Obituary: Jack Grimm
Monday 19 January 1998
Jack Grimm once described his life "as a continuous search for the unknown". A gambler by instinct and geologist by training, he made his considerable fortune as an oil wildcatter in Texas and Oklahoma and then spent it on quixotic hunts for the Sasquatch in the Pacific Northwest, the Abominable Snowman in Nepal, the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, Noah's Ark in Turkey and the Titanic in the Atlantic.
A flamboyant man by na-ture, he maintained that he had indeed found both the wrecked ship and the ark, a piece of which, he insisted, he carried in his briefcase wherever he went.
Grimm's lifelong questing began early; at the age of 11 he was inspired by his grandfather's tales of treasure to blow up a riverbed near his home-town of Wagoner, Wisconsin, with dynamite from the local hardware store. All he found were a few arrowheads, bullets and an old frying pan but it was enough to confirm his passion. "That was it," he later said. "That was all it took to fire my imagination."
After serving in the Marines in the Second World War, Grimm was inspired by his friend Bunker, the son of the billionaire oil wildcatter H.L. Hunt, to go into the prospecting business. He studied geology and turned down job offers from oil companies to strike out on his own. He was lucky the first well he drilled in Oklahoma struck oil. But after he moved to Texas the subsequent 25 were dry and Grimm, who spent so much time on the telephone that he once said he planned to have a telephone in his coffin, was broke. But, with one last try, oil flowed again.
In the 1970s, Grimm turned to other searches. He signed on for three expeditions to Turkey to look for Noah's Ark. By scholarly reckoning he failed, but he nevertheless returned to the United States with a piece of carved oak dug from the mountainside of Mount Ararat that was enough to convince him he had succeeded. "This is the ark; that's my story, and I'm going to stick to it," he declared.
Grimm was inspired to go after other treasures and with his tenacity and capacity for showmanship found rich backers for his various projects. In 1979 he launched an effort to find the Titanic, a search detailed in his book Beyond Reach: the search for the Titanic (1982). Though the expedition contributed information that would help the ultimate discovery of the wreck in 1985, a grainy photograph of an anchor taken by Grimm's team was inconclusive. Again, Grimm claimed otherwise.
In later years, the adventurer's exploits were curtailed by a downturn in the oil business and in the Texas economy.
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 4 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who ran away after argument with her parents
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Sepp Blatter resigns: FBI are investigating outgoing Fifa president, claims report
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Charles Kennedy dead: A guy once asked the Lib Dem leader who his favourite Muppet was and his letter response was wonderful
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has over 40 years ...
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer is curr...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A market leading acquirer and m...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fully qualified electricians re...