Inside tanks filled with liquid nitrogen are the bodies and heads of 199 humans who opted to be cryopreserved with the hopes of being revived in the future.
Many of the patients – as Alcor Life Extension Foundation calls them – are people who were terminally ill with cancer, ALS or other diseases with no cure in the present day.
One of the patients is Matheryn Naovaratpong, the youngest person to be cryogenically frozen.
Alcor’s former CEO, Max More, pointed to a picture of the girl as reporters were given a tour of the facility.
‘A little girl from Thailand who had brain cancer. Both her parents were doctors and she had multiple brain surgeries and nothing worked, unfortunately. So they contacted us,’ More explained.
In terms of cost, you’re look at around $200,000 to freeze a body and $80,000 to freeze just a brain. But Alcor have its fair share of lawsuits and controversies in the past, including one involving baseball legend Ted Williams:
In 2002, Alcor drew considerable attention when baseball star Ted Williams was placed in cryonic suspension; although Alcor maintains privacy of its patients if they wish and did not disclose that Williams was at the Scottsdale facility, the situation came to light in court documents that grew out of an extended family dispute over Williams’ wishes for his remains. While Williams’ children Claudia and John Henry contended that Williams wished to be preserved at Alcor, their half-sister and oldest Williams child Bobby-Jo Ferrell contested that her father wished to be cremated. Williams’ attorney produced a note signed by Williams, John Henry, and Claudia saying: “JHW, Claudia and Dad all agree to be put into biostasis after we die. This is what we want, to be able to be together in the future, even if it is only a chance.” John Henry later said, “He was very into science and believed in new technology and human advancement and was a pioneer. Even though things seemed impossible at times, he always knew there was always a chance to catch a fish – only if you had your fly in the water.”
In 2003, Sports Illustrated published allegations by former Alcor COO Larry Johnson that the company had mishandled Williams’ head by drilling holes and accidentally cracking it. Johnson also claimed that some of Williams’ DNA was missing; the article alleges that Williams’ son, John Henry Williams, desired to sell some of his father’s DNA, a charge John Henry denied. Williams’ attorney called the DNA allegations an “absurd proposition” and accused Johnson of trying to grab headlines. Alcor denied the allegations of missing DNA.
John Henry Williams subsequently died of leukemia, and his remains are also stored at Alcor. After John Henry’s death, Ferrell again filed a lawsuit, but representatives of Williams’ estate repeated that he wished to be at Alcor.
In addition to his Williams allegations, Johnson handed over to the police a taped conversation in which he claims Alcor facilities engineer Hugh Hixon stated that an Alcor employee deliberately hastened the imminent 1992 death of a terminally ill AIDS patient, with an injection of Metubine, a paralytic drug. In 2009, Carlos Mondragon, Alcor’s CEO at the time, told ABC News he had been made aware of the allegations at the time of the case, and as a result, had severed Alcor’s ties with the employee who allegedly hastened the patient’s death.
And no, Walt Disney has never been cryonically frozen. I can’t remember if I mentioned that in my last article about cryonics and cryogenics but it bears repeating.