Can humans really be brought back to life?

Published 5:24 pm Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Well, some very rich people believe that it can be done. This special group of humans have paid a lot of money to have their bodies literally, after death, frozen in time, hoping that scientific and technological advances in the future will bring them back to life.

There is a name for the process of this taking place. It is called “cryonics,” not cryogenics. Merriam-Webster defines, in fact, “cryonics” as — the practice of freezing a person who has died of a disease in hopes of restoring life at some future time when a cure for the disease has been developed. Wikipedia, however, states that in physics, “cryogenics” is the production and behavior of materials at very low temperatures. A person who studies elements that have been subjected to extremely cold temperatures is called a cryogenicist.

If you thought that it all started with James Hiram Bedford, an American psychology professor at the University of California, you would not be entirely correct. The first case in history of a body being frozen with some thought of future reanimation took place in 1966. It had been embalmed for two months and was placed in liquid nitrogen and stored at just above freezing point. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the body ultimately thawed out and was buried by relatives.

Bedford, who died of cancer in 1967, was frozen almost immediately after his death using liquid nitrogen. After being stored in several locations, and a contentious legal fight contesting his will, Bedford’s body would find a home away from California with the Alcor Life Extension Foundation located in Scottsdale, Arizona, where it remains today. Alcor, is a nonprofit organization based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Foundation is in a select class of entities that perform cryonics, with hopes of restoring the deceased to full health when hypothetical new technology is developed in the future.

Sounds eccentric? Maybe. Hundreds of wealthy individuals have inquired about possibly being frozen after death and later brought back among the living to begin a second life in the future.

Many believe that Walt Disney, submitted himself to cryonics. Disney was very interested in the idea but never actually followed through on his interest. Other famous individuals and celebrities have included Dick Clair, an Emmy Award-winning television sitcom writer and producer of such popular programs as “Facts of Life,” and Hall of Fame baseball legend,Ted Williams and his son John Henry Williams.

Is cryonics Frankenstein science?

Before you answer, consider the work of young Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, Robert McIntyre, who for the first time, successfully froze and then revived a mammalian brain, that of a New Zealand white rabbit.

When thawed, the rabbit’s brain was found to have all its synapses, cell membranes, and intracellular structures intact. This was truly a miracle and gave a boost to the weird science of cryonics.