The Fight Over a Wealthy Biochemist’s Frozen Head
January 21, 2020 5:51 AM   Subscribe

 
"Fraught" seems superfluous.
posted by Glomar response at 5:54 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I mean, the Daily Beast is understandably not super sympathetic to cryopreservationists, but if there is a will that disinherits heirs who challenge the cryopreservation (which I understand is if not standard practice fairly common practice) then Alcor isn’t wrong to want it enforced. It sucks for the kids, but the thing that sucks in this case is their father was obsessed with not dying and was willing to disinherit them to make it happen.

As I recall, the insurance policy is one that the cryopreservation folks facilitate taking out with the understanding it pays for the fees, so it’s kind of extra off that the son is trying to get it. Accept that your dad was bizarre and move on!
posted by corb at 6:31 AM on January 21


the frozen head of a now-deceased biochemist

Kinda hoping he was deceased before they froze the head
posted by nubs at 6:37 AM on January 21 [5 favorites]


Such a splendid story. It's the little details that push it over the edge from rich-people-doing-rich-people-stuff into something genuinely demented.
They refer to the head as a “cephalon”. I don't care if this is a legal or medical term of art - I want to believe they had a meeting and pulled it from a 1950's pulp SF novel.
They performed a "neuro-separation" after death ie. they cut his head off.
“They chopped his head off, burned his body, put it in a box and sent it to my house,”. Isn't that from a Tom Waits song?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 6:41 AM on January 21 [10 favorites]


Fall, or Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson deals a lot with the whole frozen head thing and some of the issues surrounding it. Also, some of the eccentricity of the people who are into cryogenic preservation.
posted by drivingmenuts at 7:14 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


Man, when they defrost that head, it's going be all "they did WHAT with me" when people tell it the story of where it's been since it got lopped off
posted by AzraelBrown at 8:14 AM on January 21



Fall, or Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson deals a lot with the whole frozen head thing and some of the issues surrounding it. Also, some of the eccentricity of the people who are into cryogenic preservation.


i read this book - it took a hundred years - it only felt like a thousand years - but then i died - and they still hadn't developed brain-uploading
posted by lalochezia at 8:18 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]


They chopped his head off, burned his body, put it in a box and sent it to my house

We had my father cremated last year (all of him, to be clear) and the default option for receiving the remains was to simply have them couriered to us. We could have them dropped off personally by a funeral home employee or we could have gone and picked them up, but either of those options were an extra charge and seemed like an extra inconvenience, as well, at a time when we were running around a lot trying to get other things arranged related to his death.

When the box arrived, it was delivered to my sister-in-law and she brought it down to the in-law suite where my mom (and no longer my Dad) lived and as she handed it to me, I asked her "Do you realize what this is?" "No, what is it?" "It's Dad." "Something for Fred?" "No, it's from the funeral home. It actually is my Dad." And then we both stood there awkwardly looking at the box for what seemed like an eternity because what do you do next?

Being unceremoniously handed your father in a brown cardboard box is a very surreal experience, even if you are expecting it.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:19 AM on January 21 [5 favorites]


Not entirely unceremonious. I’m sure you had to sign for it.
posted by notoriety public at 8:26 AM on January 21 [7 favorites]


I’m sure you had to sign for it.

"I'm not signing for this, this headless human body is clearly damaged"
posted by AzraelBrown at 8:40 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


Not entirely unceremonious. I’m sure you had to sign for it.

My sister-in-law might have had to sign for it, but she just gave it to me.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:47 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


They refer to the head as a “cephalon”.

the head, especially of an arthropod. FWIW.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:55 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Insert Se7en joke here...
posted by Naberius at 11:15 AM on January 21


My first thought is - was his name Bob?
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:30 AM on January 21


For short.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:22 PM on January 21


Alcor has said in court documents that Pilgeram’s body was “medically unable to be preserved” in its entirety because it sat for two days at a medical examiner’s office.

...in the waiting room, waiting for its number to be called?
posted by Omnomnom at 12:46 PM on January 21 [5 favorites]


Reminds me of a story I once heard when I lived in the Caribbean about a multi-billionaire who wanted to develop a way to keep their brain alive so that they could never be declared dead and would therefore never have their wealth subject to any estate taxes for their US assets. It all seemed a little out there...but this person did invest hundreds of millions into their own Neuroscience company to research increasing the longevity of memory and cognitive vitality throughout life. So.....
posted by inflatablekiwi at 12:54 PM on January 21


This story brings to mind the Mistakes Were Made episode of This American Life. It’s an old one, but, uh, well preserved?
posted by ReginaHart at 6:42 PM on January 21


Just put it in Martin Shkreli's cell.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 12:08 AM on January 22


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