For you podcast junkies out there, many of you may be familiar with Ira Glass and Chicago Public Radio's "This American Life". Always an informative and introspective look at America and those that live with in it, this week's episode provides a bit of real life horror that is pretty damn disturbing in hindsight.
"It's the late 1960s, and in the new technology of cryonics, a California TV repairman named Bob sees an opportunity to help people cheat death. But freezing dead people so scientists can reanimate them in the future is a lot harder than it sounds. Harder still was admitting to the family members of people Bob had frozen that he'd screwed up. Badly."
I don't follow the world of 'cryonics'....at all. So, this story was completely alien to me. Needless to say, that's the beauty of "This American Life"; they bring up interesting bits of americana that you never knew existed. (See: 352: The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar)
What makes me bring this one to the blog is the sheer horrors of what's involved here. Sure, people have been dreaming of freezing themselves for ages, but most aren't aware at how many failed attempts at actually doing so were. In this ep, we hear from Bob Nelson himself on his mistakes and blunders along the way. Building giant coolers out of the shipping cases of coffins lined with styrofoam to make temporary Cadaver coolers, the fact that he only operated two pods during the tenure of his 'cryogenics society', both packed with three to four bodies to save money, the list goes on. Probably the most disturbing fact that makes the story sound off with the listener... after all was said and done, the corpses stored within the failed capsules were disenterred; to this day the surviving family members have no idea where their family members bodies lie. Disturbing indeed.
To round things out, this episode has Bob Nelson himself. After hearing him talk, you find yourself actually feeling a bit sorry for the man. He's not painted as crook or scheister set to pray upon the bereaved; he's painted as a man with a dream and a will to do good for humanity in general, and failed miserably at it.
It's a pretty engrossing episode that I can't recommend enough. Be sure to check it out, after you listen to the Bloody Good Podcast of course!