Moments in Time

The Yeti Conspiracy and the CIA

Thomas Baker 'Tom' Slick, Jr., inherited millions from his Texas oil rich father and was an inventor, businessman, adventurer and hunter. During the 1950s, he organised expeditions to investigate the 'Loch Ness Monster', the 'Yeti', 'Bigfoot' and the 'Trinity Alps giant salamander'.

It was on his first trek to Tibet in 1956 to locate the Yeti, when he met Peter Byrne, who would accompany him on future expeditions. Byrne would later be linked to the CIA backed extraction of the Dali Lama, his family and advisors from Lhasa, Tibet, in 1959.

Slick, with powerful friends like CIA contact man, Howard Hughes, would have been seen as a valuable asset. At the time, very few people with the necessary resources could keep tabs on the Chinese conflict with Tibet and the Soviet interests in the region.

Byrne and Slick were not the first explorers and Yeti hunters connected to the CIA; anthropologists Carlton Coon and George Agogino, both seeking the alleged 'abominable snowman', had CIA connections.

Was Slick spying for the CIA? The Soviets thought so and published a report carried by the New York Times that claimed Slick was behind an effort to subvert the Chinese, and free Tibet in 1957.

Slick Airways, founded by the family in 1946, operated charters for the US Armed Forces including the US Navy and was rumoured to have ties with the OSS and CIA until it shutdown in 1966.

Slick founded the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in 1941; the only privately owned Biosafety level 4 lab in the US producing, among other things, bioterrorism defences. He also founded the Southwest Research Institute in 1947; one of the oldest and largest independent, applied research and development (R&D) organisations in the US that 'provides contract research and development services to government and industrial clients.' 

There have been numerous books and publications produced about the Yeti hunters. A movie was in pre-production called Tom Slick: Monster Hunter, starring Nicholas Cage. It never reached production. 

Tom Slick died in 1962 in mysterious circumstances returning from a hunting trip in Canada. His plane disintegrated in mid-air over Montana.

Tom Slick (pointing) photographed during his expedition in the Himalayas, looking for the Yeti. Photo: Courtesy Mind Science Foundation

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