Skip to main content

While it might sound like something from a science fiction novel, it is not. The Alcor Life Extension Foundation located in Arizona houses 199 people and 100 dead pets that relatives and owners hope to one day revive.

The owner, Max More, runs the facility that currently houses all the relatives and pets in liquid nitrogen. It is his hopes and the hopes of their families that one day, when technology has advanced enough to treat them, they will be able to remove them from their tanks and begin reviving them.


Most of the people and animals inside the tanks have terminal illnesses that there is currently no known cure. According to More, the patients are only ‘legally’ dead, but not biologically. Because of that, they can supposedly be revived at a later time. The process Max uses includes declaring the patient ‘legally’ dead, before soaking them in an ice bath. Then, a mechanical CPR device is used to make sure that they are protected against cell damage. His process is referred to as something called cryonics, and while it has been used for quite some time, he adds a very ‘scientific’ spin to things.

Additionally, More claims that this procedure prevents them from returning to consciousness and also prevents blood clots.

“We don’t want to freeze the patient. We want to vitrify them… And the reason is that once you cool to very cold below freezing, the solution, instead of crystallizing, will just get thicker and thicker, and it’s like a glassy block holding all the cells in place without any internal structure and so does no damage,” said More.

“And once we reach that point, around minus 110 degrees, the body becomes truly solid and absolutely nothing is happening in the body. There’s no biochemical activity whatsoever, certainly no neurological activity. So at that point, it doesn’t matter whether you wait a day or 100 years, you’re going to be just the same as when you started”.

However, despite More’s claims, others are not so sure. Dr. Arthur Caplan, a director of the division of medical ethics, says that cryonics is “pretty science fiction, and it’s naive.”

“It’s almost like what you’d be thinking about in a college dormitory discussion, ‘if I could just freeze myself and then defrost myself kind of like a bag of peas and wind up way in the future, wouldn’t that be cool?’ Sounds okay, but then you realize how much we are products of our own time,” Caplan says.