X-Message-Number: 662
Subject: CRYONICS - Science Report 2/3
From:  (Edgar W. Swank)
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 92 14:19:45 PST

SCIENCE REPORT by Peter Christiansen
(Reprinted from The Immortalist, February, 1992) - Part 2/3


All of us of course know about Chatsworth, when families of suspension
patients stopped paying for their maintenance and the patients were
subsequently abandoned.  That single, isolated, never again repeated
incident was basis enough for some bureaucrats at the state department
of Health Services and the state Cemetery board, and at least one
reporter at the Los Angeles Times to denounce cryonics as a "fraud."

In a previous issue of THE IMMORTRALIST we reported that the
California Supreme Court has ruled that families of nearly 16,500
decedents may now sue for emotional stress caused by media revelations
of widespread mishandling of human remains by various Los Angeles area
mortuaries and crematoriums including mass cremations, commingling of
human remains with non-human waste, and the plundering of bodies for
gold and salable organs.

Now a part of that incredible but absolutely true story has been told
by author Ken Englade in A FAMILY BUSINESS (St.Martin's Paperbacks,

Englade tells the story of the Scone family.  For more than 60 years,
Southern Californians entrusted the Scone Family's Lamb Funeral Home
with the bodies of their loved ones.  But the heirs to this
fourth*generation funeral empire betrayed that trust with a series of
gruesome crimes against the dead.  At the center was a charming
sociopath, David Scone and his cold, calculating parents, Jerry and
Laurieanne Sconce.

"At Pasadena Crematorium it was standard operating procedure to
examine the incoming bodies for gold.  Normally David did the job
himself.  As the bodies came in, he would take a screwdriver and pry
open the mouths, searching for a gleaming molar.

"Sometimes the other workers would screen the bodies before David came
in.  When they discovered a body with dental gold, they would call it
to David's attention by drawing a happy face on the cardboard sheet
all bodies destined for cremation were wrapped in along with the
letters AU -- the scientific symbol for gold.

"Far from keeping this all a secret, David frequently joked about it.
He could often be seen whistling while leaving the cold room, another
extraction completed.  One time, a co-worker recalled, David's mother
Laurieanne looked up from her paperwork and smiled at David's good
humor.  "How much AU did you get today,honey?"  she asked sweetly.

"David grinned and showed her the cup he was carrying.  It was half
full of teeth..."

David Scone was called the Cremation King of the West, whose workers
bragged that they once crammed 38 cadavers into two small ovens.  He
then doled out the mixed remains to unsuspecting relatives.  When his
grandfather refused to keep his hands out of the business, prosecutors
charge, Scone plotted to have his grandparents killed and he may have
plotted, and in at least one instance actually committed, the murder
of his competitors in the cremation business.

The importance of this book to cryonics, is not, it seems to me,
simply that it puts the funeral and cemetery industry in a bad light.
There are after all decent and ethical morticians and cemetery
operators including several who are members of ACS, CI and ALCOR, and
morticians have generally been among the professionals most
cooperative with cryonics organizations.  This book does however
dramatize the double standard that government bureaucrats and others
have frequently applied to cryonics.  Cryonics which is tiny by
comparison with the "well regulated" multi-billion dollar
funeral/cemetery industry, and which is largely self-regulated, has in
fact an almost unblemished record of ethical and decent behavior
toward its patients and their families as opposed to the long and
seemingly unending history of sordid behavior that has been documented
in thefuneral/cemetery industry.  Even more importantly however, this
book dramatizes, by way of contrast, to anyone who is at all familiar
with cryonics, the profound respect i.e.  reverence for the deceased
or deanimated that characterizes the cryonics movement.  My wife, who
is not a cryonicist but who reads many of the publications has
remarked many times about the caring attitude toward our patients
which can be readily discerned even in the protocol of a suspension.
(Personally,I am not at all sure suspension protocols should be
included in our general readership publications.  Perhaps it would be
more appropriate to make such detailed scientific reports "available
upon request".)  Even the patients at Chatsworth were not abandoned
casually, and they were certainly not robbed of their gold fillings or
other salable body parts.  And while all of us in cryonics have
probably privately entertained thoughts of killing one or another
during some heated discussion of some particularly hot issue, so far
our assaults against each other have been largely verbal.

I found this book very informative and useful though I am hesitant to
recommend it.  First, this book is definitely not for the squeamish.
It is gruesome although necessarily so.  The story it tells is
gruesome.  On the other hand in addition to acquiring some significant
new information, reading this book also helped to recharge my
commitment to cryonics.

FOOTNOTE:  The scandal continues.  The Los Angeles Police department
temporarily halted an investigation of numerous improper burials at
the Wilmington Cemetery to allow cemetery officials to find and rebury
caskets and attend to grieving relatives.  A total of 176 caskets had
to be unearthed and reburied because they rested only inches below the
surface or weren't located where records said they were supposed to
be.  Several caskets were buried without concrete liners or vaults and
the remains of a five year old boy buried two years ago were covered
by a small sheet of gauze.


In connection with the FDAs prosecution of Saul Kent and the Life
Extension Foundation I recently wrote the FDA under The Freedom of
Information Act and requested copies of certain documents related to
their conduct of the case.  The information I requested is public
information, exactly the kind of information we (U.S. citizens and
taxpayers) were assured when the Freedom ofInformation Act was passed,
we would no longer be denied by federal officials and bureaucrats.

In response to my request, I received a batch of 92 microfiche.  The
FDA assured me these microfiche contain all the information I had
requested and suggested that to read the microfiche I take them to a
local public library or to a private microfilm service firm.  The FDA
even advised me how I could locate a private microfilm service firm
"by looking in the Yellow Pages under Microfilm Services, Equipment
and Supplies."  And these are the people who want to take total
control of our bodies and our health?

Especially interesting however was the last paragraph in the cover
letter the FDA sent me accompanying the microfiche and signed by
Gerald H. Deighton, Director, Freedom ofInformation Staff.  "While we
believe that an adequate search of appropriate files was conducted for
the records you requested, you have the right to appeal this
determination that no other records exist which would be responsive to
your request.  Should you wish to do so, you must send your appeal
within 30 days of the date of this letter...."  Sounds fair.
Unfortunately however, the letter was not dated!  So much for due
process at the FDA.


"The murky view which some scientists advocate as to the inevitable
end of every living thing on Earth should not now be regarded as
axiomatic.  The finer part of humanity will, in all likelihood, never
perish--they will migrate from sun to sun as each sun dies.  And so
there is no end to life, to intelligence, and to the perfection of
humanity.  Its progress is everlasting."

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Russian rocketry pioneer, c. 1910

>From R. Buckminster Fuller

"Medical science, through development of interchangeable human parts,
both organic and inorganic, may be about to develop the continuous or
deathless man."

1964, TheSaturday Review of Literature

"What is developing on a long-range basis is that once born, some men
will probably live in excellent health and vigor to great age ---
possibly ad infinitum."

1969 in Utopia or Oblivion

"There is absolutely nothing that cannot be done."

quoted from Buckminster Fuller, Readers Digest Magazine, 1985


 (Edgar W. Swank)
SPECTROX SYSTEMS +1.408.252.1005  Silicon Valley, Ca

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=662