X-Message-Number: 14228
Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2000 01:25:02 -0400
From: mgdarwin <>
Subject: Timothy Leary

John Krug asks about the allegations against CryoCare which read as follows
on the website John cites::
        Was Timothy Leary cryonically preserved?
        No. For a number of years, Leary was excited by the possibility of
                   freezing his body in cryonic suspension. As a scientist
himself, he didn't
                   believe that he would be resurrected in the future, but
he recognized the
                   importance of cryonic possibilities and was generally an
advocate of
                   future sciences. He called it his "duty as a futurist",
and helped publicize
                   the process. Leary had relationships with two cryonic
organizations, the
                   original ALCOR and then the offshoot CRYOCARE. A few
months before
                   he died, Leary discovered some internal company memos
that seriously
                   slandered him and exposed a plan to defame Leary and
exploit the
                   situation to the benefit of Cryocare and the detriment
of Leary and his
                   family. Outraged, Leary kicked them out of his house and
cancelled all
                   his contracts. 

This is an outright lie. And I challenge anyone to produce ANY creditable
evidence that this is even remotely true. In fact this statement is
libelous and if were worth the trouble, would be actionable and
undoubtedbly win-able in a cort of law by CryoCare. But to what end>

 I speak from authority. I was with Timothy Leary a scant few days before
he died when he most lucidly, pleasantly and firmly asked that CryoCare
personnel leave his home because he had decided that he did not want to be
cryopreserved. I was the team leader and Dr. Steve Harris was the medical
director for Biopreservation, which represented CryoCare (i.e., was the
contracted service provider for cryopreserving Timothy and other CryoCare
members at that time).

I had a long personal relationship with Timothy which lasted over a decade.
He spoke at the dedication of the Alcor facility in Riverside when Alcor
first moved there and I was Alcor's president. Timothy was a wild, wily,
and charasmatic person. I told him from the start of our relationship that
I thought 80% of what he said was just plain crap, and he looked me
straight in the eye and said "You've got that right, but it makes
wonderrrrfulll copy!" We kept in touch casually over the years, and I
attended some of his parties in Beverly Hills where the celeberities and
the drugs flowed through like water over Niagra. I watched his traveling
road show with Gordon Liddy on a couple of occasions and enjoyed the hell
of out it.

When CryoCare split with Alcor, Leary was, at least in my opinion,
genuninely discomfited. Two of the people who left Alcor for CryoCare,
Brenda Peters and Steve Harris, M/D. were close to Leary and he valued
their opinions highly. About a year after the split I was asked, as a
personal favor, to waive most my fee (as the contractor for CryoCrare) so
Leary could switch from Alcor to CryoCare. Frankly, I did this more as a
favor to the prerson asking, than for Timothy. I called Tim at the time and
asked him if he REALLY wanted to make this switch. He response was "I think
it will help bring the two organizationsget back together." I told him
that, if anything it would drive then further apart. He laughed and was

About a year before his death I was called by a woman who worked for
Timothy (and was later fired by him for trying to protect him and others)
and told he was dying of prostate cancer. Steve Harris and I immediately
went to visit him. Steve, who is board certified in both internal medicine
an gerontology examined him thoroughly: including doing a detailed
evaluation of his mental status. Steve order blood drawn, and the nurse
with us did so. As soon as the blood was soun down I noticed his plasma was
flourescent yellow: often a sign of liver disease. A full panel of blood
work was ordered (at BPI's expense) and it disclosed that Tim was:

a) sevrely malnourished (his albumbin was barely over 2 g/dly)
b) massively iron overloaded: he was one of the many people whith
undiagnosed hemochromatosis, an all too common genetic disorder which
results in excessive and very damaging absorbtion and retention of iron (a
potent driver of free radical reactions).
c) he had active infection with hepatitis C and had open lesions on his
hands and all sunlight exposed areas of his body (a result of the
d) His PSA (prostate specific antigen) was mildly elevated but not markedly
enough to be consistent with metastatic carcinoma of the prostate.

The results of his mental status evaluation disclosed that he had some
moderate deficits in short term memory, but was otherwise competent and NOT
in any way demented. He was at his usual playful self and refused to take
anything we said very serioiusly. His son Josh was there for some of these
earlier meetings and we established ground rules on what CryoCare (and
BioPreservation) could and would do if he decided to go through with his
plans for a live internet "broadcast" of his own "suicide."
Basically we said: "it's your shitick, it will likely badly compromise your
cryonics arrangements, but we WILL be there for you, if not in the room,
then waiting on the cul de sac in front of your house. Once there's a valid
death certificate: we'll move as fast and as well as well as we can to
cryopreserve you." We acquainted him in detail with the likely risks
(Medical Examiner involvement, autopsy. and so on) but assured him it was
his choice. He said "I'm more interested un making a statement about death
than I am in cryonics working for me."

One of Steve's and my main concerns was that Timothy did not really appear
to be dying of prostate cancer, or for that matter, anything truly
irreversible. Thus began a LONG and FRUSTRATING series of efforts to get
him imaged to determine if he indeed DID have metastatic cancer: we soon
discovered that he had NEVER been worked up by any rigorous means; he'd
just been told he "probably" had prostate cancer by a physician friend.
Time after time he would not show up for his CT scans. I almost ran out of
places that would even LISTEN to me after I tried to make an appointed for
his prescribed CT. I would show up to take him, and he would be gone out
who knows where. 

Finally, he did have a complete work-up, including a bone scan. There was
no evidence of metstatic prostate cancer. He refused a biopsy, so as far as
I know he may never even have had prostate cancer. Nor did he have liver
cancer: a frequent result of BOTH hepatitis C and hemochromatosis. Nor was
his liver very severely injured. He had mildly elevated transaminases, but
basically good liver function. His major probleme were a bad memory and
severe malnutrition. He often said he'd foreget to eat. 

We explained the situation to his son and to the primary group of people
living in the house and providing for his car, including the young wowan
who functioned as his secretary and whom he later egregiously discharged.
The door to his home was never locked and people came and went, smoked or
swallowed vitamin K (ketamine) or whatever drug they pleased. Alcohol of
kinds flowed freely, food was abundant and lavish, and Tim proceeded on in
happy chaos slowly starving to death while the sycophants reveled around
him. We set up vitamin boxes for him, Dr. Harris prescribed a good
supplemenetary diet, but Tim was having none of it. He ate little. What he
mostly liked was grass-laced brownies. Labs were drawn on a regular basis
and it was readily apparent that he was not so slowly simply dying of
malnutrition; he was wasting away quite rapidly both before our eyes and by
the numbers on the lab sheets.

 He contined to have intimate contact with many unsuspecting guests who did
not know that he had active hepatitis C. When his secretary and primary
caretaker insisted he take some basic precautions, such as covering his
open sores and not sharing joints or drinks with others without at least
first warning them of the risk of ingection, he discharged her.

As he became more incapacitated he began to have pain. At that point, I
arranged for Dr. David W. Crippem, director of Intensive Care Medicine at
St. Francis Hospital at the University of Pittsburg to fly out and see
Timothy. Crippemn is a world-leading expert on the management of pain and
agitation and is fine physician with a deep love of the '60's and a great
admiration for Timothy. They hit it off wonderfully, and Dave was able to
get Tim to get some rational pain management (in addition to the nitrous
oxide tank in his bedroom!) and to annange/ persuade him to get into
hospice. This was something none of the rest of us could do.

Charles Platt, Carlotta Pengelley (a nurse and CryoCare rep) as well as
many others of us spent time with Timothy trying to get him to eat and to
ensure that he was well cared for. Josh was often away at school, and,
especially after the arrival of John Perry Barlowe (of the Gratwful Dead)
Tim's basic care became dangerously imperiled. Charles found him one day
with dried blood covering part of his face and a deep cut on his scalp
after he had spent the night on the floor while trying to get the to
bathroom unsuccessfully. Where was everyybody else that night? Why they
were out partying at a rave doing MMDA, "vitamin K' and LSD.

As Tim's health declined the situation in the house became more chaotic and
crowded. BPI had set up a basic transport capability in one corner of Tim's
living room consisting of a portable ice bath, CPR machine, and oxygen and
transport medications. Charles Platt has a wonderful photo of this
equipment rearranged and covered with icons, dried flowers, mandalas,
incense, and who knows what else. Every now and then something important
and expensive would turn up missing.

Meanwhile, Tim was having the time of his life. He didn't seem to mind the
episodes of neglect which resulted in falls, cuts, bleeding, and risk to
those unsuspecting people around him. He talked frequently of his upcoming
internet suicide an installed two programmers in his garage (which was
draped with fantastic colored cloths) to work on the "big web suicide."

After another serious fall when Timothy was left unattended, and more
pilferage of equipment (there WAS NO place to lock down anything in the
house) Tim announced that he'd definitely decided on a date for his public
suicide. Per our prior agreement we told him we were going to remove the
equipment from the living room, and instead deploy the BPI ambulance
outside the house on a 24-hour basis. The BPI ambulance was fully equipped
with complete crdiopulmonary bypass capabililty, commuications equipment,
AND had the possibility of making it throughthe clot of journalists and
paparrazzi that were expected to completely fill and cut off ingress or
egress to the cul de sac on which he lived before or immediately after his
death. Everyone in the house had a cell phone, or was busy calling some
exotic place in the world at Tim's expense. (I still wonder what his phone
bill must have been!) The prospect of being trapped inside that media
circus and unable to move, even if the M.E. gave a release number and
waived autopsy was not an attractive one: but, at least with a fully decked
out modular ambulance (to which we'd illegally restored the labeling,
lights and sirens) gave us some hope of getting through the malestrom of
media everybody was anticipating.

Pulling back to the street also protected BPI and CryoCare staff against:
a) arrest for assisting in a suicide, b) confiscation of our equipment
(which,the  financial loss aside, would have endangered other CryoCare
member;s arangements and wellbeing), and c) arrest for being in a place
where there was widespread, unabashed, and very visible use illegal drugs
which carry substantial jail time. Several of our staff were medical
professionals with small children and families to support.E xposintg them
to the risk of jail just wasn't in cards. Nor would it have been the moral,
let alone the practical thing to do!

A few days after we started our vigil on the street, Tim asked to see me. I
was escorted to the back of his house to his bedroom which was filled with
somewherebetween 15 to 20 people, most of whom I did not know, as well as
countless candles, flowers and burning incense. It was beautiful in an
ethereal way. Carlotta Pengrelley accompanied me. Tim told me he had
thought it over and decided NOT to be frozen. He said he wanted to face
death without any seeming cowardice, and told me what I must confess had
seemed obvious to me for a long time: he thought cryonics was a great
attention getter, but he really wasn't interested in it personally. "I've
had a great run he said, and Im really sorry to dissapoint you." I told him
that I was NOT disappointed, that it was HIS decision and his alone. I also
told him that I thought he shouKid, you just  don't get it, I want out not
in!" It was a very emotional moment. I know both Carlotta and I were
crying. I told him if that CryoCare, BPI or I were a bad match for him and
the style in which he wanted to go, there was a younger crowd at Alcor
(Tanya Jones, Ralph Whelan, Derek Ryan and other younger people closer to
his "set" were then the suspension team) that he would proably feel closer
to and more able to relate to. He said not "Not a chance. It's all going to
be guys carrying clipboards and wearing white coats in the future. You're
the best and I want uou to know that." I asked him a few more questions to
make sure he was SURE and that the he was oriented. There was no doubt in
mind, despite the candles and the incense and the colorful people, that he
was as serious as Timothy Leary ever got. Being frozen was turning into a
pain in the ass, and Timothy Leary had no patience with anything that
didn't offer gratification quickly and easily.

We took our leave of him and drove the long drive back to Rancho Cucamonga
from Beverly Hills.

In the days that followed I talked with Tim twice. Once right before he was
prepatring to take his grandaughter to visit his wife's grave; he said he
was "ready to go and had no second thoughts." I told him it would bea
kidness to talk with several of his old cryonics friends who were
desperately trying to reach him; that they needed to hear how he felt from
him. He was dismissive of this and told me"they'd figure it out or they
wouldn't, and in the long run they'd believe what they wanted to believe."
Boy, was he ever right there.

Three days later Josh called to tell me his father had died.

Looking back on it, Timothy Leary was like many great men I've known or
read about. He was marvelously charismatic, incredibly entertaining, and
not infrequently cruel. He felt he was different than other men and didn't
have to play or live by their rules. There can be grandeur in that. But
there can also be baseness, and the source of deep hurt. Timothy used
people heartlessly and thoughtlessly at times, causing them great pain,
financial loss and, I believe, in some cases, even their lives. I came to
know him very well. I think he often felt (if he noticed it) that the harm
he caused was his right to inflict or was recompensed by the marvels he
gave the world. In my mind, anyway, in the final analysis Tim lived driven
and motivated first and foremost by things which gave him immediate
pleasure, and those things were often the very things that caused many
other people great upset, discomfort and anger. He enjoyed rattling
people's cages. His charm, wit and intellect allowed him to do that with
relative impunity, particularly in the last years of his life.

I do not regret having known him. The out of pocket dollar price in the
final analysis was well in excess of $5,000 not including the expert
medical care, airfare and so on he was provided. For others the cost was
far higher. 

In any event, there is no question in mind that he made his own decision
(with much input from John Perry Barlowe) with respect to cryonics. And in
the final analysis I think he, like so many others, just got bored with it
all. "een there, done that" as he often said.

I cant't recall ANY memos about Tim except ones relating to his medical
care. Charles Platt, CryoCare's presiden, in particular, treated him with
incredible patience, and with great dignity and respect.

 My relationship w8ith Tim was more feisty and I think more honest than
most of those who worshipped him. He loved it. "Lighten up!" he'd tell me.

Good advice I think. Tim, if you're out there anywhere, I'm still trying to
follow it.

Mike Darwin

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