The Daily Beast:
Vast riches and a lifelong obsession with fringe technology are threatening to tear a family apart.
A fraught, multi-million-dollar legal battle over the frozen head of a now-deceased biochemist escalated into fraud claims this week, after four years of wild allegations that at one point involved talk of a wax dummy head and an alleged hidden will.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Until his death, Dr. Laurence Pilgeram, a biochemist and medical school professor, was a longtime proponent of the Arizona-based Alcor Life Extension Foundation’s cryonics program. The company claims it can effectively save lives “by using temperatures so cold that a person beyond help by today’s medicine can be preserved for decades or centuries until a future medical technology can restore that person to full health.” (To be clear, cryonics is not the same as cryogenics, which is a branch of physics that studies the effects of very low temperatures.)
Alcor’s facilities offer both whole-body preservation and head-only neuropreservation, which might one day serve to “restore the patient to health by regrowing a new body around the brain using future tissue regeneration technology,” according to the company’s website.
In a civil suit filed in 2018, son Kurt Pilgeram claimed that, by cremating the bulk of his father’s body, which he was aghast to receive at his home two weeks after his father’s death, Alcor breached its contract and dashed any hopes “of bringing his head ‘back to life.’”
“They chopped his head off, burned his body, put it in a box and sent it to my house,” he told The Great Falls Tribune.