Friday, March 30, 2012

Curse of Tippecanoe

President Barack Obama

Today, March 30, 2012, the President of the United States will be in my town of Portland, Maine. He is greeting a large crowd at the Southern Maine College College, and having a fundraising dinner at the Portland Museum of Art. I won't be able to see him, but I wish him well. My best goes out to him, and to the men and women of the United States Secret Service who have the job of protecting President Barack Obama today. Their service to our country, mostly under the radar, is great.

March 30th

On March 30, 1979, Airey Neave, a British Member of Parliament, was killed by a car bomb as he exited the Palace of Westminster. The Irish National Liberation Army claimed responsibility. 

This date is also the anniversary in 1981, of the wounding of President Ronald Reagan.  

On Thursday, March 30, 2006, at around 21:45, a Palestinian suicide bomber, disguised as an Orthodox Jewish hitchhiker and wearing hidden explosives attached to his body, boarded an Israeli vehicle. The suicide bomber blew himself up near the entrance to the Israeli settlement Kedumim near the gas station outside of the village. The blast killed four Israeli (three inside the car and another person who was near the vehicle). 

I would expect awareness among law enforcement personnel would be heightened on a day like today. Copycats and behavior contagion are a problem, and protection agencies must realize that.

Assassination Attempt Against Ronald Reagan

On March 21, 1981, Ronald Reagan, the new President of the United States, visited Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. with his wife Nancy for a fundraising event. He recalled, "I looked up at the presidential box above the stage where Abe Lincoln had been sitting the night he was shot and felt a curious sensation... I thought that even with all the Secret Service protection we now had, it was probably still possible for someone who had enough determination to get close enough to a president to shoot him."

The Reagan assassination attempt occurred on Monday, March 30, 1981, just 69 days into the presidency of Ronald Reagan. While leaving a speaking engagement at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., President Reagan and three others were shot and wounded by John Hinckley, Jr.

Curse of Tippecanoe

The name Curse of Tippecanoe (also known as Tecumseh's Curse, the Presidential Curse, Zero-Year Curse, the Twenty-Year Curse, or the Twenty-Year Presidential Jinx) is used to describe the regular death in office of presidents elected in years divisible by twenty, from William Henry Harrison (elected in 1840) through John Kennedy (1960). Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980, was shot and survived; George Walker Bush (2000) survived an attempt on his life unharmed.

The curse, first widely noted in a Ripley's Believe It or Not book published in 1931, began with the death of William Henry Harrison, who died in 1841 after having been elected in 1840. For the next 120 years, presidents elected during years ending in a zero (occurring every 20 years) ultimately died while serving in office, from Harrison to John F. Kennedy (elected 1960, died 1963).

The name "Curse of Tippecanoe" derives from the 1811 battle. As governor of the Indiana Territory, William Harrison used questionable tactics in the negotiation of the 1809 Treaty of Fort Wayne with Native Americans, in which they ceded large tracts of land to the U.S. government. The treaty further angered the Shawnee leader Tecumseh (shown above), and brought government soldiers and Native Americans to the brink of war in a period known as Tecumseh's War. Tecumseh and his brother organized a group of Indian tribes designed to resist the westward expansion of the United States. In 1811, Tecumseh's forces, led by his brother, attacked Harrison's army in the Battle of Tippecanoe, earning Harrison fame and the nickname "Old Tippecanoe." Harrison strengthened his reputation even more by defeating the British at the Battle of the Thames during the War of 1812. In a fictional account of the aftermath of the battle, Tecumseh's brother Tenskwatawa, known as the Prophet, supposedly set a curse against Harrison and future White House occupants who became president during years with the same end number as Harrison. This fictional account is the basis of the curse legend.

After the observation by Ripley, talk of the curse resurfaced as the next cursed election year approached. A similar oddities cartoon feature, Strange as it Seems by John Hix, appeared prior to Election Day 1940, with "CURSE OVER THE WHITE HOUSE!" A list, running from "1840 - Harrison" to "1920 - Harding" was followed by the ominous "1940 - ??????" and the note that "In the last 100 years, Every U.S. President Elected at 20-Year Intervals Has Died In Office!" Ed Koterba, author of a syndicated column called Assignment Washington, referred to the subject again in 1960.

As 1980 approached, the curse was sufficiently well-known, and Americans wondered whether the winner of that election would follow the pattern. The Library of Congress conducted a study in the summer of 1980 about the origin of the tale, and concluded that "although the story has been well-known for years, there are no documented sources and no published mentions of it". Running for re-election in 1980, President Jimmy Carter was asked about the curse at a campaign stop in Dayton on October 2 of that year. Taking questions from the crowd, Carter replied, "I'm not afraid. If I knew it was going to happen, I would go ahead and be President and do the best I could, for the last day I could."

The Curse Misfires

The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 was not followed by his death in office, despite being seriously wounded in an assassination attempt within months of his inauguration. Days after Reagan survived the shooting, columnist Jack Anderson wrote "Reagan and the Eerie Zero Factor" and noted that the 40th president had either disproved the superstition, or had nine lives. Reagan, the oldest man to be elected President, also survived treatment for colon cancer while in office. He left office on January 20, 1989, and ultimately died of Alzheimer's Disease on June 5, 2004, at the age of 93.

Reagan's would-be assassin, John Hinckley, Jr., was found by a jury to be insane, but there was no evidence that he was motivated by a belief in the curse. Moreover, every president from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush faced at least one assassination attempt.

Like the presidents who had died in office, Reagan was succeeded in office by his vice president, George H. W. Bush, which was historically unusual given that Bush was the first incumbent vice president in 152 years to assume the presidency by direct election. The last incumbent vice president to win election had been Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison's immediate predecessor in office.

The next president in the line of the curse, George W. Bush in 2000, was unharmed in an assassination attempt in 2005 and finished out his final term on January 20, 2009.

The only president who died in office without being elected in a "cursed" year was Zachary Taylor, who was elected in 1848 and died in 1850.

Fayette Factor, Nevertheless
The Battle of Tippecanoe was fought on November 7, 1811, near present-day Lafayette, Indiana between United States forces led by Governor William Henry Harrison of the Indiana Territory and Native American warriors associated with the Shawnee leader Tecumseh. Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa (popularly known as "The Prophet") were leaders of a confederacy of Native Americans from various tribes that opposed US expansion into Native territory. As tensions and violence increased, Governor Harrison marched with an army of about 1,000 men to disperse the confederacy's headquarters at Prophetstown, near the confluence of the Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers. Due to the links to Lafayette, Indiana, William Henry Harrison's beginning of the “20 year presidential death curse,” and the involvement of Tecumseh/Tenskwatawa, this date and site have much to do with the “Fayette Factor.” 

See also

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Flight 191s: Bad Luck?

Jet Blue Flight 191 left New York at 7:28 a.m, Tuesday, March 27, 2012. 

American Airline 191, May 25, 1979.

The flight number "191" has been associated with numerous crashes and incidents over the years. It has even prompted some airlines to discontinue the use of this number.

As the day would evolve, the 2012 JetBlue Flight 191 from New York to Las Vegas was diverted to Amarillo, Texas, after a "medical situation involving the captain" developed, the airline said.

Captain Clayton Osbon left the cockpit and began talking with some of the passengers. When he tried to re-enter and realized it was locked, he became agitated. Numerous passengers say that the 49-year-old captain then ran through the cabin screaming "say your prayers" and "we're all going down" while ranting about Iraq, al-Qaeda, and acts of terrorism. Several witnesses say a flight attendant then got on the intercom and asked passengers -- several of which were headed to an International Security Conference that will take place at Las Vegas' Sands Expo and Convention Center this Wednesday through Friday -- to restrain him. Passengers offered up their belts to keep the captain subdued.

A passenger spoke to CNN's Brooke Baldwin about what she saw.

"The pilot ran to the cockpit door, began banging on it and said something to the effect of, 'We've gotta pull the throttle back. We've gotta get this plane down,'" said Laurie Dhue.

"At that point, the two flight attendants tried to subdue him, and then seemingly out of nowhere, about six or seven large guys stormed to the front of the plane and wrestled the captain of the plane down to the ground and had him subdued in a matter of moments. It was really like something out of a movie," she said.

"At roughly 10 a.m. CT/11 a.m. ET, the pilot in command elected to divert to Amarillo, Texas, for a medical situation involving the captain. Another captain, traveling off duty, entered the flight deck prior to landing at Amarillo and took over the duties of the ill crew member once on the ground," JetBlue said.

The crew member was taken off the plane and transported to a medical facility, it said.

FBI Special Agent Lydia Maese said the FBI responded to the incident and is coordinating with Amarillo and airport police, the Federal Aviation Administration and the TSA (Transportation Safety Administration).

"Since it's a pending investigation at this point we really can't comment any more," she said.

Other "Flight 191" incidents:

Pilot Michael J. Adams

X-15 Flight 3-65-97, also known as X-15 Flight 191, was a test flight of the North American X-15 experimental aircraft. It took place on November 15, 1967 and was piloted by Michael J. Adams. It ended in tragedy when the aircraft broke apart minutes after launch due to technical difficulties, killing the pilot and destroying the plane.

Prinair Flight 191 was a Prinair (Puerto Rico International Airlines) flight from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Mercedita Airport in Ponce, Puerto Rico. At approximately 11:15pm on 24 June 1972, the aircraft crashed while attempting to land at Mercedita Airport. Five people died in the accident.

American Airlines Flight 191 was a regularly scheduled passenger flight in the United States from O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles International Airport. On May 25, 1979, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 operating the route crashed moments after takeoff from Chicago. All 258 passengers and 13 crew on board were killed, along with two people on the ground.

Some notable victims in the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 were:

-Itzhak Bentov, a biomedical inventor (the cardiac catheter), New Age author (Stalking the Wild Pendulum and A Cosmic Book) and kundalini researcher
-Several senior executives of the accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand
-Sheila Charisse, the daughter-in-law of movie actress Cyd Charisse
-Leonard Stogel, music business manager/promoter/producer/executive for California Jam and California Jam II, The Cowsills, Sam the Sham, Tommy James & The Shondells, Redbone, Gentle Giant, and other musical groups
-Several people in relation with Playboy magazine:
     -Members of the American Booksellers Association who were on their way to their annual convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where they were to have a joint party organized by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner
     -Victoria Haider, magazine editor for Playboy magazine (and sometimes editor of Harlan Ellison)
     -Judith Wax and her husband, Sheldon Wax. Judith Wax frequently contributed to Playboy (Sheldon was its managing editor), notably the annual "Christmas cards" piece that "presented" short satirical poems to various public figures. In her 1979 book, Starting in the Middle, she had written about her fear of flying on page 191.
-Francis Gemme, president of Children's Press in Chicago.

Delta Air Lines Flight 191 was an airline service from Fort Lauderdale, Florida's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, bound for Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, by way of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. On the afternoon of August 2, 1985, Delta Air Lines Flight 191 crashed while on a routine approach to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, killing 8 of 11 crew members, 126 of 152 passengers on board, and one person on the ground. Two people also died more than 30 days after the crash, bringing the total fatalities to 137. This accident is one of the few commercial airline crashes in which the meteorological phenomenon known as microburst-induced wind shear was a direct contributing factor.

Comair Flight 5191, marketed as Delta Connection Flight 5191, was a scheduled United States (US) domestic passenger flight from Lexington, Kentucky, to Atlanta, Georgia, operated on behalf of Delta Connection by Comair. On the morning of August 27, 2006, the Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet 100ER that was being used for the flight crashed while attempting to take off from Blue Grass Airport in Fayette County, Kentucky, four miles (6 kilometers) west of the central business district of the City of Lexington.

The aircraft was assigned the airport's Runway 22 for the takeoff, but used Runway 26 instead. Runway 26 was too short for a safe takeoff, causing the aircraft to overrun the end of the runway before it could become airborne. It crashed just past the end of the runway, killing all 47 passengers and two of the three crew. The flight's first officer was the only survivor. Although not the pilot in command, according to the cockpit voice recorder transcript, the first officer was the pilot flying at the time of the accident.

"191," of course, can be rearranged as "911."

Flight 191: The World's Riskiest Flight (Art by Andrew Rae)

Update: I've just discovered that Justin Heckert wrote about the "coincidence" of Flight 191s in his "The World's Riskiest Flight" on July 23, 2007, for Esquire. Heckert correctly predicted the flight I have noted today might be a future target to watch. He wrote:

This type of information will not abate my nightmares, nor may it be useful to anyone else who flies. But it will keep me off the JetBlue flight that goes to Vegas from JFK, and the Continental one that goes from Miami to Houston, and not that I'll be spending any time in Kaohsiung, but if I do, I sure won't be leaving on the China Airlines flight from Taipei to get there. Because while I'm not afraid of flying, I am scared as hell by coincidence.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Etch-A-Sketch Flap

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom was asked on CNN on Wednesday March 21st whether he was concerned that Romney’s prolonged fight with Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum would force him to “tack so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election.”

“Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign,” Fehrnstrom responded. “Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Obama, Cushing, and Tom Slick

Why is President Barack Obama going to Cushing, Oklahoma? What makes Cushing a pinpoint location for a discussion of the energy issues of our day? What twilight language is being served by this visit?

The answer rests squarely within the history of the site, and with a name very familiar to my research: Tom Slick.

On Wednesday, March 21, 2012, President Obama will fly into Cushing. The next morning, on Thursday, as part of an extended trip for his energy strategy, President Obama is scheduled to officially visit Cushing, Oklahoma, home to the world’s biggest oil storage complex. There he will tour a yard where TransCanada is storing pipes to be used in building the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. The line will stretch from Cushing down to refineries on the Texas gulf coast.

What makes Cushing so special?

Cushing is a city in Payne County, Oklahoma, United States. The area that would become Cushing was part of the Sac and Fox Reservation. With the Land Run of 1891, government trader for the tribe Billy Rae Little built a house, established his claim, and laid out town lots. The town got a post office late that year and was named for Marshall Cushing, private secretary to U.S. Postmaster General John Wanamaker. In 1902, the Eastern Oklahoma Railway line to Cushing was built. The Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway added service on its own line built in 1903.

Wildcatter Thomas Baker Slick started an oil boom on March 17, 1912, when he brought in a gusher east of the town. Oil production became based in nearby Drumright, Oklahoma, and Cushing became a refining center. Today, Cushing is a major trading hub for crude oil and a famous price settlement point for West Texas Intermediate on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

On St. Patrick's Day 1912, Thomas "Dry Hole" or "Mad Tom" Slick (above) brought in the Wheeler No. 1 well about 12 miles east of Cushing, Oklahoma – the discovery well for the prolific Drumright-Cushing oilfield. The well produced for the next 35 years. At its peak, the oilfield would produce 330,000 barrels of oil a day.

Knowing that oilmen and speculators would descend on Cushing when the word got out, Slick posted guards at his well – and took other measures to protect his investment. How he did so is best described by a frustrated competing lease man (who was working for Harry Ford Sinclair; another competitor was John D. Milliken):

I got a call yesterday at the hotel in Cushing from a friend who said they had struck oil out there. A friend of his was listening in on the party line and heard the driller call Tom Slick at the farm where he’s been boarding and said they’d hit.

Well, I rushed down to the livery stable to get a rig to go out and do some leasing and damned if Slick hadn’t already been there and hired every rig. Not only there, but every other stable in town…Some other scouts had already gotten the wagons on the first farms I hit. Soon as I got one I beat it back to town to pick up a notary public to carry along with me to get leases – and damned if Slick hadn’t hired every notary in town, too.

After his success in Cushing, Slick began an incredible 18-year streak of drilling successful wells. By 1930 in the Oklahoma City field alone, he drilled 45 wells with the capacity to produce 200,000 barrels of oil daily. ”Dry Hole Slick” became known hereafter as "The King of the Wildcatters."

This man, Tom Slick, would also be called Tom Slick, Sr., four years later, when on May 6, 1916, his son Tom Slick, Jr. was born.

Tom Slick, Jr., is the subject of my two books, Tom Slick: True Life Encounters in Cryptozoology, Fresno: Craven Street/Linden Press, 2002, and Tom Slick and the Search for the Yeti. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1989. 

Tom Slick, as I would discover, was involved with what it meant to be an oil and beef millionaire who used his money to support and explore his mindscience interests, Yeti and Bigfoot expeditions, world peace objectives, intelligence network connections, and other forms of cryptozoology and cryptopolitics.

I wonder if President Obama realizes the direct linkage between Cushing and the legacy of Tom Slick? Of course, then again, he doesn't care. But the timing (so close to the 100th anniversary of Slick Sr's important first oil well) and the location do not seem to be a casual choice. Or coincidence.

Is something special going to happen in Cushing on March 21-22, 2012?

Monday, March 19, 2012

.45 Caliber Killer

Is there a .45 Caliber politically-motivated, anti-Jewish, anti-African 
killer loose in France?

Toulouse is one of the bases of the European aerospace industry, with the headquarters of Airbus, Galileo positioning system, the SPOT satellite system, and CNES's Toulouse Space Centre (CST), the largest space centre in Europe. Thales Alenia Space, and Astrium Satellites, EADS's satellite system subsidiary, also have a significant presence in Toulouse. Its world renowned university is one of the oldest in Europe (founded in 1229) and, with more than 97,000 students, is with Lille the third-largest university campus of France after Paris and Lyon.

Montauban is a commune in the Tarn-et-Garonne department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in southern France. It is the capital of the department and lies 50 kilometres (31 mi) north of Toulouse. The town, built mainly of a reddish brick, stands on the right bank of the Tarn River at its confluence with the Tescou.

A gunman opened fire in front of a Jewish school Monday (March 19, 2012) morning in Toulouse, southern France, killing five people and injuring another four. Around 8 a.m. on Monday (March 19th) morning, a man approached parents and students gathered in front of the Ozar Hatorah ("Ozar" means "prize" by itself and in "Ozar Hatorah" means "Treasure of the Torah") Jewish school in the residential area of Roseraie in the city of Toulouse, and opened fire at the group using two guns. After reportedly chasing some students, the killer fled on motorcycle (reportedly a Yamaha TMAX). A 30-year-old father and his two children were killed, as well as another student aged 8-10 years old. A 17-year-old student was seriously injured, and survived, at last word.

The scene in Toulouse.

Authorities say that just after 8 a.m., a gunman riding a motorcycle and wielding two weapons opened fire at close range on a group of adults and children in front of the Ozar Hatorah school on a narrow residential street in Toulouse. 

"He shot at everything there was in front of him, children and adults, and some children were followed inside the school," Toulouse’s public prosecutor Michel Valet told reporters on the scene. 

Ozar Hatorah is a middle and high school, but younger children attending an elementary school nearby use the sidewalk outside as a meeting point. Some reports have given the adult victim’s name as Jonathan Sandler, 30, a Paris-born teacher who arrived from Jerusalem in September for a two-year teaching stint. 

Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, was killed on March 19, 2012 
in the Toulouse shooting, France.

Two of the dead children are Sandler’s sons, ages 6 and 3. The third child killed is the young daughter, believed to be 8 or 10 years old, of the school’s principal. A teenager, 17, seriously hurt, was undergoing surgery Monday afternoon in a Toulouse hospital. The attacker fled on his two-wheeler. French authorities are bolstering security across the country at religious establishments, particularly Jewish schools, as a manhunt involving a reported 150 investigators continues.

The Wall Street Journal on March 20, 2012, gave this new piece of information: "French Interior Minister Claude Guéant, who is helping coordinate a manhunt for the killer from Toulouse, said both a witness and closed-circuit television footage captured near the school have helped establish that the shooter had a camera strapped on his body. 'The killer had a camera tied to his chest that would allow him to film and view the footage on a computer,' said Mr. Guéant Tuesday. 'This adds to the psychological profile we established for the killer.'" (Other news reports mentions the camera's lense was visible on his neck.)

Monday’s attack comes after two other separate shootings last week in Toulouse and in nearby Montauban, when a man on a motorbike killed three French paratroopers and gravely injured a fourth one (who were all black males), prompting French authorities to set up a hunt for the killer during the weekend and French prosecutors in charge of terrorism investigations to open inquiries into the cases.

The March 19th shooting has been linked to two separate similar attacks last week in Toulouse and neighboring Montauban that saw three French paratroopers killed in cold blood in broad daylight—also by a gunman on a motorbike. Early reports suggest that the same .45-caliber weapon was used in all three attacks. Two soldiers have been killed and a third wounded by a gunman on a scooter who opened fire near a military base at Montauban in southern France. At the time, a potential link between the Thursday (March 15th) shootings and the gunning down of another soldier in Toulouse on Sunday (March 11th) was considered "a possibility, not a certainty."

Corporal Abel Chenoulf

Chief Sergeant Imad Ibn Ziahen, 30, of the 1st Parachute Regiment, was shot and killed in a residential district in Toulouse on March 11. Four days later Corporal Abel Chenoulf, 24, and Corporal Loic Lieber, 28, of the 17th Parachute Regiment, were shot and killed as they withdraw money from a cash dispenser opposite their barracks in nearby Montauban. Private Mohamed Legouad, 26, was seriously injured in the shooting.

Sergeant Ibn Ziahen and Corporal Chenoulf were of North African origin, as is Private Legouad. Corporal Lieber was black.

While there are similarities among the three incidents, French president Nicholas Sarkozy said investigators will still determine if there is a common link among the shootings. Sarkozy interrupted his electoral campaign to go to Toulouse, as did his main opponent, Socialist François Hollande.

Students comfort each other at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school where a gunman opened fire, killing four people in Toulouse, France, March 19, 2012, Remy de la Mauvinere / AP Photos

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tom Slick & JFK?

March 17th and the CIA

The date of March 17th is important in intelligence circles, and especially as associated with Tom Slick. It does not seem to be a coincidence this is the date covertly known as the anniversary of the CIA's removal of the Dalai Lama from Tibet. (See here.)

Tom Slick and his family worked closely with the OSS and the CIA for years, anywhere there was oil, air freight to ship, or adventures to serve as covers (like hunting for Yetis in Nepal/Tibet).  But was there more sinister activities afoot? Ones that Slick might have tried to stop?

You all know there are books where you can find out more about the cryptozoological part of his life. Today, let's explore a segment of the Yankee-Cowboy Texan's adventures that are a bit more covert, the cryptopolitics of Tom Slick.

Slick Airways (a CIA proprietary airline, per US Supreme Court, 1993 case: "Until 1956," Mr. [Erwin] Rautenberg explained, "the C.I.A. proprietary worked through a company called Slick Airways.")

Tom Slick had an interesting circle of friends.

Another man mentioned in the correspondence between Prescott Bush, Neil Mallon and Allen Dulles has also been linked to U.S. intelligence. Tom B. Slick of San Antonio, an oil heir and mutual friend of Mallon and Prescott Bush, Slick was entered in [George] de Mohrenschildt's address book in 1954-55.

The correspondence touts Slick as a potential government or political appointee in late 1952 and early 1953. In a reply to Bush to Allen Dulles, before the founding of Zapata, Dulles wrote Prescott Bush, Dec. 10, 1952: "If Slick should be interested in our line of
work here, I will be glad to talk with him."
* * *
Slick was a world traveler and adventurer and was also a member of Dresser's board of directors. Like John Mecom, Slick was known to sell his specially-bred cattle to Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma. Democrat Senator Kerr, as a favor to his Republican Senator colleague Prescott Bush, asked W.C. "Jim" Savage to give George a tour of Kerr-McGee's offshore oil rigs.  ~
Bruce Campbell Adamson

George de Mohrenschildt (April 17, 1911 – March 29, 1977) was a petroleum geologist and professor who befriended Lee Harvey Oswald in the summer of 1962 and maintained that friendship until Oswald's death two days after the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. He had personal acquaintance with the Bush family, including George H. W. Bush, with whose nephew, Edward G. Hooker, he had been roommates at Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts. He also had personal acquaintance with the Bouvier family, including Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, the president's wife, when she was still a child. His testimony before the Warren Commission investigating the assassination was one of the longest of any witness.

Dresser Industries was a multinational corporation headquartered in Dallas, Texas, United States, which provided a wide range of technology, products, and services used for developing energy and natural resources. In 1928 the Wall Street investment-banking firm of W. A. Harriman and Company, Inc., converted the firm into a public company by issuing 300,000 shares of stock. H. Neil Mallon was selected as president and chief executive officer; holding that position until his retirement in 1962. 

George H. W. Bush got his start in the Texas oil business through his father's friend Henry Neil Mallon, the president of Dresser Industries. Mallon offered George his first job at Dresser subsidiary International Derrick and Equipment Company (Ideco), in Odessa, Texas. Brown Brothers Harriman had underwritten Dresser’s transition from a private company to a publicly traded one. Years later, George named a son after Mallon (Neil Mallon Bush).

In 1953, Bush got money from Brown Brothers Harriman and, with partners Hugh and Bill Liedtke, formed Zapata Petroleum. By the late 1950s they were millionaires. Bush bought subsidiary Zapata Off-Shore from his partners and went into business on his own in 1954. By 1958, the new company was drilling on the Cay Sal Bank in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. These islands had been leased to Nixon supporter and CIA contractor Howard Hughes the previous year and were later used as a base for CIA raids on Cuba. Tom Slick and Howard Hughes became such close friends that they had adjoining cottages at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Slick was Director on the Board for Dresser, until his death on October 6, 1962.

The CIA was using companies like Zapata to stage and supply secret missions attacking Fidel Castro’s Cuban government in advance of the Bay of Pigs invasion. The CIA’s codename for that invasion was “Operation Zapata.” In 1981, all Securities and Exchange Commission filings for Zapata Off-Shore between 1960 and 1966 were destroyed. In other words, the year Bush became vice president, important records detailing his years at his drilling company disappeared. In 1969, Zapata bought the United Fruit Company of Boston, another company with strong CIA connections. The history of Dresser is an intriguing one. 

In 1998, Dresser merged with its main rival Halliburton. (Dick Cheney was chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company from 1995 to 2000, and later served as the 46th Vice President of the United States, 2001–2009, under George W. Bush.)

Tom Slick and the JFK Assassination?

How deeply was Tom Slick involved with the people who may have circled around the conspiracy leading to the assassination of John F. Kennedy?

One wonders if Slick's peace work was rubbing people the wrong way. After all, President John F. Kennedy would be killed in Texas, Slick's home state, only fourteen months after Slick died. Maybe the conservative forces in America were trying to send someone a message with a special Texas flare?

One of the more interesting linkages Slick had was through his role as a member of the Advisory Board of the United World Federalists,(Coleman, 1989). Founded in 1947, the United World Federalists' was the intellectual Cord Meyer. Suddenly, in 1950 around the time China was advancing on Tibet, Meyer left the organization's head post in the hands of liberal Alan Cranston [formerly the senior United States Senator from California] and joined the CIA's covert operations division. A close associate was quoted as saying: "It was a great surprise to all his friends. He was not the CIA type. He was a world government man." (Smith, 1972) 

In 1954, Meyer was named Chief of the CIA's Covert Action operations. Hardened by political battles with Joseph McCarthy and by personal tragedies, years later a friend would say that Cord Meyer "got Cold Warized" (Smith, 1972).

JFK and Mary Pinchot Meyer

Tragedies haunted Cord Meyer. One of Meyer's sons died in an automobile accident. Then there's the story of his former wife, Mary Pinchot Meyer, JFK's last lover. Mary Meyer was killed by an unknown assailant on October 12, 1964 on a C&O towpath in Washington D.C. 

Mary Pinchot Meyer, in life (above) and in death (below)

Much darkness surrounds Mary Pinchot Meyer's death, but it appears dozens of people connected to the JFK inner and outer circles were killed. JFK Assassination researcher John Gooch III of New Orleans has wondered aloud if perhaps Tom Slick was in on some early planning meetings regarding the Kennedy killing, backed out and was killed for knowing too much.Then theres that mysterious meeting of 14 individuals and Tom Slick that the FBI was watching in 1962. There's the hints and informants claims that "everyone knew Slick was helping run guns to Cuba." A deeper level of involvement between Slick and several figures in the JFK drama keep cropping up.  

~ excerpt from Loren Coleman's chapter, "Tom Slick - Mystery Man." in Kenn Thomas' Popular Alienation: A Steamshovel Press Reader, 1995 (pp. 305-19). Source "Smith" refers to OSS: The Secret History of America's First Central Intelligence Agency by R. Harris Smith (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972).

In 1954 a disillusioned Meyer was trying to leave the CIA and Operation Mockingbird. In the summer of that year Meyer family's golden retriever was hit by a car on the curve of highway near their house and killed. The dog's death worried Cord. He told colleagues at the CIA he was afraid the same thing might happen to one of his children. 

Meyer continued to try and get out of the CIA by joining a publishing firm. He had made some good contacts in this field during Operation Mockingbird. On 18th December, 1956, Cord's nine-year-old son, Michael, was hit by a car on the curve of highway near their house and killed. It was the same spot where the family's golden retriever had been killed two years earlier. Meyer got the message and he stopped applying for other jobs. This incident also made Mary Pinchot Meyer extremely hostile to the CIA. ~ John Simkin, The Education Forum

Who Was Tom Slick?

SLICK, THOMAS BAKER, JR[b]. (1916-1962). Thomas Baker Slick, Jr., oilman, rancher, philanthropist, and founder of the Southwest Research Institute and the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio, was born at Clarion, Pennsylvania, on May 6, 1916, the son of Thomas Baker and Berenice (Frates) Slick. His father, one of the most famous independent oil operators in the Southwest, was known as "Lucky Tom" and "King of the Wildcatters." When Tom Slick, Sr., died in 1930 at the age of forty-six, he left his children approximately $15 million. Tom, Jr., used his wealth to support activity in a variety of fields, including scientific research, oil drilling, cattle breeding, exploration, and collections of modern art. When Slick was twelve, his family moved from San Antonio to Oklahoma City. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy from 1931 to 1934. In 1938 he earned a premedical degree in biology from Yale University, where he was a Phi Beta Kappa. He later took graduate courses at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During the first part of World War II, he was a "dollar-a-year" man for the War Production Board in Washington and a cargo officer in Chile for the Board of Economic Warfare. He later served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific and Japan.

Slick established a number of research organizations, beginning in 1941 with the Foundation of Applied Research (now the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research; see also Argyle Hotel). He also founded the Institute of Inventive Research (1944; liquidated 1953), designed to develop and promote the ideas of independent inventors; the Southwest Research Institute (1947); the Southwest Agricultural Institute (1957); the Mind Science Foundation (1958), which investigates the human mind; and the Human Progress Foundation (1960), was intended to promote better conditions through science, education, and the advancement of peace. The first three of these-the SFRE, IIR, and SR-became units of the Southwest Research Center, which Slick endowed with 3,800 acres of land and $2 million. Slick helped to develop Brangus cattle, and his herd of registered Anguses was one of the three largest in the country. His oil activities included the discovery in 1947 of the Benedum Field in West Texas, one of the most significant oil finds in the United States after World War II. Slick was co-inventor of the lift-slab method of building construction. He wrote The Last Great Hope (1951) and Permanent Peace: A Check and Balance Plan (1958). He was a collector of modern art and sculpture. As an avid adventurer and world traveler, he spent two weeks with a Waiwai tribe in the jungles of British Guiana in 1956, after his plane made a forced landing during a diamond-hunting trip. He also organized several expeditions to search for the "Abominable Snowmen" in the Himalayan Mountains and led one of the expeditions himself, in 1957. Later his attention shifted to the Pacific Northwest, where there were reports of Bigfoot/Sasquatch, and Giant Salamanders.

Slick was a trustee and governor of the Texas Research Foundation, the Worchester Foundation for Experimental Biology (Massachusetts), the Stanford Research Institute (Palo Alto), Trinity University, and the San Antonio Medical Foundation. He was a member of numerous organizations, including the United World Federalists, the National Planning Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Explorers Club. He also served on the board of directors of a number of companies, including Slick Airways (associated with the CIA) and Dresser Industries (sponsored by Preston Bush and Neil Mallon for membership), and was a founder of the TexStar Corporation. In 1953, he received an honorary doctor of science degree from Trinity University. Slick was married and divorced twice and had four children. He died in a private airplane crash (an air explosion) on October 6, 1962, near Dell, Montana, and was buried in Mission Burial Park, San Antonio.

Sources: Loren Coleman, Tom Slick and the Search for the Yeti (Boston: Faber and Faber, 1989). Loren Coleman. Tom Slick: True Life Encounters in Cryptozoology (Fresno: Craven Street Books, 2002). Robert Lubar, "The Adventures of Tom Slick," Fortune, July 1960. San Antonio Express, October 8, 1962. San Antonio Express-News, December 24, 1989. Harold Vagtborg, The Story of Southwest Research Center (San Antonio: Southwest Research Institute, 1973). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.