X-Message-Number: 3304
Date:  Thu, 20 Oct 94 01:15:54 
Subject: CRYONICS posting, proposal

On a recent posting, and a proposal

Id like to make some comments on Dave Pizers recent posting 
(message #3286), then go on to a tentative proposal that I think everyone 
should consider. I wont deal with all of Daves message, but just the 
part that raises concerns about cryonics organizations misrepresenting 
themselves, and the possibility of it leading to failure that takes people 
by surprise. I think these are legitimate concerns (which is also echoed 
by Charles Platt, message #3294), and should be raised. And I think 
Dave had good intentions in his posting (as is true in general), and 
accomplished good things.

On the other hand, Im also concerned about the issue of accusing 
people of wrongdoing or any impropriety. This is a serious matter and 
should not be undertaken lightly. I think there are times when it 
*should* be done and to fail to do so would be very wrong. However, 
one must have good evidence and be very careful about the 
conclusions that are drawn from it. In particular, as has been pointed 
out, we are dealing in many cases with still-animate people whom we 
dont want to accuse falsely.

In the case of Daves posting, I get the impression that *his* impression 
is that things were *always* pretty bad with the two organizations Saul 
Kent and Curtis Henderson were instrumental in furthering, CSNY and 
CryoSpan. He says, I had heard vaguely that from beginning to end, 
CSNY and CryoSpan were always short of money and having 
problems. If it is true that very serious problems existed all during the 
lifetime of  the two organizations, then *any* promotional literature that 
created an optimistic impression could be cited as evidence of 
dishonesty. This would include the two pamphlets Dave refers to, and it 
would raise moral questions about the two principals, Saul and Curtis. 
On the other hand, I dont think it has been established that the positive 
literature was produced at a time when the two companies had so much 
to hide that the literature constituted a clear case of dishonesty or fraud. 
The organizations, for example, existed for several years before even 
one person was frozen, and I am not aware of any great financial 
difficulties during that period. The first patient that CSNY could be said 
to have lost was Andrew Mihok, who was frozen for a few hours 
around 20 November 1968, whereupon his relatives decided to 
discontinue the freezing. This, by the way, was duly reported in the 
CSNY newsletter (then called *Cryonics Reports*) in January the 
following year. After this, as far as I can tell, CSNYs patient population 
stayed intact (no losses or transfers) until about August 1972, when 
Steven Mandell was transferred (at the insistence of his mother, who 
had retained legal custody), to Nelsons organization in California. (And 
Curtis has told me that the transfer was made because the mother didnt 
want to pay the price he was asking and Nelson asked less. Nelson, on 
the other hand, placed two other patients in the capsule with Mandell 
when it arrived. All these patients appear to have been lost around Oct. 
1974, though Nelson was very secretive and the facts did not become 
public for several years.)

Probably the promotional literature was produced during the mid- to 
late 60s when its reasonable to assume that things were not so shaky 
that the end seemed imminent. (It should be checked for dates; 
apparently this was not done.) By the time the patients started being 
transferred, the newsletter was no longer in publication. (The last issue, 
under the title, *Immortality*, bears the date of Spring 1971.) Im also 
not aware that any false impressions were created by distributing the 
promotional literature years after its original printing, when the 
organizations in question were either in serious difficulty or no longer 

Dave says:
>What  I  dont like is that now everyone says that Saul  and 
>Curtis  were struggling and it wasnt their fault they went out of 
>business yet at  the same time as all these problems Saul was 
>publishing brochures that made it look like things were great at 
>CSNY and CryoSpan.  Now that Saul is with a new company I
>dont want to see that happen again.  
Again there are legitimate concerns here and Dave has good intentions. 
However, the conclusion that ... at the same time as all these problems 
Saul was publishing brochures that made it look like things were great 
... is drawn too hastily. More evidence is needed than is cited.

Lets be careful. Records (our best indication of what really happened) 
should be carefully checked. For that to happen, they should be widely 
available. At present this is not usually the case, but it could be and 
(except in certain cases, e.g. confidential records for patients presently 
in storage, mainly more recent records) it should be. Toward that end, I 
propose creation of a Cryonics Historical Society. Its purposes, among 
other things, would be to raise funds, locate and copy records of 
historical value in the cryonics movement, and make these records 
available to all interested parties at reasonable cost. CHS would not be 
affiliated with any existing cryonics or cryonics promotional 
organization and its membership would be open to all. Its members 
would receive some sort of benefit, e.g. a newsletter, but on the other 
hand, would be expected to contribute financially. Details would have to 
be worked out.

I propose this idea with reluctance, despite its appeal to me and my 
own interest in cryonics history. I am not *just* a cryonics historian and 
I dont consider this to be my major calling. It will take 
*work*--volunteer work--and my time is limited, as is so many others. 
And I will probably end up doing a lot or most of the work in this case, 
other than what is done by contract, but I think the effort should be 
made. Probably the first major project for CHS, should it come into 
being as I envisage, would be to copy the large collection of CSNY 
records now housed at Alcor (though still the property of Curtis 
Henderson). These could be put on CD-roms which would be a 
convenient, relatively inexpensive format for researchers. Originally I 
had planned to thoroughly research this and report estimated costs, etc. 
Due to the press of other commitments however, and despite some very 
promising leads as to copying services, I do not yet have the complete 
information I had hoped for. In a few days I should have more to report. 
Meanwhile though I offer this idea for readers to consider, and I think 
the press of events, with the continuing postings relating to cryonics 
history, makes it better to offer it now, without further delay. To put 
money where my mouth is I also hereby pledge $200 to the project of 
copying the CSNY files, and ask readers to consider whether they too 
think this worthwhile enough to deserve a donation. (Dont send money 
yet, however! Wait till the organization is in place.)

I hope everyone will agree that cryonics history is important, and that it 
should be accessible to all with a genuine interest in what really 

Mike Perry

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