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Hunt for yeti part of Oklahoma oilman's legacy



Oklahoma oilman Tom Slick Jr. used his family fortune hunting the Loch Ness monster, bigfoot, yeti and so on throughout the Fifties.

As Loren Coleman underscored in his 1989 book, "Tom Slick and the Search for the Yeti," the man was determined to solve all the riddles that seemed to have no answers.

Sightings of something unusual in Tibet had been increasing with attempts to scale Mount Everest. In 1925, N.A. Tombazi with the Royal Geographical Society claimed to have seen a creature at the 15,000-foot level.

Then, in 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary reported finding large, manlike footprints while scaling Everest.

By 1957, Slick was ready to go into Tibet for his own hunt. He came back in 1959 with what he was calling yeti feces or droppings. An analysis of the droppings disclosed a yet-unknown parasite.

Slick emphasized to reporters that it was unknown because the creature the parasite came from was unknown.

But what really had frustrated Slick was that the monks of the Pangboche monastery would not allow them to take samples of the yeti hand on display.

After Communist China finished its invasion of Tibet, the border was closed to any further Slick expeditions. Nevertheless, Slick was not finished. He began financing expeditions into the Pacific Northwest looking for bigfoot from the air in his plane.

By then, having married twice, he had a reputation as something of a playboy, but he maintained his athletic figure at age 46. He had four children when he took off in his Bonanza aircraft on Oct. 6, 1962, and was near Dell, Mont., when the plane suddenly exploded. Slick died instantly. "Mike Coppock

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