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CryoCare Report #8

Online Edition, July 1996


Converted to HTML, January 1997

Note: there may be some small differences between this text and the text that appears in our actual newsletter, because of edits that were subsequently made. The text is substantially the same. If in doubt, please refer to the hardcopy version of CryoCare Report as the definitive one.


The Strange Case of Timothy Leary

by Charles Platt

When Timothy Leary joined CryoCare in November, 1994 he made it clear that he wanted to be more than "just another member." For a while (until we explained the legal and practical problems) he wore two emergency bracelets, one from CryoCare and one from Alcor, in the sincere belief that this would encourage the organizations to forget their differences and unite. Leary often promoted the concept of cryonics during public appearances and made no secret of his personal intention to be frozen after legal death. In fact, after he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, he signed documents enabling CryoCare to sell the story of his cryopreservation to the media to help compensate for his lack of funding. Meanwhile he turned his impending death into an event that he promoted with his usual iconoclastic zeal.

Bearing in mind these exceptional circumstances we feel it is fair and reasonable to describe the case of Timothy Leary with greater candor than we would allow ourselves in the case of any other CryoCare member. At the same time, we have still chosen to omit many details of his medical history which we believe should remain confidential even though Leary himself seemed to have little interest in privacy.

Monday, April 1st.

I saw many homes like this back in 1969 and 1970 when rents were still cheap in the canyons overlooking LA, hippies were still young, hedonism was a career option, and work was a dirty word. If you had a foam mattress, a stereo, an old Volkswagen, and some faded jeans--what else could you possibly want? Hang out, listen to music, have sex, read underground comix, get stoned or drop some acid--the future was an irrelevant abstraction compared with the Joy of Now. But that was then.

Psychedelic art hangs on white walls. A giant hookah stands in front of old couches draped with Indian-print fabric. If you walk across the cream shag carpet, through a utilitarian kitchen, you reach an office that smells like a museum. There are home-made book shelves and boxes of old documents. Taped to the wall behind a sixties-style desk is a list of aphorisms by Marshall McLuhan. Some have been circled in magic marker, but the marker ink has faded, the white walls are going gray, the carpet is dusty, and Timothy Leary doesn't use this office anymore.

Aged 75, he sits in a wheelchair in a dining alcove just off the living room. He is frighteningly thin; his arms are skeletal. He reaches for a giant cup of coffee and lifts it with both hands. His head bends toward the cup, meeting it half way. His hands are shaking.

Leary was diagnosed with prostate cancer nine months ago. Since then he's been starving himself to the point where two doctors have predicted that he'll die of malnutrition within the next ten days. No one can determine precisely why he won't eat, take vitamins, or use drugs that could buy him extra life.

His cancer has now metastased into the bones of his hips, causing severe pain. He wears a Fentanyl patch that feeds narcotics constantly into his body, and he takes about 30 Dilaudid (a powerful opiate) each week. His condition would be enough to put any normal person into a darkened room, refusing most visitors, but Leary has never been a normal person. Last night was Sunday night, and Sunday night is party night here at Learyland.

Today, at 2 PM, Leary has just dragged himself out of bed. He notices me standing nearby, and he glowers at me. We've never met--but he can't be sure of that. His short-term memory has gone, partly because of long-term drug use, according to two of his physicians.

I introduce myself as someone who writes for magazines and is also vice-president of CryoCare. "CryoCare," he says, no longer glowering at me. "You're the ones who are going to take care of me. Sit down."

I sit. I glance again at his terribly thin arms. He quickly slides them under the table. Even in his wasted condition, he still has his vanity.

He still has his admirers, too. The house is full of them. A punkish young woman named Trudy is playing pool in the living room. Her bare legs are covered with tattoos, and she's wearing a tight, faded T-shirt that says "I am an alcoholic. In case of accident, get me a beer." The T-shirt reveals her naked waist above a shortskirt covered in big red hearts. Trudy is employed by Leary to manage his busy, busy schedule of visitors, interviews, and photo shoots.

A tall, thin man with black jeans, a black shirt, and bleached white hair wanders through the living room, saying nothing. An older woman--an ex-wife, I think--comes in from the kitchen and offers Leary a milk shake. He waves it aside.

He turns back to me. "See those candles?" They're scattered around the dining table. "Line them up at the end. Let's get something achieved, here."

I stare at him in surprise. He stares right back, fiercely. I've come here to check his health and plan his cryopreservation, but he wants me to clean the table.

All right, I'm willing to oblige him--but it doesn't stop there. "What's this?" He nods to an unopened, shrink-wrapped CD.

"Seems to be Yoko Ono's new album," I tell him.

"Good," says Leary. "We'll listen to it later. Put it here." He voice sounds weak but he has the manner of a monarch. "Now, what's this?"

Trudy wanders over. "That's a tape by The Grateful Dead." She takes it from him. She's happy to clean things up, happy to do whatever he wants. Her face shows a simple devotion, and maybe this explains why Leary has been allowed to lose forty percent of his normal body weight while being surrounded by people who adore him. Their reverence is uncritical. His judgment is unquestioned. If he doesn't want to eat, most of them probably don't hassle him about it. If he wants to celebrate his death with "the mother of all parties" (which is what a home-made sign says on the outside of the front door), that's cool, too. If he wants to have his death videotaped, they'll have the camcorder ready.

So far as I'm concerned, they can put pictures online or sell their tape to America's Favorite Home Videos. All I'm concerned about is getting Timothy Leary safely and successfully frozen.

This may not be easy, mainly because cryonics requires scrupulous coordination and planning. A portable ice bath was placed in the house a few weeks ago as a first step toward establishing standby facilities, at which point the Learyites promptly draped it with purple cloth and dumped in it some useful items for the death trip: a picnic hamper full of wine bottles, the Abbey Road Beatles album, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and a lot of hippie memorabilia.

Maybe the ice bath was a bit--ominous. Maybe it clashed with the goodtime party vibes. But sooner or later, reality will have to intrude, here. A team of white-coated medical personnel is going to move Leary's body into that ice bath, where a machine will start pounding his chest to maintain respiration and blood circulation. He'll be injected with a cocktail of drugs, and someone with a scalpel will do a femoral cutdown to drain his blood and replace it with an organ preservation solution. All of this will happen right in his bedoom, which will look like a wartime field hospital.

I'm wondering how his followers will react to this. Some may be horrified. Others may call the media. A few may call their friends. I can hear them now: "Hey, dude, check it out, Tim's getting frozen, man! There's picnic chests full of ice and buckets of blood, you won't believe it, man, you gotta get over here right away!"

Yes, there's a good chance that the house will be jam-packed with journalists and curiosity seekers, creating a heightened risk of accidents--and law suits. Suppose a camera operator from "A Current Affair" leans a little too close and gets a face full of blood, and suppose Leary has a blood-borne infection--

But let's be optimistic and assume the initial cryonics procedures are successfully completed. Now Timothy Leary has to be moved outside to a the specially equipped ambulance that will take him to the lab near San Bernardino.

He lives on a narrow dead-end street. Half-a-dozen carelessly parked cars could totally block it. The ambulance could be stuck amid a mob of news teams, neighbors, fans whooping and honking their horns . . . and Beverly Hills cops, whose reactions are hard to imagine.

Even after we finally get Leary's head "in the can" (as some cryonicists like to say), the fun won't necessarily be over. I imagine an unholy alliance of dopers, bikers, disciples of eastern gurus, and deadbeats from Hollywood Boulevard hatching a plot to steal the head so they can try to make telepathic contact with it or use it in satanic rituals.

Paranoid? Yes, but it's my job to be paranoid, anticipating potential disasters so that we can avoid them. I'd like some help in this, but as I watch Leary ordering his acolytes around, I realize a very basic truth, here: he doesn't help people, people help him. If his lifestyle inconveniences CryoCare, that's not his problem, it's my problem, and I'll just have to deal with it.

There is one person, though, who shows some concern. Her name is Vicki Marshall. Unlike the Learyites who live at the house, Vicki has an air of detachment. A long-time friend and collaborator, she was asked by Leary to work for him part-time shortly before he terminal condition became public knowledge. She describes herself as the administrative coordinator of his affairs and pronounces herself unimpressed by "the myriad of myth-taken souls I've seen drifting in and out of his orbit."

She first met him in 1988, five years after she'd quit a job at a law firm. With her long-time companion Ron, she co-owns a small company called Knoware that provides Mac consultancy services and has also desktop-published some Leary texts.

Vicki has long curly brown hair and looks deceptively young as she sits cross-legged on the carpet with the unselfconscious simplicity of a sixties love-child. Actually she's at least fifteen years older than the Learyites who live here full-time. She takes copious notes as I describe my concerns, and she promises to call or page me if there's any change in Leary's health.

That's the most I can hope for, I guess. Basically I will stay in the Los Angeles area waiting until I am called. I'm on the West Coast for as long as it takes.

Wednesday, April 3rd.

Browsing through The National Enquirer on the checkout line at a local supermarket, I read an item that gives me a slow sinking feeling. "Notorious drug guru Timothy Leary is planning to commit suicide," it says, "and millions will be able to witness his death on their computers." The act will be captured on video and stored on Leary's web page, presumably as a QuickTime sequence.

Suicide always rouses suspicions. If someone takes an overdose, who provided the pills? If someone dies of a gunshot wound, who really pulled the trigger? Authorities routinely seize the body and perform an autopsy to settle questions like these. Usually the coroner opens the skull, takes out the brain, and cuts it into pieces--which is not a happy fate for anyone hoping to take a trip to the future via cryopreservation.

Mike Darwin, who will lead the cryopreservation team planning to freeze Timothy Leary, has warned Leary repeatedly about the risk of autopsy. Mike has also arranged free medical advice, examinations, and medication during the past six months, and Leary admires him: "He's an ornery son of a bitch. He thinks he knows it all. The trouble is, he really does know it all."

But does this mean Leary will follow Mike's advice? Of course not. Leary seldom follows anyone's advice.

He first started talking about suicide in the fall of 1995, and the threat of brain dissection has not deterred him since. "It's even more important to me to make a powerful statement about death than it is to have myself frozen," he says.

Well, okay, but it's not that simple anymore, because recent evaluations suggest that Leary's mental state has been deteriorating, so that he may not be competent to make life-and-death decisions now--in which which case, if someone assists his suicide, the law will regard this as homicide.

So here's a new nightmare scenario for me to worry about. Timothy Leary dies, a doctor is called to pronounce legal death, and he finds a house full of acolytes excitedly replaying the suicide video that they just taped, perhaps in the hope of selling it to the media. There's also a bunch of cryonicists eager to freeze his head, for which they will be paid as beneficiaries of Leary's life insurance. Everyone on the scene (including me) has an obvious motive for helping Leary to kill himself.

What does the doctor do? If he has any sense at all, he calls the police.

In reality CryoCare will not profit from this case, because Leary is underfunded: $20,000 short of our usual $58,500 fee for cryopreservation services and indefinite storage in liquid nitrogen. The shortfall has been covered by donations, but still almost everyone on the case will be unpaid.

Will the tabloids take this into account? Of course not! They'll slyly imply that we snuffed "the notorious drug guru" to get our hands on his nonexistent fortune; and if they make enough fuss about it, a prosecutor may feel compelled to act. The Leary home will be classified as a crime scene, all our equipment will be impounded, and my friends and I will be held for questioning.

Paranoid? Yes, but with good reason. In 1987, in Riverside, California, police raided the Alcor Foundation when a local coroner decided that a woman had died under suspicious circumstances. Ultimately all charges were dropped, but only after a hideously expensive legal battle.

In that case, the woman had no name recognition. In the case of Timothy Leary, his fame raises the stakes to a point where I can't predict or even imagine the consequences.

Friday, April 5th.

It's one of those soft, perfect California evenings: crickets are singing, the air is a warm caress, and palms and eucalyptus trees are silhouetted against a rich orange sunset that only smog can provide.

Music is coming from Leary's house. The front door, as always, is open. Leary is sitting on the side of his bed, smoking a cigarette and taking occasional hits from balloon filled from a five-foot tank of nitrous oxide. Guests are clustering around. Everyone is strangely shy and deferential. It's like an audience with a pagan Pope.

Leary is in a lively mood, fielding questions with snappy one-liners, but when I ask him what he hopes to find if he wakes up in the twenty-second century he stops short and is silent. "I'll settle for anything," he says finally, "just as long as it isn't another interview." He winks at me.

He's much happier talking about the past. Someone asks who invented hash brownies. This gets Leary reminiscing about Tangiers when William Burroughs was there . . . and poet Brion Gysin . . . and Allen Ginsberg.

While the talk flows, I notice on the opposite wall a huge blowup of a newspaper photo showing John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their hairest phase, in bed in a Toronto hotel room recording "Give Peace a Chance" in 1969. Leary is in the foreground, sitting on the floor with some other guests, singing his heart out. It's an amazing picture, perfectly capturing the delights of those times: the pop anthems, irreverence, and spurious sense of destiny. Yet the picture has a melancholy message, because the scene tonight in Leary's bedroom is such a weak, remote echo of it.

Outside, a full moon hangs low over Beverly Hills. Guests stand on Leary's lawn sipping wine in the shadow of a huge palm tree. I talk to a man named David Prince who says he's writing a book on death and dying in collaboration with Leary. "It's been fun," he says, "because Tim is living it. And he's kicking it, all the way through to the end."

Fun, watching Timothy Leary suffer intense pain while he slowly kills himself with malnutrition?

I try a different conversation with a man of 27 named Matthew Brenner who created a stage show for Leary titled "A Trance-Formation Session," subtitled "How to operate your brain using light and sound," at UC Santa Cruz in 1993. Brenner frankly admits he was a sixties wannabe. "I used to lament the fact that I was born between the Summer of Love and the Fall of Woodstock," he says.

And why is he a Leary fan?

"What swirls around Tim is the ultimate cultural meltdown. It's a reflection of Tim's open heartedness that he pulls people toward him from all walks of life, and they all manage to rub shoulders quite comfortably."

But why are they all so young? Most of the guests are in their twenties. In this respect nothing has changed, because ever since the words "Turn on, tune in, drop out" jumped into his head in 1966, Leary has attracted young admirers.

One reason may be that he provides solace for misfits fresh out of college. According to the Leary worldview, they don't have to worry about building a career, they don't need that new BMW, they don't even need to bathe regularly or tie their shoes. They can just immerse hemselves in the Joy of Now, just like their mentor.

This is misleading, though, because they don't have Leary's immense charm, and they don't have the astonishing willpower that has enabled him to defy authoritarian institutions all the way from West Point to the Federal Government. If they try to surf the ocean of life in his outrageous style, they're liable to be wiped out by the first wave.

The difference between Leary and his acolytes is as big as the difference between a king and his subjects. I'm not surprised that he hasn't bothered to think about the threat of autopsy or his fate in a distant future. He naturally assumes that the future will conform to his needs, because it always has. After all, he is Timothy Leary.

Saturday, April 6th.

I call Mike Darwin and describe the party scene. For more than four hours Leary was lively, talkative, moving from room to room, trading quips and greeting old friends. How can this man have only a few days left to live?

"His performance shows a staggering demonstration of will," says Mike. "The opiates he is using would kill you or me. That's a measure of the amount of pain he's in."

Still, he seemed so full of life. Why should he die?

"He's so weak from starving himself, he cannot walk. He cannot weigh more than 100 pounds right now, compared with 170 pounds normal weight. When humans get down to 60 percent of their normal lean body weight, they usually die."

I learn the basics of malnutrition. An emaciated patient typically stops taking deep breaths, builds up secretions, and develops atalectasis (microscopic collapses of portions of the lung). Pneumonia then results from diminished lung capacity and can cause death within a couple of days.

So far, Leary has defied expectations by not following that route. Beyond a certain point, though, a malnourished person starts burning his own organs as fuel--including the heart muscle and respiratory muscles. The result can be a heart attack, or the patient can stop breathing, which initiates a different cascade of malfunctions leading to heart failure.

The strange thing is that in Leary's case, none of this needs to happen. Steve Harris, MD is a board certified internist and geron-tologist who serves as a consultant to BioPreservation and has examined Leary several times. Harris believes that if Leary would eat proper meals and allow a simple series of hormone injections, he could prolong his life with less pain and no side effects.

"The average duration of response to hormonal treatment of prostatic cancer is around two years," says Harris, "and during this time, the response is magical. I have mentioned this to everyone I can find in the Leary household. No effect. Moral questions aside, this is very bad medicine."

True, but the people in the house are merely emulating Leary's own indifference to his physical state.

Mike Darwin finds this inexcusable. "He is surrounded by people who are largely parasitic, taking his money, receiving food, lodging, and drugs. Meanwhile they are not capable of seeing that he is nourished adequately, gets simple vitamin supplements, makes it to a CT scan on time--he missed every appointment that I made for him. They couldn't even get him to an imaging center eleven minutes from where he lives.

"It reached a breaking point with me when I found the man's health had been disgracefully neglected. They do not understand what diminished capacity is. Tim needs people to look out for him, and if they don't, they're de-facto responsible for what happens to him.

"As for those people maintaining the web site--what kind of total psychopath could sit there with someone in agonizing pain and cheerfully call me over to watch image after image of him wasting away and dying, and be proud of it, like they're achieving some kind of philosophical statement?"

Wednesday, April 17th.

Chris Graves runs Leary's web site in collaboration with his brother and another partner in a small video production company. Graves is pale-faced and sharp-featured, very tall and thin, with long blond hair. He'll tape the suicide (if this happens), and he has a significant role as an adviser and confidant to Leary. He's made it clear that he doesn't welcome my presence in the house, perhaps because he'd hoped to write about Leary for Wired magazine, while I was the one who actually ended up with that assignment.

I feel uneasy about Graves because he seems evasive, and I can't figure out what his motives are. Does he genuinely want the best for Timothy Leary, or is he more interested in the prospect of promoting a "death video" that could bring instant notoriety to his production company? If cryonics conflicts with his desire to do the video, will he try to arrange things so that we aren't called in time?

Mike shares my concerns. He telephones Graves to say that he's really unhappy about the idea of allowing photographs during the initial stages of cryopreservation. In fact, Mike wants an assurance that there will be no pictures of any kind, taken by anyone, when the procedures begin.

Surprisingly, Graves doesn't object. He says he has no problem with that.

But surely he still plans to make his video? And isn't it true that there are plans for a Los Angeles Times photographer to be present?

"I don't know anything about that," says Graves.

"So how's Tim doing?" Mike asks.

"Oh, he's doing fine. He's up and around, he's walking. No problem."

This cannot be true. Leary definitely cannot walk without assistance.

"We won't need you guys for a long while yet," Graves finishes up.

None of this makes much sense--unless Graves is just saying anything that will encourage us to stay away, so that he can maintain his controlling role at the house and make his video without interference.

I am now more concerned than ever that when Timothy Leary starts dying, Chris Graves may try to prevent us from hearing about it.

Thursday, April 18th.

Vicki remains my one reliable source of information from the Leary house. She mentions that he set fire to his bedroom with a cigarette two nights ago, and the place was full of smoke. Meanwhile Leary's suicide plan has somehow started propagating itself around the net. Who put it there-the same person who sold it to The National Enquirer? Someone who wants to draw attention to the web site?

Friday, April 19th.

Carlotta Pengelley, a nurse who works part-time for CryoCare, visits Leary and reports that the Learyites are not allowing him to talk to the press and are telling journalists that he's up and around and fine. Inevitably I wonder if they're trying to conceal his condition so that they can claim he is mentally competent if they need to assist his suicide. I don't think they're as devious as this; yet it's conceivable, and there's no way to find out for sure.

All I know is that we still have an obligation to honor the contract that Timothy Leary signed in November, 1994, asking us to cryopreserve him under any conceivable circumstances. That's what I came here to do, and supposedly, that's what he still wants.

Monday, April 22nd.

I fax a letter to Leary's primary care physician, Victor Kovner, warning that assisted suicide of a patient who is borderline competent could have ominous legal consequences, not just for us but for him, too, if his hospice staff turn out to have been negligent in protecting Leary. I mention that he set his bedroom on fire and has also inflicted a nasty wound on his forehead that wasn't even noticed by the Learyites for at least a day. I suggest that Kovner should exercise his power to order 24-hour nursing care, which would be paid for by Leary's health insurance.

Kovner calls me from his car phone. He says he shares my concerns, but Leary is a very difficult patient who has rejected 24-hour nursing care.

Meanwhile, from several different sources I learn that some friends took Leary to a party at a house in Malibu over the weekend. Leary's Fentanyl patch was almost exhausted, but they didn't take along any pain medication. They didn't bring a change of underwear. They didn't bring a toothbrush. Their choice of vehicle was a "hummer," an HMMV military vehicle best known for its absence of shock absorbers.

So here is Timothy Leary, aged 75, suffering terminal prostate cancer that has metastased into the hip bones, also malnourished to the point that he cannot stand, heading out to party, party, party in a vehicle that would punish the buttocks of a healthy man.

Today, another doctor visits Learyland. He is David Crippen, a world expert on intensive care medicine who has been following Leary's case for the past six months. Crippen arrives for his scheduled appointment and is told to wait. Finally Leary gets back from his Malibu trip--at which point, Crippen is hustled outside, so that he cannot view Leary's condition.

Crippen decides to leave--but is called back. Finally he's allowed into the bedroom, where he finds Leary concealed from neck to ankles with a blanket and guarded by Chris Graves. Crippen is not allowed to perform an examination. Leary is rambling incoherently and suffering opiate withdrawal.

Crippen calls Kovner and demands 24-hour nursing. Kovner gives him the same answer he gave me.

Meanwhile, today's Time magazine contains a lyrical, feelgood feature on the Leary house, claiming once again that he plans to make a positive statement about death by killing himself.

Tuesday, April 23rd.

This evening I meet Dr. Crippen in person. He's a tall, muscular man with a formal, stern, commanding presence. A one-time medic in Vietnam, he has been waging an activist campaign to humanize the treatment of patients in intensive care. He edits a medical journal and runs an online mail list on intensive care medicine.

Crippen is scathing when it comes to the scene at Learyland. "The idiots, the zombies who are walking around there are right out of a very strange William Burroughs novel. Did you see the babe with the purple hair? Whoa! She's a wacko of the first order. And the tall thin guy with the earring, he's a lunatic. You could see the psychosis floating around in his eyes, they were doing concentric circular motions. These guys are really scary."

Mike Darwin suggests a plan. Suppose we park a camper outside Learyland and staff it with volunteers on a shift basis. That way, at least we'll be able to respond quickly if anything happens. Fatalistically, I offer to be one of the people staffing the camper.

Friday, April 26th.

Back in 1988 a woman named Arel Lucas helped Leary with secretarial tasks. She remembers that for no special reason, he and his friends started speculating about his death. He was still healthy and active, then, so this was just another mind game. Should he have his ashes scattered in the Ganges? Should he be stuffed into a rocket and sent to Alpha Centauri? Should he have himself frozen?

Arel and her husband, Keith Henson, both belonged to the Alcor Foundation. They convinced Leary to sign with Alcor. He filled out some forms and named Alcor as the new beneficiary of his life insurance, and that was it. He had "solved" the death problem in his usual style of playful irreverence while simultaneously acquiring another cutting-edge concept to add to his visionary repertoire.

(Subsequently, Leary switched from Alcor to CryoCare.)

Arel Lucas now lives in northern California, but she remains fond of Leary and is still active in cryonics. Mike asks her if she's willing to drive down and help us interact with the Learyites, and she agrees. She may even be willing to reside outside for a while in the camper, assuming we can park it in Leary's upscale neighborhood without getting ticketed or towed.

Meanwhile I receive e-mail from Dr. Crippen, who is about to leave the country on a trip lasting several weeks. He writes:

My sincerest wishes for a smooth and effective field mission. I would exhort you all to be careful out there. The political situation surrounding the Leary household is a saga of greed, corruption and failure that makes Nixon look like an amateur and Charles Manson a punk. The thought of Mike Darwin dressed in tiger stripes, black faced, lurking about between search lights wielding a can of liquid nitrogen is almost good enough to cut short my trip and fly back there just to see it.

When I walked point on LRRPs in Vietnam in 1968, just before penetrance, the Captain would give us the thumbs up sign and say: good hunting. So I say as well: "GOOD HUNTING", and Mike, if you're busted, never admit anything except where you were born. :-)

Monday, April 29th.

Four weeks after I came to Los Angeles expecting Timothy Leary's imminent death, Arel Lucas visits his house and reports, "I must admit, I had a great time."

Leary defies all medical predictions. I don't understand where his stamina comes from. Apparently he was in a great mood all afternoon, moving from room to room in his electric wheel chair and ordering people around. Also I understand from another source that he spent a couple of hours autographing acid blotters. He kept forgetting what he was doing, but someone kept putting new blotters in front of him and reminding him to sign them. The blotters are perforated for subdivision into 100 doses, but that's not what they're going to be used for. A company named Art-Rock in Northern California is going to sell them as art objects.

Arel thinks we're being unduly paranoid in our fears about assisted suicide. Even if Leary asks for it, his attention span is so short, he'll be thinking about something else by the time the preparations are ready. He doesn't remember to eat, sleep, or change his pain patch, and no one reminds him. "He needs a Mom," she says.

I ask her why no one seems willing to take that responsibility. "People around him are not neglecting him out of malice. His household is chaotic, but he wants it that way."

I mention that according to Crippen, if Leary dies naturally there's an 80 percent chance it will happen while he's asleep--when he will be unobserved, because he refuses 24-hour nursing. This means that his brain will have deteriorated by the time we get to him. There's an obvious way around this: he could wear a pulse oximeter, a little band around his finger that painlessly monitors blood levels of oxygen and gives immediate warning if the patient stops breathing.

"It may be possible," Arel says, "but if he wakes up in the night and finds it on him, he won't remember what it is and will probably just rip it off, and he'll be angry with anyone who wants to put it back on him."

I find myself feeling increasingly exasperated. Cryonics requires cooperation from everyone in a home-hospice situation; the Learyites have no interest in cooperating. Cryonics requires careful planning; Leary hates to make plans. Cryonics entails small sacrifices in the hope of a payback tomorrow; Leary wants immediate gratification.

Thursday, May 2nd.

AFter three visits to Learyland on three consecutive days, Arel Lucas decides to head back to northern California. I'm dismayed by her departure. Our nurse, Carlotta, has also quit, because she would have to report to the authorities the poor standard of patient care if she witnessed it first-hand.

Since there's no one, now, reporting reliably on Leary's condition, I call and ask to visit him myself. Trudy cheerfully sets up a time--but then Chris Graves comes on the line and countermands her. He makes it clear that cryonics personnel are not generally welcome anymore.

Friday, May 3rd.

Mike Darwin decides to retrieve the standby equipment so that it will be safe from "misuse, disorganization, or removal of medico-legally sensitive items by visitors to the household." (There are syringes, needles, and drugs in the kit.) Mike is concerned by the legal consequences of assisted suicide and worried by the new embargo on visits by cryonics staff; he feels that neither he nor CryoCare should be legally associated with anything bad that happens at the house. The situation is unprecedented; it's the only case that either of us can remember where a cryonics patient seems totally uninterested in his own health or his impending cryopreservation, and has surrounded himself with people who don't monitor his condition, don't want us to make routine visits, and are unlikely to call us in an emergency.

Mike calls and says he needs the standby kit for another case. Then he takes the ambulance into Los Angeles.

We park on Leary's street just before sunset. It's another soft and gentle California evening. Music is coming from the house. We hear voices and laughter.

The front door is open as always, and inside it's the usual laid-back scene: misfits in their twenties plus a few celebrities and journalists. John Perry Barlow, former lyricist for The Grateful Dead, is here. A reporter from The Los Angeles Times is here. People greet us with mild indifference. Then Leary wheels into the living room, and he seems delighted to see us. "Heroes!" he cries. "Heroes!"

Vicki has already cleared the hippie paraphernalia out of the ice bath, so we start hauling the equipment away. "Good," says Leary, nodding to himself. "There's a lot more space now that it's gone."

Vicki seems concerned and asks why we're taking it, but no one else shows any interest at all. No one follows us outside. We're just not relevant to the scene at the house.

A short while later the ambulance is fully loaded and we're ready to go. "I have to tell him why we're doing this," Mike says. So we go back inside the house, where we find Leary in his bedroom. All the guests come in and gather around as Mike places his hands on Leary's shoulders and stares at him squarely. "I want you to know," he says, "I'm taking the equipment away because we can no longer offer good care under the circumstances here. I've done everything I can, but I'll still be available if you choose to call us."

Mike says he'll come and wait close by in any situation where his help is needed. And he adds that if Leary wants to deal with a different cryonics organization (such as Alcor), Mike will facilitate a smooth transition. It's really up to Leary to decide what he wants to do.

He seems moved by this speech. "I deeply appreciate your sincerity," he says. "I think it's wonderful." And then, strangely, he starts applauding.

Chris Graves, sitting cross-legged on the floor, joins in. For a moment it seems as if everyone in the room is going to give us a round of applause for removing the equipment that was supposed to help Leary in his mission to cheat death.

Hours later, I'm still trying to understand the mood of complacency at Learyland. I'm reminded of Kafka's Metamorphosis, the surreal story of a man whose family refuses to notice when he turns into a giant cockroach. Timothy Leary has undergone a transformation that I find horrifying, from a hearty, vigorous man to a skeletal figure who is slowly killing himself. Some of the people around him have tried to encourage him to eat, yet no one seems very concerned by his adamant insistence on starving himself. They just hang out and have a good time--because he wants it that way.

Sunday, May 5th.

Although we removed the standby equipment, we're still under contract to freeze Timothy Leary, and we still have every intention of doing so. I send a fax emphasizing this, and I remind the Learyites to call us if his health deteriorates.

In the meantime, I have consulted Alcor to see if they have any interest in this case. I don't believe that any other standby team can do better a better job than we have done, coping with the situation at Learyland; and I am still highly motivated to freeze this man because I believe Mike has the best team and the best protocol to provide an optimum cryopreservation. But if the Learyites can't be trusted to call us in time, and if someone else can establish a better working relationship with them, CryoCare has an ethical obligation to step aside for the good of the patient--assuming, of course, Timothy Leary agrees.

By Sunday night, the situation remains unresolved. As always I put my pager beside the bed before I go to sleep. For five weeks, now, I've been waiting and worrying and trying to cope with this impossible situation. My life revolves around Timothy Leary's death. I never go anywhere out of pager range. My work obligations in New York have all been put on hold. I have no idea what I'll be doing tomorrow, the next day, or next week.

Monday, May 6th.

At 4 PM Pacific time, Leary telephones me. His voice is distinctive; there's no possible doubt that it's him. He says he's decided that he doesn't want to be frozen, anytime, by anyone.

"Are you sure?" I ask him, feeling slightly stunned.

"Yes, yes, I've made up my mind."

I ask if he would like to contact a different cryonics organization.

"No," he insists, "I'm no longer interested in cryonics, I have other plans."

He adds that there should be no hard feelings. "Come by the house next week, and we'll go on from there."

Thursday, May 10th.

I visit Leary briefly at his house and ask him what his plans are now that he's abandoned cryonics.

"I'm thinking I may have a death party," he says cheerfully, "some time during the year 1999."

In fact, I now believe that Timothy Leary doesn't have a clue about how he's going to deal with his own death. Despite all his public pronouncements, I don't believe, anymore, he has ever taken it seriously. I think that cryonics served his purposes for a while, as an embellishment in his colorful repertoire of eccentric ideas, but when cryonics started looking serious, personal, and real, it clashed with his feelgood lifestyle.

As for the suicide option--I don't believe he took that seriously, either. Vicki recalls him criticizing Kevorkian's antics on TV, complaining that the man should smile more--which is exactly the same media advice that Leary received himself from Marshall McLuhan, back in 1966. Leary has often admitted that he's a media whore. Was he jealous of Kevorkian's exposure? Was all his talk about suicide just a stunt to capitalize on a national news story?

"I think he's terrified of dying," Vicki says later in a final phone call. "Just as you come into life alone, you go out alone--and this is a guy that needs the adoration of everyone around him."

She concludes: "He set out to challenge social taboos and cultural denial concerning death. In the process, he encountered his own. He used his celebrity status to manipulate the media. It ended up manipulating him. I don't think he cares anymore about what's going on around him. He's grown tired and bored. I think he sees death as the next philosophical adventure. I don't believe the reality has hit him that he's not going to read the reviews of his final performance the next day."

Friday, May 31st.

I'm back in New York, now, picking up the threads of my own life. This morning I log on to my local Internet service provider to read my e-mail, and I find that someone has forwarded a message to me from John Perry Barlow reporting Timothy Leary's death. Barlow writes:

A couple of hours ago, at 12:45 am Beverly Hills time, my old friend and the corrupter of my youth Timothy Leary made good on his promise to "give death a better name or die trying." Willingly, peacefully, and unafraid, he headed off on his last trip.

He spoke his last words a few hours before. On the phone to the mordant William S. Burroughs he said, "I hope that someday I'm as funny as you are."

He didn't, as threatened, commit suicide on the Net. Or have his head cut off and frozen. Or engage in any other the other spectacles of departure I had dreaded. In the end, he surrounded himself with the angelic band of twenty-somethings who have been uploading him into the Web these last few months and drifted peacefully out of here.

Wednesday, June 5th.

Knowing that Barlow was close to Leary during the final weeks, I write to him and ask if he played any role in Leary's decision not to be frozen. I receive the following reply, which Barlow gives me permission to quote:

I will take some responsibility for Tim's decision to drop being preserved. I told him that one of the greatest things he could do with his life would be to die publicly, joyfully, and naturally. America has become a culture of such obsessive control mania that death is now regarded as a shameful failure of will, best kept in the closet. I think even the cryonic movement is a manifestation of this denial.

So I was hoping that Tim would die as all of us should, with acceptance and dignity. I also knew that doing so these days has become an almost revolutionary act and that the media would seize on any element they could find to restore the horror of death. Having his head cut off and frozen seemed the very thing they'd grab.

In any case, Tim and I discussed this late on the evening that you folks took the gear out. I asked him what he was going to do now. He wasn't sure. I said, "You know, this means you're off the hook with Cryocare."

Suddenly, he brightened, a nagging concern had been jettisoned. "You're right!" he said. "I'm not going to do it."

I could tell he was immensely relieved. He'd been wanting to find a graceful way out of this for some time and you provided him with an exit. His original decision to do it had been one of his many iron whims, solidified by repeated statements of intent. Confronted with the impending reality of the preservation process, I think he found the Cryocare culture a little more sober than suited him, but he wasn't sure how to back away from it.

I also think that in the end, he began to accept the idea of there being a soul, independent of the body, and that his best shot at immortality lay in some combination of that and having his archives uploaded into cyberspace.

Barlow is incorrect, of course, when he says that removal of the ice bath meant that Leary was "off the hook with CryoCare." In person and by fax, we reminded Timothy Leary that we were still ready and hoping to freeze him if he and his friends would simply make it feasible for us to do so.

We also made it very clear that he could continue to count on us for free medical advice if he wanted it, and the equipment was removed only because of the hazardous situation in his home and his repeated promise to take his own life. Despite all of this, we remained "on call" just as we are on call for any of our members.

From Barlow's letter, however, and from other clues (such as Leary's lack of an answer when I asked him what he hoped to find if he woke up in the future), I conclude that he never relied on cryonics emotionally. If he had needed it, he would have wanted cryonicists with him--either us or his friends from Alcor.

Friday, July 19th.

Looking back now, more than a month after Leary's death, I try to learn some lessons from this case.

CryoCare has been criticized for antagonizing the Learyites, and I certainly agree that there was friction between myself and Chris Graves at Leary's house (for reasons described above). On the other hand I maintained a friendly relationship with two other people whom I dealt with there, and Leary himself was always happy to see us. He simply came to the conclusion that he didn't want what we had to offer; and when his friends at Alcor approached him after he had rejected CryoCare, he gave them the same answer.

This caused a couple of critics to accuse Mike Darwin and myself of poisoning Leary's perceptions of cryonics so thoroughly, he would no longer consider it as an option regardless of its source. Yet he remained warm and cordial to me and was glowing in his praise for Mike, who had arranged for tests, treatment, and advice that significantly improved Leary's quality of life and cost him nothing. The Fentanyl pain patch enabled him to function during his last six months, but it was prescribed only after Mike brought in Steve Harris and Steve argued persistently with Victor Kovner, the primary care physician, who opposed it because of the risk of liver toxicity. In fact, Leary died long before Fentanyl could pose any risk to his liver, and (as he readily acknowledged) the patch enabled him to maintain his hedonistic lifestyle almost to the end. Indeed, he liked it so much that he recommended it to veteran narcotics connoisseur William Burroughs and sent a sample to him by FedEx (according to a recent article in Esquire).

In retrospect I believe our biggest mistake was in imagining that CryoCare could somehow reap a reward from its association with Timothy Leary. Like Alcor before us, we were willing to freeze Leary at a significant discount because he was the most famous person who had ever signed publicly with a cryonics organization. Indeed, this was why I was willing to put my life on hold and fly to California for an indefinite standby. I not only wanted to save Leary's future life, I hoped his fame could promote CryoCare and cryonics in general.

Well, a lot of people at the Leary home were hoping for various kinds of fringe benefits. Generally, though, I think the only person who really benefited was Leary himself, and we should remember this lesson when dealing with famous clients in future. The kind of international notoriety that Leary enjoyed can only be achieved with immense willpower and ego, which doesn't encourage an obliging attitude. Also, famous people are constantly pursued by acolytes hoping to get something from them, and they're well practiced at turning this to their own advantage.

Another lesson I derived from this case is that nonconformists can have very conventional feelings about death. Vicki Marshall, who was with Leary right up to the end, believes that he didn't truly confront his own mortality until two weeks before he died. John Perry Barlow, an iconoclast himself with a long history of activism, made the following statement in subsequent e-mail to me: "The price of identity is mortality, in my view. Consider the horror of a world in which no one died."

In response I suggested that when science has succeeded in arresting the aging process--which I believe is inevitable--people will look back at the twentieth century and say, "Consider the horror of a world in which no one could avoid dying."

Barlow didn't reply to this, and I never heard from him again. Probably he still sees cryonics as just a humorless cult of denial--and after Leary had finished playing with the concept and using it for his own purposes, I think he shared Barlow's outlook. As he said to a journalist, "I was worried I'd wake up in fifty years surrounded by people with clipboards."

I can't think of any cryonicist who'd be traumatized by this, especially if it enabled a vastly extended lifespan in a fantastic future. But to Timothy Leary, who lived only for the Joy of Now, it was a fate worse than death.

Prometheus Project Status Report

by Paul Wakfer

Convincingly demonstrated, scientifically proven and published, fully reversible long-term brain cryopreservation within ten years.


As of August 21, 1996, after about nine weeks of promotion, first in CryoCare Forum and then on the Internet through the Cryonet list and the sci.cryonics Usenet news group, pledges totalling $305,200 per year (making a grand total of $3,052,000 over a 10-year period) have been received by the Prometheus Project. These pledges range in annual value from $1,000 to $50,000 and have been made by 48 individuals and 2 organizations.

The Prometheus Project began in June on CryoCare Forum (a private electronic mail list serving CryoCare members), where there had been discussion of two factors that should be able to substantially enhance the security, growth, and scientific credibility of cryonics:

1. Current cryobiological methods for reversible preservation of large organs, which are now nearing perfection, should be applicable to the human brain after suitable modifications. (See "Organ Cryopreservation" by Gregory Fahy, Ph.d. in Advances in Antiaging Medicine edited by R. M. Klatz, Vol. I, pp. 249-255, published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 1996.)

2. The population and the wealth of the community of signed up cryonicists and supporters has reached a size which should enable it to support mainstream cryobiological research to perfect and convincingly demonstrate fully reversible long-term mammalian brain cryopreservation, if the community can only be convinced to do so.

I sent to the CryoCare Forum members an early version of this description and at the same time stated, "Let's stop talking and do something! I'm pledging $10,000 per year for ten years to this brain cryopreservation project! How about you?"

As a result of my appeal to the 22 members of this list, I received pledges of more than $100,000 per year within the next ten days. This was such a positive sign, I decided that funding the Project really was possible. Soon thereafter I took the Project pledge campaign to CryoNet and sci.cryonics and started formulating plans to widen the search for pledgers until the pledge goal is achieved.

Because of its audacity and life-providing purpose this Project was named The Prometheus Project. If the Project pledge campaign is successful, the research will be conducted by a for-profit corporation to be formed for this immediate purpose and for the longer-range purpose of achieving fully reversible whole-body suspended animation.

At this time only solid pledges of $1,000 or more per year for ten years, beginning in 1998, are being requested. When a total of over $1,000,000 per year has been pledged, a company will be formed, an investment prospectus will be issued, and all pledgers will be invited to purchase shares. When $1,000,000 per year of shares for all ten years have been contracted for, the first year's payments will be collected, the first year's shares will be issued, and the project will begin. In accordance with SEC regulations, I must state that at this time I am only writing speculatively about the events that I hope may happen. This is not a solicitation for the purpose of purchasing shares in any existing corporation.

Needless to say, it is my strong belief, and one I sincerely hope that you will share with me after due consideration of this Project, that the most rewarding aspect of the successful completion of the Prometheus Project will be the certainty that each of us has some chance to live a vastly extended, healthy life.

The Purpose of The Prometheus Project

The purpose of The Prometheus Project is to demonstrate the restoration to normal physiological and mental functioning of a mammalian brain which has been preserved and stored at a temperature below -140 degrees Celsius for at least 6 months and which could be so stored for hundreds of years without additional damage. This demonstration must be by methods that will be convincing to the public and will be publishable in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

How The Prometheus Project Will Extend Our Lives

The Problem:

1. Unless major scientific anti-aging advances are made, every one of us faces the virtually certain inability of our body to sustain its life within a period of 125 years minus our present age. If you are over 75 years old, the chance of major anti-aging and rejuvenating scientific advances being made soon enough to allow you to live a vastly extended healthy lifetime is virtually zero. If you are over 50 years old, the chance of this is still extremely small. Even if you are only 25 years old, the chance is marginal at best.

2. To continue to live, each of us needs a "time machine" to transport him or her into the future. At present there is no method with the proven ability to do this. Even the best current methods of chemical or cryogenic preservation result in massive damage to the body and brain from which any future recovery is at best very uncertain.

3. Furthermore, it has not been proven, and may not even be true, that the brain structures which determine our memories, our personality, and all of our other precious personality should be singular since it relates to individuals which have memories, personality, and other mental attributes individual mental attributes are being well preserved through current agonal and cryopreservation processes.

4. The idea of cryonics has been around for 30 years now, yet the number of people actually signed up has only grown to between 600 and 700.

5. Because of the length of time that it has been around, the publicity it has received, and its plot/entertainment value, the concept of cryonics is now very widely known.

6. Still, cryonics remains small and possibly unstable over the long term. Therefore, even if our mental attributes are being preserved through the current agonal and cryopreservation processes, and can be fully restored, most of even those people who understand and accept the idea of cryonics have little confidence that this will occur.

7. In spite of the multitude of traditional beliefs promoting the acceptance of death in our society there are still hundreds of thousands, if not tens of millions of people in North America who truly love life and would very much like to have a lot more of it, so long as they could remain mentally and physically healthy.

8. Even the vast majority of people who reject conventional attitudes toward death will never sign up for cryonics while they remain relatively healthy, because no part of it has been proven and they therefore feel it has virtually no chance of saving them. Instead, they prefer to put any "extra" money into anti-aging methods and research aimed at extending their current "life cycle," giving little thought to the possibility of a second "life cycle."

The Solution:

1. There does exist a method which has been shown to allow the preservation of a complex organ with no freezing injury at all. Using this method, viable rabbit kidneys have been recovered from temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius, with recovery from much colder temperatures expected soon.

This method is called vitrification. Just as glass is fluid at high temperatures and becomes solid as it is cooled, without any crystallization occurring, biological tissues can be cooled without damage by ice crystals if their internal water is largely replaced with a special solution. This remains true even when the tissues are cooled to -140 degrees Celsius, the temperature almost all cryobiologists agree is sufficiently low to allow storage for several hundred years with negligible deterioration.

The challenge for the vitrification approach is to find a solution and method of water removal which do not themselves irreversibly damage the biological tissue.

2. Because vitrification protocols are generally organ specific, the exact protocol for kidneys will not likely work for other organs. Therefore, if we are ever to achieve suspended animation of the whole human body, we must proceed to find protocols which work for other organs. The most important human organ, and the logical starting point for this purpose, is the brain.

3. The scientist who has developed vitrification for rabbit kidneys has stated that he does not see any technical reason why it cannot be adapted to any mammalian organ, including the brain. Furthermore, he has estimated that the necessary modifications should be achievable within ten years, on a budget of under $1 million per year.

4. Neuroscience developments and techniques for assessing brain function should allow us to demonstrate the mental attributes of an isolated mammalian brain that has been vitrified, rewarmed, and is being perfused in vitro. However, it is also believed that it should be possible to apply the same vitrification protocol to a brain which has not been separated from the body, and after cooling the brain only to -70xC, rewarm it, and achieve full recovery of the intact animal. Obviously, this would be a totally convincing demonstration that the mental faculties of the animal had returned.

5. If we can place in long-term biological stasis first a mammalian, next a primate, and finally a human brain, and we recover each test subject with full functionality including all mental attributes, we will have proof that death (as it is usually defined) can be defeated, and in principle a life can be extended indefinitely. At this point I believe the mainstream medical and scientific community will accept the validity of the cryonics concept--at least when patients are processed by this scientifically proven method. Major public and private money will be spent to develop methods of providing a body for a restored brain, and to perfect whole-body long-term suspended animation if possible. The practice of preserving the brain, and later the whole body, if possible, will become a standard elective medical procedure for the terminally ill, and laws will be changed to accommodate this new paradigm.

Why The Project Can Be Funded

1. People who greatly desire a vastly extended healthy lifespan will sincerely pledge major amounts of money to a convincingly demonstrable fully reversible brain cryopreservation project if a) they are convinced that it is necessary in order to achieve such extended life, b) it has sound planning which will enable it to succeed if it is funded, and c) their pledges are not due until it does have sound planning and can be fully funded.

2. Most of those with incomes over $50,000 per year (and certainly all of those with incomes over $100,000 per year) should be able to afford to forego spending $5,000 to 10,000 per year at the present time (especially if the money is deductible from their taxable income) without degrading their lifestyle in any way that is detrimental to their health and longevity.

3. Within the cryonics and life-extension community, there are well over 200 people who fit this category. Hence, there are more than enough people to fund the Project.

4. The Prometheus Project defined here is an attainable and fundable goal. More than $100,000 per year was pledged after my initial appeal to the 22 cryonicists participating in CryoCare Forum. This strongly suggests that it is realistic to expect between 100 and 200 pledges, each ranging between $5,000 and $10,000 per year for all ten years.

Collecting the Pledges

As founder of the Prometheus Project and as one of the $10,000-per-year pledgers, I am collector of the pledges and will be the founder and interim president of the corporation that will be formed once the necessary total of $1 million per year for ten years is reached. Any pledge of $1,000 or more per year will be accepted, but for administrative and share purchase purposes all pledges should be in units of $100 per year. All pledges must be for the same amount per year for all ten years, although up-front, lump-sum pledges are also acceptable on the understanding that share issues will still be spread evenly over ten years. I have agreed to accept a pledge of $8,000 up-front as a substitute for ten annual payments of $1,000.

Purchase of Shares

If the Prometheus Project pledge campaign manages to obtain pledges totalling $1 million per year for ten years, the pledgers will be invited to purchase shares in a for-profit corporation which will be formed to conduct the scientific research. These shares will be issued annually for ten years at a fixed price of $100 per share with the requirement that an equal amount must be purchased for each of the ten years. Pledges will not be due and no money will be collected until pledgers who approve the scientific and business plans have signed share purchase agreements totaling $1 million per year. Any pledger who does not approve of these plans may withdraw his pledge before the Prometheus Project begins.

Signing share purchase agreements will be necessary to insure that the required funding will be forthcoming each year after the project begins. However, these share purchase agreements would contain the following conditions.

a) Each pledger may terminate his or her agreement without penalty after three years or after six years. (Obviously this means that a major project review will take place at these stages.)

b) If any pledger terminates his or her agreement at any other time, all stock purchased since the last "no penalty exit time" will revert to the corporation. (This means that the money paid for those shares becomes, in effect, a donation and the purchaser may be able to take a tax deduction on the loss of value of the shares.)

c) The agreements will contain conditions for termination or transfer at any time without penalty due to unforseen economic hardship.

For original pledger/share purchasers, the value of their shares for the purpose of purchasing technology from the corporation will be the higher of the market value or:

a) 150% of all prior share purchases after completion of the first three years,

b) 200% of all prior share purchases after completion of the first six years,

c) 300% of all prior share purchases after completion of ten years of share purchases or the corporation goes public before ten years. (If the corporation should develop technology which it then sells for the purpose of better human cryopreservation, by returning shares to the corporation, every purchaser of shares who is also a cryonicist or cryonics organization is guaranteed to obtain a return of more than their investment. If the corporation succeeds in patenting highly marketable discoveries, inventions and procedures, of course, the return from the rise in share price may be far greater.)

Each original pledger/share purchaser will have access to a pool of shares vested in ten years. For each share purchased, an additional share will be placed in the pool. Those terminating their share purchase agreements lose their entitlement to this pool and any shares which have been put in the pool as a result of their purchases will be disbursed to the remaining original investors in proportion to their pledges/ share purchases. (This means in effect that share purchasers will get two shares for every one purchased, but only if they continue to purchase for the entire ten years of their pledge or until the corporation goes public. Investors who fulfill their pledges are rewarded additionally by receiving the shares of those who drop out.)

Donation Pledges

Pledgers who wish to receive a receipt which may be used to reduce taxes for the amount of their contribution are encouraged to approach an organization which can issue receipts for charitable donations. Such an organization may be willing to use these donations to purchase shares under the same terms as other pledger/share purchasers. Cryonics organizations which currently have this capability are:

Alcor Life Extension Foundation
American Cryonics Society
The Immortalist Society

Note: none of these organizations has agreed, yet, to receive donations and use them for purchasing shares in the Prometheus Project. However, if the organizations are willing to accept donations on this basis, they may also be willing to proxy to each donor the shareholder voting power that each donation represents. By this method, individual contributing cryonicists and life extensionists would control the Project instead of the competitive and sometimes antagonistic cryonics organizations. It should be very clear that the success of the Prometheus Project will be extremely beneficial for the cryonics organizations, their members and their patients.

The Life Extension Foundation (a registered charitable organization which for many years has been a benefactor to cryonics) has agreed to accept donation pledges, and later to accept donations, to issue charitable receipts, and to make share purchases under terms necessary for funding the Prometheus Project.

The Pledge Campaign

At this time, the Prometheus Project is essentially a pledge campaign asking a strictly hypothetical question:

  1. If $1 million per year in pledges for ten years is collected, and
  2. If satisfactory scientific and business plans are developed, and
  3. If the researchers and their projects are satisfactory to you, and
  4. If a corporation is formed to employ these scientists to execute these projects, and the corporation issues a prospectus and share offering for that purpose,
  5. then how much would you be willing to contribute, beginning in 1998, to purchase shares?

No money is being requested and no investments are being solicited. If this campaign is not successful, no corporation will be formed.

I believe that the Prometheus Project pledge campaign will be successful because you are not being asked, "how much are you willing to invest in a high-risk, bio-tech R&D startup," even though any corporation which executes the Prometheus Project plan will be all of that. Instead you are being asked, "how much of your present life are you willing to commit towards a very good chance at an enormously lengthened future life," and that is a significantly different question.

Scientific and Business Plans

While pledges are being received and are building to the total of $1 million per year required, the scientific plan of The Prometheus Project, and the business plan of the hypothetical corporation which will execute it, will be developed and prepared. These plans will be published even in unfinished form as they are developed and prepared. This project is very much a "boot-strap" process. For many reasons I believe that is the best way to accomplish it. I look forward to your questions and suggestions and you can be sure that if the ideas are worthy, they will be incorporated into the developing project plans.

A Personal Plea

For several weeks now I have been putting a lot of thought toward the Prometheus Project and I very strongly believe that each of us who really wants to live should begin pushing the Project constantly and continuously with all the time, money, and life-force which he or she can possibly afford. I have become convinced that if we are to have a reasonable chance for long-term survival this project is our best hope and must be accomplished. The Prometheus Project will be nonpartisan and should be strongly supported by all organizations because it is much too big for any one cryonics organization. We need all the ideas and help we can get from whatever source. In order to foster this I have pledged to promote the Project and discuss it with as little criticism of anyone as possible.

I expect each organization and each cryonicist to understand why it will be beneficial for them to strongly support the project. I would like all cryonics related publications to publish information, updates and meeting schedules as these are sent to them. I would like to see this coverage be non-stop and relentless until we have begun to execute the Project. I ask every supporter to begin talking of this Project to every life-extensionist with whom you communicate and to try to convince him or her to be as supportive of its possibilities as you are.

The Prometheus Project is not a charity for which I am begging you to give up part of your life for some purpose exterior to you and which I happen to think is important. No! What I am asking is that you pledge to preserve your life--that you honor your self, that exquisite individual consciousness which is yours alone.

    Cryocare and Prometheus

    As we made clear in the previous issue of CryoCare Report, we believe the goals of The Prometheus Project are urgent and vitally important, and CryoCare has pledged $10,000 per year for ten years provided that an acceptable business plan is drawn up, a convincing research plan is developed, and suitable research personnel are found.

    Please note that CryoCare does not have any formal or informal business relationship with the Prometheus Project. We are publishing Paul Wakfer's status report because we believe it is of interest to all cryonicists, but Paul takes exclusive credit for the plans, decisions, and procedures of the project.

Prometheus Project Research Plans

by Paul Wakfer

In considering these plans one must bear in mind that the goal of the Project is necessarily two-fold: First, to discover how to fully recover both brain and mind from a state in which it could remain for decades without deterioration, and second, to demonstrate that its mental faculties have been fully recovered in a manner which will be convincing to scientists, the media, and the public. The goals of the Project are a challenge to cryobiology (to reversibly preserve the brain) and to neurobiology (to provide us with methods to show convincing evidence of this).

The following description is my present understanding of how this will be done. However, it should be clearly understood that this is preliminary and is subject to many possible changes both before and after the Project research has begun. Also it should be noted that while vitrification is clearly the leading cryobiological technique which the research will be utilizing, the Project scientists are well versed in all known cryobiological methods and are totally open to using whichever method will work best to achieve the Project goal (which itself says nothing about the method to be used).

Phase I:
Isolated Head Reversible Cryopreservation

Phase I consists of isolated head experiments that are prerequisites to the Phase II head transplantation studies.

1. Determine what cryoprotective agents will and will not penetrate the brain under appropriate conditions.
2. Determine how to load and unload these agents without precluding perfusability and without producing significant damage to ultrastructure, and measures such as: EEG during blood perfusion in vitro.
3. Determine means of cooling and warming isolated heads that do not produce major injury beyond that caused by the delivery and washout of the cryoprotective agents, and determine whether "cooling injury" is a problem and, if it is, how to overcome it.
4. Refine evaluation methods including sophisticated neurobiological tests such as: evoked potentials, voltage-sensitive dye-visualized voltage distributions, LTP, etc. including auto-stimulation of the pleasure center to see if reproduction of previous results is evoked.

In vitro perfusion with blood has several advantages over the Phase II transplantation model, including the ability to eliminate white cells and platelets, which could otherwise preclude assessment of cerebral (and even superficial tissue) function, and the ability to lower hematocrit to permit perfusion that otherwise would not occur. Something this modest might be sufficient to convincingly demonstrate complete recovery of mental faculties if the neurobiologists can give us sufficiently convincing tests to perform on the in vitro perfused brain. Another use of this model will be to quantitate perfusion and other defects and learn how to overcome them.

The endpoint of Phase I will be a brain that has been cryopreserved and stored and that survives cryopreservation based on a variety of convincing in vitro criteria, conceivably (but unlikely) even including signs of consciousness. If the brain can be returned to consciousness in vitro and if superficial structures/sense organs are not destroyed, convincing evidence for complete cryopreservation will have been achieved.

Phase II:
Isolated Head Transplantation

Phase II will involve the transplantation of isolated heads after cryopreservation, storage and rewarming. Transplantation should allow us to:

1. Show the brain/head can reflow with blood for prolonged periods without deteriorating.
2. Show the brain releases and responds to appropriate hormones.
3. Show the brain retains ultrastructure for prolonged periods.
4. Show that the brain survives based on all previous assays.
5. If superficial structures are not irreversibly damaged, wait for consciousness (and possibly some brain i/o) to return, if it is able to within the time available before rejection sets in.

Phase III:
In-Situ Brain Perfusion and Cooling

The purpose of Phase III is a demonstration of successful brain cryopreservation which will be totally convincing to the media and the public. It is not likely that this phase will even begin until year 8 of the Project.

In this stage the results of Phase I and II will be applied to the still-connected brain of a dog. This will be done by:

a) perfusing the still-connected brain of a dog with the already developed and proven reversible vitrification solution,
b) cooling the brain to -70 degree Celsius or as low as the model parameters allow, and
c) rewarming the brain and restoring the dog to a healthy state where full recoverability of mental faculties may be convincingly seen.


1. The experimental animal will undergo preliminary operations and recovery to modify the body-to-head vasculature to be more suitable for the experimental procedure without compromising the viability of the animal.

2. Using clamps, the vasculature of its head will be isolated from that of its body, and the vasculature of its brain from that of its superficial skeletal muscle, eyes, facial nerves, and ears to the extent that this is possible. Vitrification perfusion will be applied to its brain, and head/brain interface, while its body is maintained in mild hypothermia with its blood intact, by either its own beating heart and a ventilator, or with or without its own blood by a heart-lung machine.

3. The vitrification perfusion procedure will be followed by cooling of the brain only, to -70 degrees Celsius by perfusion with cold perfluorochemical, or irrigation of the brain surface with cold fluid by canulae inserted through the skull, or both. A 70xC+ gradient from the superficial tissues to the brain would be maintained in order to allow the sense organs and the means of brain self-expression to be spared to the greatest extent possible. Heat transfer calculations have verified that such a temperature gradient can be maintained.

4. The head will then be rewarmed by perfusion with warm perfluorochemical, together with vitrification solution washout and blood reinfusion at the appropriate rewarming temperatures.

5. The head/brain/body vasculature isolating clamps will be removed, and the whole animal will be rewarmed and revived.

6. Once sufficiently recovered, the dog will be kept alive until full behavioral and intellectual/neurological assessment is possible.

7. Monitoring of the dog will be continued to assure long-term cerebral integrity.

Phase III:
Possible In-Situ Alternative

If the above (admittedly ambitious) plans for Phase III are found not to be achievable (a distinct possibility due to anatomical considerations), as an alternative we will attempt to do whole-head perfusion and cooling with the still-connected whole-head vasculature isolated from the body by clamping. Even if recovery were not total this would give the advantage (over Phase II) of a longer period (up to 3 weeks) post warm-up for evaluation of the effects of the procedure.

Phase IV:
Clean-up and Other Animal Models

Phase IV is an open-ended continuation of the Project which will attend to any imperfections remaining from Phase III and will move to other animal models to verify species transferability of the results. It will probably extend past the end of the ten year Project plan which quite naturally ends with the achievement of the Project goals by the successful completion of Phase III.

Yes, this is a tall order! There is no question that this whole Project is on the leading edge of several branches of science and medicine. But then the only way humanity ever progresses is by constantly and steadfastly "pushing the edge of the envelop". In terms of both science and culture that is just what The Prometheus Project is designed to do.

    The Honor Roll

    The honor role of pledgers to the Prometheus Project is shown at right. But first a special thought from $10,000-per-year pledger Roy Yowell:

    Over 200 years ago, in 1776, a small group of men made a mutual pledge to risk "their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor" to achieve a daring goal. The revolution which they forged continues to reverberate around the planet to this day.

    Now, in 1996, as an equally small group of men and women, we must ask ourselves to mutually pledge to the goal of saving-not risking our lives, risking only a small part of our income for a few years-not our fortunes, and only risking our honor if we do not pledge to the Prometheus Project, the most important achievable goal ever to be attempted by man. The revolution which we can create will last forever.

    Pledger Name Amount per year
    Ben Best $ 1,000
    Forrest Bishop $ 5,000
    Yvan Bozzonetti $ 2,000
    Mark Connaughton $ 5,000
    John K Clark $ 1,000
    John Cosic $ 10,000
    Thomas Donaldson $ 1,000
    CryoCare Foundation $ 10,000
    Bill Faloon $ 50,000
    Ai Ling Freeman $ 2,000
    Tim Freeman $ 2,000
    Peter Gouras $ 1,000
    Ken Greenwood $ 1,000
    Jim Halperin $ 50,000
    Steve Harris $ 1,000
    Robin Helweg-Larsen $ 5,000
    Marce & Walt Johnson $ 1,000
    Saul Kent $ 50,000
    Bob Krueger $ 4,000
    "Methuselah Lazarus" $ 1,000
    Keith Lynch $ 2,000
    Bob Martz $1,000
    Peter Merel $ 1,000
    Carlos Mondragon $ 1,000
    Mark Mugler $ 1,000
    Micheal O'Neal $ 5,000
    Candy Ostman $ 1,500
    Mike Perry $ 1,000
    Charles Platt $ 10,000
    Magnus Redin $ 1,000
    Andre Robatino $ 1,000
    Billy & Maggie Seidel $ 10,000
    Randy Smith $ 500
    Daniel Jacobs $ 2,500
    Ken Stone $ 1,200
    Edgar Swank $ 1,000
    Paul Wakfer $ 10,000
    Bruce Waugh $ 5,000
    Ken Wolfe $ 5,000
    Larry Wood $ 1,500
    Brian Wowk $ 1,000
    Roy Yowell $ 10,000
    Leonard Zubkoff $ 1,000
    Anonymous in honor of Jerry Hagen $ 10,000
    Anonymous $ 10,000
    Anonymous $ 5,000
    Anonymous $ 1,000
    Anonymous $ 1,000
    Anonymous $ 1,000
    49 individuals or groups $305,200


by Charles Platt

August 19th, 1993

When I received the news today that my father had died, the loss that I felt was not the kind that people usually talk about. I had already lost his presence in my life a little bit at a time since I moved to New York in 1970 and he remained in England with my mother. I visited them often, but our lives diverged so widely that each time I saw him, it was hard to find much to say.

The loss that I feel now comes from knowing that the skills, the memories, and the insights that he acquired through his life have been permanently destroyed. It's the same loss that I would feel if a piece of fine art had been burned to ashes. Chaos has prevailed over order; ugliness over beauty.

* * *

My father was an automotive engineer. He road-tested cars and was technical editor of a leading British automobile magazine back in the 1920s and the 1930s. In those days you could take a Bentley tourer out onto British back roads and feel a real sense of freedom, with few other drivers on the highways and virtually no law enforcement to worry about.

In 1938 he took a job at Vauxhall Motors, the British subsidiary of General Motors. In World War II he played a large role designing the Churchill tank. While testing it in Africa, he contracted malaria.

After the war he became chief engineer at Vauxhall, and subsequently a director of the company, which meant that during the 1950s he made annual trips to GM in Detroit. There, he tried unsuccessfully to convince American executives that British people really didn't want to drive big, heavy cars with tail fins and panoramic windshields.

Today there are mechanical features of automobiles that exist partly because my father designed them or lobbied for them. There are books that he wrote, one of them being an autobiography. These things survive his death, so that not everything has been lost; and yet the part that endures is a tiny fraction of the man. Little of his life and few of his personal qualities can be inferred from the evidence that remains.

I tried to interest my father in cryonics, in one of the letters that I wrote to him every two weeks during our many years of transatlantic separation. "Are they also able to freeze the soul?" he asked in his reply. An odd response, since he wasn't conventionally religious and doubted there could be an interventionist god. But he still clung to the idea of a life force, probably because he knew very little about biology, which was mysterious to him. Even the idea of hereditary characteristics being stored in DNA seemed fundamentally implausible as far as he was concerned. In the face of this enigma, cryonics was an inappropriate tool--like a set of socket wrenches to repair a wildflower.

So, I was not able to preserve the structure of his mind even using the primitive techniques currently available to us. And now it is gone.

* * *

I was the only child of his marriage with my mother. Her mind has been incapacitated by a series of strokes, and he managed to outlive almost all his friends. Consequently I seem to be the only person, now, retaining memories of my father's personal life in the 1950s and the 1960s, when I still lived at home and we functioned, a bit erratically, as a family.

During the week he was deeply involved with his work, designing new engines and transmissions for postwar automobiles, trying to keep the styling department under control, and battling British prejudice against a company that was now American-owned.

Each summer there were vacations in France, where he sat on the beach, fully dressed in a jacket and tie, wearing a straw hat, tolerating my mother's endless capacity to bake herself in the sun.

There were weekends when he helped me with math home work, or model building (he started bringing home gearwheels to augment my erector set when I was four years old). He taught me to drive on a disused military airfield when I was thirteen. He took me and my mother to visit the United States in 1958, on one of his business trips. We spent a week in New York and four weeks in Detroit, which imprinted me forever with the lure of America. I remember the grand dining room on the old Queen Elizabeth II luxury liner, with blue velvet drapes and walls paneled in walnut and mahogany. We travelled first class; General Motors was picking up the tab. My mother woke me on the fifth day of the voyage, so that I could look out of the porthole of our cabin and see the downtown skyscrapers in the morning mist as we sailed into New York harbor.

Are these memories worth anything? I like to think so, because otherwise life itself is worth nothing. But my memories of my father are fragmentary and imperfect. Imagine his memories stored in their original detail, accessible in the same way that we can browse online through libraries of data. Imagine having everyone's mental inventory available in this way. That would help to mitigate the feeling of loss.

What puzzles me is that most people don't seem to share my feeling of distress over the incredible waste that results from our biological support system being incapable of sustaining our minds in the long term. If priceless art was executed on canvas that disintegrated after eighty or ninety years, no one would smile and say that it's natural for one generation of art to make way for the next. Museums spend large sums of money to restore work by old masters; does that mean paintings are more valuable than human beings?

* * *

This is how my father died.

I was telephoned in New York, two days ago, by a friend of his who told me that his condition had started to deteriorate. A nurse at the nursing home reported that he had stopped eating. He was getting weaker, and she feared he had lost his will to live.

I had often imagined a phone call like this, but now that it had finally become a reality I felt unsure of what to do. My father was said to be barely conscious; would he even know if I was there, if I went to see him?

On the other hand, if I stayed home I would never forgive myself. So I caught a flight that same night.

Arriving at Heathrow Airport I remembered all the other times I had made this journey to visit my parents, feeling giddy from a couple hours' sleep on the plane, confused by the sudden daylight at 3 AM subjective time. I rented a car and drove the 150 miles to the nursing home in Dorset where my parents had been living for the past couple of years. I arrived early in the afternoon.

American readers can have no conception of the comfort, cleanliness, and kindness of a good British nursing home. My parents had a large room with two beds and various items of furniture that they had moved here from the house where they used to live. There was an antique desk, a modern wardrobe, a liquor cabinet, and shelves of books. There were pictures on the walls: an early biplane (my father had trained as a fighter pilot in World War I), a group of long-lost friends in a vintage car, and an impressionist view of the grim, gray East End of London, which was the city my father loved most. On the shelves were novels by Balzac, picture-books of automobiles, and nonfiction such as Winston Churchill's history of World War II.

My mother was not in the room; she was sitting downstairs on a terrace, dozing in the afternoon sun. My father was lying on his side, sleeping. He was very thin and looked strangely helpless, as if his long life had brought him full-circle back to a child-like condition of need. I tried to rouse him but he muttered that he needed to sleep. I don't think he knew who I was.

I spent some time just sitting in the room, remembering the history of each item of memorabilia, and thinking about loss. A clock on top of an antique desk ticked busily.

I sat and waited, afraid that my trip had been pointless. I didn't want to be there in this room which smelled of my unhappy childhood home, overlaid with the faint odor of urine that resulted from my mother's incontinence. I stared out of the window at green British hillsides dotted with sheep, and then I looked down and saw my mother sitting below. Her mind had been so damaged by strokes, I wasn't sure that she would even notice if my father died.

After a while two nurses came in. "Time to turn you over, Maurice," one of them said in that no-nonsense nurse-speak which patients everywhere understand to mean that all resistance is futile.

They turned him and sat him up, and my father opened his eyes. "Would like some water," he said, and coughed. His speech was hard to understand, because there was fluid gathering in his lungs and throat. He was rational, just muzzy-headed and terribly weak--as I would have been, if I had eaten as little as he had over the past days.

The nurses gave him a glass of water and a straw. He sipped a little, then blinked at me blearily. "Would like to see," he said. We found him his glasses and put them on for him. He stared at me in surprise for half a minute, absorbing the fact of my presence. Perhaps he knew that it meant he didn't have long to live. "Not quite sure where you sprung from," he managed to say.

I told him I'd heard he was not doing so well, and I felt I should be there. He pushed a paper towel up under his glasses, perhaps because he was crying. I lay beside him and hugged him, and I started crying myself. I thanked him for being kind to me through all my childhood, for he had always been a decent, gentle man. And I thanked him for everything he had taught me. He muttered something which I couldn't quite hear, but it seemed to mean that I didn't need to thank him.

"Is there anything I can do?" I asked. "Can you eat something?"

"No." He touched his stomach under the covers, and grimaced. "Don't think I can eat."

After that, his eyes closed and he went back to sleep.

I stayed overnight at a bed-and-breakfast place in a village close by. That was yesterday. This morning I telephoned the nursing home. "Your father has lapsed unconscious," they told me.

I felt sad but unsurprised.

Because of commitments in New York, I had scheduled a flight back to America at 4 PM. The ticket, of course, was nonrefundable. I considered throwing it away and staying a few more days, but whose interests would be served by such a vigil? I would be fooling myself if I imagined that my father would revive, and I was determined to accept the reality of the situation.

I drove back to London, impatiently, on the fast British highways. My own life now seemed worth less than before, for reasons I don't quite understand, and I had to discipline myself not to let my speed creep up above 100 miles an hour. My reflexes were dull from jet-lag and sleeplessness; not the best condition for fast driving.

From Heathrow airport I telephoned the nursing home, and they told me that my father had died from cardiac arrest. He had never regained consciousness. He was 95. He had died on his birthday.

That was eight hours ago.

* * *

I've been writing this on the plane back to New York, using a laptop computer--a device which pleases me with its functionality, its elegance, its efficiency. Engineering values, again. That's part of the legacy from my father: my love for machines. He used to talk about machines as if they were people. "Hear the engine struggling," he would say, when we were driving up a steep grade in top gear and the vibration was perceptible, so you could actually sense the individual explosions inside the cylinders, forcing the pistons down.

Then he shifted into a lower gear. "There," he said, as the engine stopped vibrating and its sound changed to a higher pitch. "It's happy now."

Like many mechanical engineers he had an easier time dealing with machines than people, and so do I. Machines, after all, are simpler and more predictable. Also, if you design them properly and keep them clean and well lubricated, their lives can be extended almost indefinitely. My father owned a large clock that was more than 100 years old, and it still kept good time, because he maintained it properly.

Wear and tear in human beings is a much more complicated problem. One day I believe the mechanisms of biology will be understood as thoroughly as we understand the internal combustion engine today, and when that time comes, improvements will be made. It's one of the scandals of our age that this is such a low priority, in science and in everyday life, with most people perfectly willing to sacrifice themselves to the inadequacies of a biological form created by the mindless cruelty of evolution.

There is, of course, some hope. In the past three decades, for the first time in human history, we have seen a small group of mostly unqualified amateurs speaking out rationally against the status-quo, arguing that we should change the rules of the game of life--a game which we are currently fated to lose, sooner or later, no matter how tenaciously we play it. Alas the rebels are few, the task is enormous, and the opposition is entrenched.

In the long term I have no doubt that life extension will become a reality, and the process of preserving and reviving human beings will be perfected. But here and now, I have been deprived of my father along with many other people I have loved, and I know that many more will go before all is said and done. In the face of this hard fact, I must say I find it hard to cope with the frustration, the anger, and the loss.

(Minor revisions made for publication, August 1996.)

CryoCare Annual Meeting and Anti-Aging Conference

The Fourth Annual Conference on Anti-Aging Medicine and Biomedical Technology will be presented by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) from December 14 through December 16, 1996, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This year's conference is special because CryoCare will be holding its own Annual Meeting in Las Vegas on Friday, December 13, immediately preceeding the conference. CryoCare will also be hosting a booth and room parties during the conference.

This will be a great opportunity to learn what's happening in CryoCare and what's new in the field of anti-aging medicine. Conference fees are $445 ($345 for members of Life Extension Foundation) if payment is received before October 9th. Call 1-719-475-8775 for more information about the A4M conference, or to register.

Naturally, there is no fee if you only want to attend the CryoCare annual meeting.

More details about our meeting and about the conference will appear in the October issue of CryoCare Report.

We must add a special "thank you" to the individuals whose generous donations have CryoCare's presence possible at A4M.

The Man Who Named Cryonics

When Robert Ettinger's classic book The Prospect of Immortality was published by Doubleday in 1964, the word "cryonics" didn't exist. A young man in New York named Karl Werner was the one who added that term to the English language.

Ironically, Werner only stayed for about three years in the field that he helped to create. Recently, though, after an absence of more than a quarter-century, he sent e-mail to people whose names he saw on CryoNet. In August of this year Saul Kent, Kevin Brown, and Charles Platt arranged to visit Karl at his pleasant home in rural New Jersey.

Karl is married and has a twenty-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. He's a professional model-maker who runs his own small business fabricating prototypes for retail point-of-purchase displays, and he's also deeply interested in computer animation and 3-D rendering. In his well- equipped basement workshop, he showed us some impressive examples of his art.

Karl first became interested in cryonics back in 1965. "I was a student at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn," he recalls, "and on the bulletin board was a notice announcing that Robert Ettinger was going to come and talk on the topic, 'Freeze, Wait, Reanimate.' Immediately that hit a note in me."

Several people who attended that meeting decided to form a local affinity group. In August of that year Karl coined the term "cryonics," and the group became The Cryonics Society of New York. Curtis Henderson was president, Saul Kent was secretary, Karl was vice-president and art director of the newsletter. His girlfriend Glenda Allen was subsequently elected treasurer.

Karl's split from cryonics began when some neighbors introduced Glenda to Scientology. He began to share her interest, and he found that the Scientologists didn't like the idea of freezing people. "They warned me that if my body was frozen, powerful spiritual beings could prevent the spirit--which they call the Thetan--from getting access to my body, and they might seek to control me to make me do what they wanted. Like--'You want your body back? You go out and do these things on these other planets, otherwise forget it.'"

Did Karl really believe this? "Well--it was highly imaginative! Who knows whether it's true or not?"

In June, 1968, Karl and Glenda were married by a Scientology minister. On August 21, just three months later, they announced their permanent departure from cryonics, and Karl subsequently became a Dianetics auditor. (Dianetics is the for-profit precursor of Scientology.) "I easily spent $4,000 on books and services and training," he says, "but I never got very high in the organization. I was active for four or five years."

After that he decided to look for spiritual enlightenment elsewhere, and is no longer associated with Scientology. "I do believe, though," he says, "that I am a spirit who existed before my body and will exist after my body is gone. We're all thousands and thousands of years old. Therefore, cryonics is barking up the wrong tree thinking of people as just bodies."

For this reason, Karl has never returned to cryonics--though he remains proud to be the one who named it.

Anyone who wants to see some of Karl's computer graphics should check out his web page at http://www.gti.net/skipjack. Karl is also happy to receive email; his address is.

Vice Presidency Passes to Ben Best

In July, 1996, CryoCare's two vice-presidents Charles Platt and Billy Seidel decided to relinquish their titles. Billy is planning to tour the United States in a motor home and feels he can no longer devote a lot of time to CryoCare. Charles will continue to write and edit all CryoCare publications and will share the responsibility of providing emergency telephone service, but he prefers to avoid the potentially deeper involvement that being a Vice President can entail.

The directors of CryoCare agreed that Ben Best should acquire the title of Vice President in addition to his duties as Secretary.

Contacting CryoCare

On our printed documents and web page you will soon see a new street address for CryoCare:

Suite 3410 NorthEast Hercules Plaza, 1313 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19801-1151. (Delaware is the state in which our organization was incorporated.)

We will maintain this address as a permanent location for mail inquiries from nonmembers. Please note that it is not our "head office" in any real sense. Since CryoCare is a management organization that subcontracts the hands-on work to service providers, we don't need a central physical location.

Our members should continue to contact us directly, on a personal basis, preferably by e-mail or by phone, as follows:

For membership fees, newsletter subscriptions, and other financial matters:

Kevin Brown
Treasurer, CryoCare
19-353 Dell Place
Stanhope, NJ 07874
Phone: 201-347-1695

For change of address, general information and new signups:

Carlotta Pengelley
Membership Administrator, CryoCare
P. O. Box 177
Newbury Park, CA 91319-0177
Phone (daytime): 805-376-0355
Voicemail: 805-523-3894

For newsletter content and public relations:

Charles Platt
Vice President, CryoCare
9 Patchin Place
New York, NY 10011
Phone: 212-243-4444

For revisions or updates to your cryonics documents (e.g. new insurance arrangements, new health information):

Ben Best
Secretary and Vice President, CryoCare
Box 788 Station "A"
Toronto, Ontario M5W 1G3
Phone weekdays 416-862-3193
Phone weekends 416-534-0967

In Emergency:

Call 1-800-TOP-CARE (1-800-867-2273)
or make direct contact by dialling:

Charles Platt
Phone: 212-243-4444
Pager: 800-908-0470

Brian Wowk
Phone: 204-254-6192 or 204-984-6618
Pager: 204-933-0324


Members of CryoCare receive the newsletter at no charge.

If you are a non-member and wish to continue receiving CryoCare Report, write a check made payable to CryoCare Foundation for just $9. The next four issues will be sent to you via first class mail.

Provided your name and address are on the check, you don't need to enclose anything with it. Just write "Subscription" on the memo line of the check and send it to Kevin Brown, Ph.D., Treasurer of CryoCare, at 19-353 Dell Place, Stanhope, NJ 07874. We'll do the rest.

Overseas subscriptions: by air mail only, $15 per year. Payment must be made in US funds: cash, a check drawn on a US bank, or an International Money Order.

Back issues: $3 each ($4 overseas).

CryoCare Report is published four times a year by CryoCare foundation, a non-profit corporation whose main office is located at Suite 3410 NorthEast Hercules Plaza, 1313 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19801-1151.
President: Brian Wowk
Directors: Brenda Peters, Bruce Waugh, Brian Wowk.
Treasurer: Kevin Brown.
Secretary and Vice President: Ben Best.

End of CryoCare Report #8, Online Edition

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