Interview with Andy Zawacki, COO of the Cryonics Institute.
What is your role?
My "role" is as an employee of the Cryonics Institute. I am also a director.
How long have you been practicing this, and in what numbers?
I have been working here for over 33 years.
How do I become a Member? Is it an annual fee or one off payment? Do I have to be accepted?
You become a member by completing a membership application and returning it to us with your membership fee. Annual dues are required for annual members and a one-time payment is required for a lifetime member. The type of membership you join under is up to you.
Can you take me through the process, from moment of death to storage?
When a person dies, they are ideally cooled in water ice and their heart function is maintained. They will receive some different medications to stabilise them and they will be transported to our facility. Once at our facility they will be perfused and then cooled an placed in a cryostat.
How is the science exploring the methods to 'unfreeze' and revive a stored body?
We are currently not funding any research projects.
Also - in 33 years, have you funded any research? As it seems if I am going to ever be reawakened, this might be important? We have funded research before, but are currently not doing so. There are plenty of other companies doing research in cryobiology. If you do some research using google, you should be able to find some articles showing the advancements made so far.
Can you elaborate further on any advancements made?
Not at this time, no.
Can I be visited once in storage? Can I be seen?
You can't be viewed once you are in storage.
Can I have objects, sentimental things etc, placed in there with me?
No objects are allowed with you in the cryostat, but we can store small items in your personal file, or you can purchase a memorabilia storage drawer for any larger items you wish to keep.
Are the bodies checked or stimulated in anyway whilst frozen?
The cryostats containing the patients are checked every day.
Just to clarify, you can't guarantee anything in regards to coming ‘back to life’?
There are no guarantees.
Is there any truth in Walt Disney being a pioneer and one of the first cryogenic ‘frozen’ patients?
No. There is no truth to the Walt Disney rumours.
Maybe it was all part of his plan. The weight gain, the fascination with private jets, the karate lessons. Maybe he always knew that one day he would hightail it out of Graceland, but I don’t think so. Elvis wasn’t one to plot. He loved Ginger and he loved Lisa Marie and maybe he even loved Priscilla but when it came down to it what he loved the most was being alone. It killed him to lie. Lying’s a sin.
But he made good on the promise he made to himself and now he’s here. It wasn’t like Memphis and it wasn’t like Tupelo but he felt at home in this secret solitude. While he rarely left the house, at least for the first few years, most of the neighbors didn’t recognize him, and those who did had the decency to keep quiet — a covenant only tenable in a small village. Eventually he encountered an image of his grave. He read the inscription from his father that adorned the memorial:
God saw that he needed some rest and Called him home to be with Him. We miss you, Son and Daddy. I thank god That He gave us you as our son.
He wept, but the tears weren’t all sad. What made them sweeter was that he knew the soil beneath the plaque enveloped no body.
When he was ten years old, Elvis made his debut at the Mississippi-Alabama State Fair and Dairy Show. Without accompaniment, he sang “Old Shep,” a song about the death of a young boy’s beloved dog. He came in 5th place and won $5. If you can, play it now.
With hands that were trembling I picked up my gun And aimed it at Shep's faithful head I just couldn't do it, I wanted to run I wish they would shoot me instead
(It’s a song that always makes my dad cry, but I don’t think I’m alone in this.)
Old Shep, he has gone where the good doggies go And no more with old Shep will I roam But if dogs have a heaven there's one thing I know Old Shep has a wonderful home
He often thinks about that October afternoon, singing in the tent, dressed in his little cowboy get-up. He still sings in the house and it makes him smile to know that only he can hear it. His wonderful home. Heaven on Earth. Elvis is now 83.
Ginny Projects is pleased to present Some People are Worth Melting For, a group exhibition about self- preservation and self-effacement. It’s a show tucked away in the Brecon Beacons in a house that is perfect for getting away from it all.
— Daniel Merritt