like Hughes, Tom was not your typical jet-setting playboy, for he was excited by stimulating conversations with his female associates as well as by his allegedly frequent sexual encounters.

One of the many stories about Tom Slick is that he, like Hughes, had more than a passing interest in Las Vegas. Slick, it was rumored, had a large financial interest with Mickey Cohen in the town’s first casino, La Rancho Vegas, until it burned down. Slick is even allegedly reported to have known Jack Ruby, Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassin, and assisted with the early running of guns to Cuba for the Mafia, using a Florida branch office, Transworld Resources as his avenue of delivery for the mob and, possibly, some hidden federal agency. Transworld Resources, a Slick-owned company, publicly was said to hold mineral rights to locations in Mexico, Alaska and California.

It would be years later that Tom Slick would become known for his search for several cryptids, including the Yeti, Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Orang Pendek, and the Trinity Alps’ Giant Salamanders.

This coming Saturday, October 6th, marks exactly 45 years since another Saturday, the one on October 6, 1962, when the 42 year old Tom Slick died mysteriously in an explosion of his Beechcraft Bonzana 35 airplane over Montana.

Search for Yeti Tom Slick

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 “Tom Slick, Playboy Cryptozoologist”

  1. Terry W. Colvin responds:

    Quite a good extract from your book, Loren. I wonder how this scion of privilege would have fared as President if he had lived and entered politics?

    I have passed on this link and a comment to several mailing lists where a few subscribers are former Air America and CASI employees in Asia.

  2. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Do you suspect foul play?

  3. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    I had a chance to read a review copy of your book on Slick about 5 years back, when I was with the Greenville Daily Advocate. I enjoyed it a great deal and highly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in cryptozoology or fans of real-life adventure tales.

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