by Art Quaife
Several members of the Bay Area Cryonics Society have become friends with novelist Robert Anton Wilson -- an immortalist writer and organizer -- and his family. On October 2, his 15 year old daughter Patricia Luna Wilson was beaten to death in an apparent robbery. Her body wasn't discovered by police until about one day later, and then was taken to the county morgue. Mike McNeil, a close friend of the family, then contacted Paul Segall and Art Quaife concerning cryonic suspension possibilities. The situation was very grim, since Patricia was not a Suspension Member and hardly any money was available for suspension. The Coroner intended to perform an autopsy; and there was already a long time delay.
It was agreed that our best hope was to request the Coroner not to damage or section the brain during the autopsy, and then to immediately deliver it to us for freezing. The coroner's office was very cooperative. After receiving the opinion of their counsel that our purposes were lawful,, they conducted the autopsy and released the intact brain to Trans Time. We froze it to dry ice temperature, transferred it to a thick walled aluminum container, and further cooled it to liquid nitrogen temperature.
Neither BACS nor the Wilson family are under any false illusions concerning the future prognosis for Patricia Wilson. At the very least, this experiment will yield information concerning the long term viability of nervous tissue preserved in liquid nitrogen. Beyond that, Trans Time is preserving most of the information that described Patricia: genetic information encoded in the chromosomal DNA, along with psychological information (memories) stored in the neuronal weave and the macromolecular substructure of the brain. Although this brain was badly damaged by the long ischemic time delay,, we should remember that the brain is a highly redundant organ, with specific memories stored in many different locations. So it is not ruled out that in the future, scientists may proceed as Paul Segal suggests: clone a genetically identical twin to Patricia from surviving brain cells, retrieve the information that is stored in her frozen brain, and restore this information to the cloned brain. If all of this succeeds., we will have the luxury of time to investigate whether the resulting person is really Patricia Wilson, or only a very good imitation.
What are the expectations of the family members?
Here is the eloquent statement to the press by Robert Anton Wilson:
"We have had the brain of our murdered daughter Patricia Luna Wilson, preserved by the Bay Area Cryonics Society in the hope that future scientific research will allow her to live again through cloning.
"We have taken this step as an expression of our belief in life, our reverence for life -- a reverence that Luna manifested every day of her 15 years. Luna loved people and animals; she was a pacifist and a vegetarian. It is our fervent hope that, whether or not cloning eventually succeeds in this case, scientific research will be aided and this will be one contribution to humanity's conquest of death.
"More importantly, we support the quest for life extension and scientific immortality because it is a fit memorial to Luna, who so loved life, who was so boundless in joy and affection.
"Above all, by this scientific endeavor we express and commemorate our faith in life and our total rejection of death and violence. By this attempt to preserve life, we say "No" to the dealers in death and violence. We say "No" to the governments that use mass murder as policy. We say "No" to an entertainment industry based on the pornography of violence and the prurience of sadism. And we say "No" to the creature who, in his blind ignorance of the value of life, killled Luna to steal a few dollars."
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