There are only two things certain in this world: death and taxes. There’s nothing you can do about taxes (thanks, Uncle Sam!) But thanks to Alcor, dying might just be the beginning of your journey.
The Alcor Life Extension Foundation is the world leader in cryonics – or the science of using ultra-cold temperature to freeze and preserve human bodies. By now, you’ve likely heard of a few famous people freezing their heads to one-day rise again. But does it really work? Read on to learn more about Alcor’s experimental practice.
Cryonics Crazy History
Cryonics might sound like some crazy idea out of a science fiction movie. But it’s actually a very real science.
Here’s the deal:
Cryonics traces its roots back over 50 years. That’s when a dying psychologist named Dr. James Bedford ordered his son to find a way to have him frozen. His son obeyed and turned to Robert F. Nelson, the first president of the Cryonics Society of California.
Nelson froze Bedford in 1967 and, in doing so, became an international celebrity. Over the years, he froze several more patients before eventually going broke. Most of the bodies were left to rot and cryonics was frozen.
The science may have stalled, but the groundwork had been laid. The Alcor Foundation was founded five years later in an effort to reinvent and restore cryonics.
How You Can Get Your Head Frozen
Looking to extend your life? You’re not alone.
Now you can get try your hand at immortality by signing up with Alcor to cryogenically freeze your body.
Members sign up by paying annual dues and a single payout after death. The final payout is usually covered via an insurance policy. After signing some legal documents, you can set up a plan for a field response team to reach you on your deathbed.
This is crazy:
Cryopreservation begins as soon as you are declared legally dead. Alcor has paramedics and surgeons on call throughout the U.S. They rush your body to Alcor headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona. They then store your body in liquid nitrogen in the hopes that you can one day rise again.
Procrastinators beware. Alcor only has 24 hours to freeze you before your body shuts down completely. So you should put in some preparation time before you’re on your deathbed.
Cryogenics fans are in good company. Fellow frozen “cryonauts” include the likes of Austin Powers, Han Solo, and even Fry from Futurama. Okay, those are fictional characters. But there are still some very real figures involved with cryogenics.
Iconic figures like baseball legend Ted Williams, TV writer Dick Clair, and futurist FM-2030 are all preserved. Sadly, Walt Disney never made the final cut.
Adding to Alcor’s buzz is a laundry list of famous fans. Celebrities like Simon Cowell, Larry King, and PayPal founder Peter Thiel have all expressed their desire to be frozen by Alcor.
Are you sold yet? Here’s the catch:
You have to pony up some serious cash to get frozen. Alcor’s rate for a full-body preservation is $200,000. But a head-only freeze comes with a hefty discount of $120,000.
So it’s no wonder that there are only a handful of loyal followers. Alcor, the largest cryonics facility in the U.S., has frozen less than 150 people and has a current membership of roughly 1,000 people.
Does it Work?
There’s no denying the appeal of cryonics. It’s a shot at extending your life, living in the future, and hanging out with celebs. But hold off before signing the dotted line.
Here’s the bottom line:
Alcor admits its not yet possible to revive human brains cryopreserved with present methods. Basically, you have to pray that future technology comes to the rescue.
Currently, the walls of Alcor are lined with frozen heads stored in liquid nitrogen canisters. It’s basically like a weird, futuristic version of the Hall of Faces from Game of Thrones.
The preserved heads and bodies are just waiting for someone to come along with the science to bring them back to life.
That might happen – or it might not. Then again, there’s always the chance they come back as ice zombies.
The future is terrifying.