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Estes Park Archives Program On “Joe Halpern-The Invisible Man”

History-Joseph-Laurence-HalpernIn August 1933, a brilliant 22-year-old astronomy graduate student named Joe Halpern, his parents, and a college classmate came to Estes Park to camp and hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. On the morning of August 15, Joe and his friend (identified in the Estes Park Trail newspaper accounts as “J. H. Garrich”, but more likely Samuel Garrick) packed lunches, parked in the Bear Lake parking lot, and took the Flattop Mountain Trail to Tyndall Glacier. Garrick returned to Glacier Basin campground that afternoon, claiming Halpern had decided to climb a neighboring peak on his own.

That was the last anyone ever saw or heard of Joseph Laurence Halpern. Despite a massive manhunt involving up to 150 park rangers and volunteers over the next 10 days, no body or material evidence was located, no handwriting match was found on neighboring summit registers, and no witness to, or confession of, a possible fatal accident or foul play emerged.

Did Joe Halpern die somewhere in the vastness of the Rockies, or did he merely slip away, alter his identity, and start a whole a new life? In light of the current fruitless search for an entire airplane, is it possible for people to disappear, wipe every mote of their existence off the face of the earth?

The Estes Park Archives will provide the latest updates on a fascinating “thawed” cold case this Saturday at their weekly 1:00 p.m. meeting. The public is invited to a 50-minute illustrated lecture “Joe Halpern – The Invisible Man” in the George Hix room of the U. S. Bank building on 363 East Elkhorn Avenue, just west of The Egg & I restaurant. Admission is free, advance registration is not required, and refreshments will be served. Call 970-232-4145 for more information.

Above, 0ne of the last known photographs of Joe Halpern, and a missing poster distributed shortly after his August 1933 disappearance from Rocky Mountain National Park.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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