The head of a Michigan cryonics lab that freezes bodies until “science can bring them back to life” has defended the practice, saying he is “fighting the good fight.”
The president of the Cryonics Institute, Dennis Kowalski, froze more than 100 bodies, including a 14-year-old British girl who died of cancer and at least 125 pets, which are in tanks at -196°C.
Kowalski, who signed up for the service himself, said patients have nothing to lose and everything to gain from this questionable practice.
“You can be buried or cremated and we know what happens to those people, although they will never be repaired, rejuvenated or returned to a healthy age,” he said. Sun. But many scientists warn that cryonics offers “false hope.”
Dennis Kowalski, president of the Cryonics Institute, has frozen more than 100 hundreds – including a 14-year-old British girl and at least 125 pets – who are sitting in tanks kept at -196˚ C, in the hope that one day they can can be ‘awakened’
Patients are stored at -321°F in chambers used to maintain low freezing temperatures.
The Cryonics Institute’s oldest patient, Rhea Ettinger, has been there since 1977.
Kowalski himself previously admitted that even if frozen people were eventually brought back to life, they could potentially wake up as “zombie clones” of their former selves.
However, Kowalski pushes the cryonics method as the most viable option for those hoping to be revived after death.
‘The grave is your only real alternative and that is total oblivion. That is why we want to defeat man’s greatest enemy: death itself,” he told the Sun.
Preserving his body at the Cryonics Institute in Clinton Township, Michigan, will cost more than $28,000.
The institute was founded in 1976 by Robert Ettinger, the “father of cryonics”, and is currently the largest cryonics laboratory in the world.
‘I would give everything I had to bring back my family, friends and loved ones, even if the chance is small. So I think what I’m doing is fighting the good fight,” she added. ‘I believe it is born from love, compassion and the desire to do good. and if it works, it works. If it’s not like that, it’s not like that.
Chefs, students, secretaries, teachers and pets are among those stored in liquid nitrogen at the Cryonics Institute.
“I think it’s at least worth trying to see if it’s possible to bring these people back one day and I hope the scientists can put us out of business.” If you’re already dead, there’s not much harm in trying… and you might as well take a risk.
In 2016, an extraordinary case sparked a fierce debate about the ethics of cryofreezing and the lack of regulation surrounding the cryonics industry.
A 13-year-old London girl diagnosed with a rare form of cancer has announced her wish to be cryopreserved after all treatment options failed.
He researched the process online and told relatives in the months before his death: “I’m dying but I’m coming back in 200 years.”
Her case was heard by the High Court after her estranged father objected to the plan, saying he could not fund the £37,000 procedure at a facility in the United States.
The girl’s maternal grandparents agreed to pay all costs, but the father still wondered what kind of future the procedure would offer his daughter.
The girl’s father told the Mail in 2016: ‘We’ve come to the end of the road after my daughter passed away, what’s left to say? It’s all over, it’s over. Her mother did not allow me to have contact with her.
“I have gone to court ten times trying to see her. I have been trying very hard to contact her through the courts. I was able to see her in 2005 for about a year and a half.’
An increasing number of people (and pets) are being frozen in cryogenic laboratories, in the hope that they will one day be brought back to life when science catches up.
Of the total 1,975 patients stored at the Michigan facility, 1,374 are Americans and 128 are British, according to member statistics published by the institute.
The number of patients at the Cryonics Institute in Michigan has increased from about 600 in 2006 to about 1,900 in 2021.
Business is booming at the Cryonics Institute lab in Michigan, leaving it at capacity and forced to warehouse patients at a new facility nearby.
In the expanded warehouse, between 10 and 20 spaces are already occupied.
What was once the eccentric idea of Walt Disney and the ultra-rich elites is becoming more accessible to everyday people.
At the Michigan facility, chefs, students, secretaries, teachers and pets are among those stored in liquid nitrogen.
The center prides itself on being affordable for the average person with full-body preservation starting at $28,000, which is typically paid for through life insurance.
Cryonics, the practice of freezing the bodies of the dead, is a global phenomenon.
Another famous freezing site in the United States is the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Arizona. From the outside it looks like any other warehouse. But inside it contains the frozen corpses of hundreds of patients.
It’s more expensive: It costs people $200,000 to store their entire body in a high-tech freezer, but there is the option of putting just the brain on ice for a discounted price of $80,000.
So far the remains of 199 deceased people are stored there, kept fresh thanks to liquid nitrogen that keeps the bodies at -275 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature so cold that it stops all cellular function and preserves its state until thawing.
The patient who has been in Michigan the longest is named Rhea Ettinger and she has been there since 1977.
His son, Robert Ettinger, a World War II veteran and founder of the Cryonics Institute, is also in Arctic limbo, along with his first and second wife.
‘Let’s say you have a heart attack right now, well, 100 years ago you would have been dead, so using that logic, what’s the point of hitting your chest or using a little electricity to try to bring your heart back to life?’ ‘ Kowalski told the Sun.
“However, today we routinely use cardiac defibrillation and CPR to recover people who have died, so we have moved the goalposts. We have changed the definition of what dead means.
‘So now we’re not really going to raise the dead. You’re just restarting their heart and I would say bringing back people who were in liquid nitrogen for a hundred years is something similar.’