healthHealth and Medicine

Footage Of Early Attempts At Cryonics Has Emerged, And Maybe We'll Give It A Miss

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

clockFeb 23 2018, 15:12 UTC

'Cryonics' is the belief that a person’s body can be frozen at death, stored in a cryogenic vessel, and later brought back to life. Public domain footage / YouTube.

Cryonics is a pretty speculative process. Essentially, you get yourself cooled to incredibly low temperatures in order to preserve your tissue, like a chilly version of mummification. Then you hope that in the future, scientists will have figured out how to reverse the process and revive you, at the same time curing whatever it was that killed you in the first place.

You're also hoping that the company you stored your body with hasn't gone bust in the meantime, and had your body repossessed or destroyed.


So, cryonics – not to be confused with cryogenics – is pretty experimental, to say the least. It was even more so back in the early days.

Footage of that time has emerged online this week, showing the process as it was in its infancy. With equipment that's straight out of BioShock or even Frankenstein, a team of scientists from the Arizona Cryonic Society show off their process in footage from 1967.

Hopeful people have had their bodies stored.

It went something like this:

"A freezing liquid replaces the blood supply, and the subject is wrapped in aluminium foil and placed in a capsule at 220 degrees below zero centigrade." 


The model is placed in a tube and wrapped in foil like a baked potato that is vaguely nervous about what's about to happen next. Were she actually having the procedure done, she would then be stored inside the tube at very low temperatures.

However, as the video explains, scientists at the time were not entirely convinced that the procedure was the answer to life after death.

"[The Cryonic Society] believe that cryobiology, the freezing of biological matter, is the answer. They propose freezing bodies in cold storage capsules, scientists are mostly skeptical." 

As are scientists today. The Cryogenic Society of America Inc, dedicated to the "art and science of achieving extremely low temperatures," is quite adamant: "Body Freezing is NOT Cryogenics. We do NOT endorse this belief, and indeed find it untenable."



Not the most dignified way to be preserved after you die. Public domain footage / Youtube.

So far, no one has been successfully revived after being cryonically frozen, but that doesn't stop people from getting preserved like this after their death. The Cryonics Society claims that almost 2,000 people have been cryogenically frozen since the first person, psychologist Dr James Bedford, was frozen in 1967.

The main problem facing cryonics that needs to be overcome is that ice crystals forming in your cells will eventually destroy them entirely, making them impossible to restore.


At the moment the most likely scenario is that, rather than wake up in the future having been revived by future scientists, you will become and likely remain an unrevivable popsicle.

healthHealth and Medicine
  • tag
  • cryogenics,

  • Cryonics,

  • han solo,

  • brought back to life