Man pays $50k to go in deep-freeze when he dies

By Greg Ansley

Deck Hazen. Photo / Supplied
Deck Hazen. Photo / Supplied

Meet Deck Hazen, time traveller.

Mr Hazen, a retired IT specialist living in Kerikeri, is one of 10 start-up investors in an Australian cryogenics facility expected to open within two years to store bodies in the expectation that science will eventually bring them back to life.

"It's a crap shoot," said American-born Mr Hazen, who moved to New Zealand in 1986 after meeting his wife, Marion, during the installation of a computer system for the former BCNZ.

"There are no guarantees, but I think that the technology and the people and our world have interesting prospects ahead, and I'm very keen to see that."

Mr Hazen has invested A$50,000 (NZ$60,900) in Stasis Systems, a not-for-profit company that intends building a facility in regional Australia to preserve bodies at cryogenic temperatures of -196C.

The facility, only the second to be built outside the United States, will initially provide storage for 60 bodies but is designed to expand with demand.

More than 250 people have been cryogenically preserved in the US and Russia, with about 2000 more signing contracts for the future storage of their bodies.

Mr Hazen has been following the technology of cryogenics since the early 1970s and heard about Stasis Systems through the fledgling NZ Cryogenics Group and its Australian counterpart.

He was sufficiently impressed to sign up, even though he will know it worked only if he is revived at some point in the future when scientists have worked out how to rejuvenate whole bodies rather than single cells - as at present - as well as cures for whatever finally ended his life.

"People who are inclined to want to see the future have to be optimists," Mr Hazen said.

"You have to believe the future is going to be better and we have to believe that technology is going to play a part in that betterment."

Mr Hazen said there were creatures that could withstand the effects of freezing, such as frogs that could be frozen rock-hard in nitrogen, then revived with working memories.

Their ability to learn their way through mazes had been demonstrated in experiments.

People who had drowned in cold water could also be revived.

"These sorts of things, combined with a blind faith or hopeless optimism about how things will work in the future - an understanding of nanotechnology, for example, and the potential that holds - suggests to me that it's possible," Mr Hazen said.

"The other side of that is that if you don't undergo that sort of operation, you're surely not going to see the future.

"If you undergo the operation now, there's a slim chance you could come out the other side and see what the future looks like."

Nor is he overly concerned that a future world may not want to bring the cryogenic survivors of our time back to life.

"If you had the opportunity of talking to somebody that had actually lived in the 18th century, wouldn't you be curious about a personal, first-hand explanation of what life was like back in that period?"

And Mr Hazen believes he could handle the shock of an entirely new world. He said he would miss loved ones, as he missed the relatives he had already lost in this life.

"But by focusing on the tasks of the day, making new friends, exploring the wonders that are sure to be available when one emerges into the future, I think you would go through the grieving process and come out the other end, hopefully strong enough to carry on."

His wife will not be with him. Mr Hazen said she was not optimistic about the future and thought that "all this stuff is nonsense".

But Mr Hazen reckons it's worth the shot, long as it may be: "I want to stand on the bridge of the Enterprise from Star Trek, exploring new worlds with Captain Kirk."

- NZ Herald

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