Monday, 12 January 2015

Happy Bedford Day! ... Death thou shalt die!

It was the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt that started the fashion. To vanquish the ravages of Time and rend themselves Immortal, they decreed that their mortal remains be embalmed and then wrapped in strips of linen, a process known as mummification.

Centuries later the practice was back in fashion, this time using a process of cryogenics whereby the body of the defunct is frozen at an ultra-cold temperature in the hope that one day science will be able to once more restore the subject to life.

The first person to be frozen this way was Dr James Bedford, a psychology professor at the University of California. 

His rise to Immortality  began in 1965 and was sparked by an advertisement of the Life Extension Society (LES) looking for volunteers for a new technique of cryogenics that the organisation was pioneering.

Dr Bedford duly presented himself as a candidate for the exciting new experiment, and on 12 January 1967 became LES's and the world's first frozen mummy.

The first stage of the process was to remove all blood from the body and replace it with a fluid aimed at suppressing the crystalisation of the body's cells. The body was then frozen to a temperature of minus 200 degrees Celsius, and placed in a hermetically sealed container. And then the long wait began.

Dr Bedford's frozen body was initially housed in the garage of a certain Dr Robert Prehoda, but Dr Prehoda's wife was so panic stricken each time she went to the garage to get into her car, that it was decided to find a more suitable location. It currently resides in Arizona.

James Bedford is still awaiting his resurrection, and until the day arrives January 12th of each year is celebrated as Bedford Day.

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