cryonaut image In “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, four old friends who have wasted their lives are given water from the supposed Fountain of Youth. After they drink the water, the three men begin to fight over the woman, whom they all had fancied in their youth, and in their tussling, they knock over the vase with the precious water.

Dr. Heidegger learns his lesson. He is through with trying to make people young again, but the three old folks come away from the experiment with a different idea. They want to travel to Florida to drink from the original Fountain of Youth. You can read the whole clever story here.

By the way, I’ve drunk from the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida. The water tastes like it has sulfur in it (stinky-egg scent).

What Nathaniel Hawthorne never could have imagined is a real company that freezes people to somehow revive them later. Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona, freezes bodies in the hopes of resuscitating them later when medical science has found a cure for the diseases.

“Alcor intervenes in the dying process as soon as possible after legal death to preserve the brain as well as possible,” according to alcor.org. Cryonics is the name of this freezing procedure, and people undergoing this procedure are called cryonauts.

Famous Red Sox baseball player Ted Williams was frozen upon death, as was Williams’ son in 2004 and Alcor’s former vice-president Jerry Leaf. Muhammad Ali, Simon Cowell, and Britney Spears all have expressed interest in being cryogenically frozen after death, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.

Now it’s your turn: If you had the chance to be frozen upon death and possibly thawed out later, would you take that chance? Write your opinion. Or write a story about someone being frozen. Will they be successfully thawed? What will happen in your character’s “second life”?

Copyright © 2015 by Sharon Watson

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