Is That What Love is? The Hostile...
A Literal Death Sentence One unpleasant issue in cryonics is the "hostile wife" phenomenon. The authors of this article know of a number of high profile cryonicists who need to hide their cryonics activities from their wives and ex-high profile cryonicists who had to choose between cryonics and their relationship. We also know of men who would like to make cryonics arrangements but have not been able to do so because of resistance from their wives or girlfriends. In such cases, the female partner can be described as nothing less than hostile toward cryonics. As a result, these men face certain death as a consequence of their partner's hostility. While it is not unusual for any two people to have differing points of view regarding cryonics, men are more interested in making cryonics arrangements. A recent membership update from the Alcor Life Extension Foundation reports that 667 males and 198 females have made cryonics arrangements. Although no formal data are available, it is common knowledge that a substantial number of these female cryonicists signed up after being persuaded by their husbands or boyfriends. For whatever reason, males are more interested in cryonics than females. These issues raise an obvious question: are women more hostile to cryonics than men? There is no direct answer to this question since the requisite data have not been collected. However, both the gravity and magnitude of the problem, as we are about to detail, suggests this as a fertile, if not urgent, area for future research. One
consequence of men being more interested in cryonics than women is that heterosexual men are more often faced with hostile wives and girlfriends than the other way round. While this may sound alarming, such disagreements can easily be overcome if the love and trust in a relationship is strong enough that the disagreeing party can still cede the right to make (and keep) cryonics arrangements to the other individual. However, even formerly amenable wives can become increasingly hostile, frequently in accordance with their husbands' increasingly personal and active involvement in cryonics. An Historical Overview From its inception in 1964, cryonics has been known to frequently produce intense hostility from spouses who are not cryonicists. While this phenomenon, as previously noted, is mostly confined to hostility from wives or girlfriends, rather than husbands or boyfriends of cryonicists, there are exceptions. One of us (Darwin) knows of two divorces resulting from hostile husbands, and several cases where the husband has delivered an ultimatum to his wife to either cease involvement with cryonics or face dissolution of the marriage.1 An example of male spousal hostility to cryonics is the case of a pioneering female cryonicist who first signed up at the start of the cryonics movement in 1964 and who had a 30+ year history of intense cryonics activism, including serving as an Officer or Director of two early cryonics organizations. When she became incapacitated by Alzheimer���s disease, her husband, (who had long been unhappy with her involvement in cryonics) cancelled her cryonics and cryonics funding arrangements, and declined to allow her to be cryopreserved. Another co- author (Aschwin de Wolf) was involved in helping out in a situation where the ex- husband of a female friend would not approve cryonics arrangements for his minor children, despite a strong desire from the mother and the children to make such arrangements. Dating this phenomenon to the earliest days of cryonics is not difficult. In 1968 Robert Ettinger, the father of the cryonics movement, wrote: "This is not a hobby or conversation piece: it is the principal activity of this phase of our lives it is the struggle for survival. Drive a used car if the cost of a new one interferes. Divorce your wife if she will not cooperate. Save your money get another job and save more money. Sometimes a fool will blunder through, but don't count on it. The universe has no malice, but neither has it mercy, and a miss is as good as a mile." It is notable, and by no means accidental, that Ettinger uses the words, ���Divorce your wife if she will not cooperate,��� as opposed to ���divorce your husband��� or the gender neutral ���divorce your spouse.��� Notwithstanding the few cases of hostile husbands or 1 Brenda Peters, a long���time female cryonics activist, Alcor Board member and Founding President of CryoCare was married to a Hollywood screenwriter and producer and has stated, while by no means the sole reason for dissolution of her marriage, cryonics played an important role in the breakup. Former Alcor Treasurer and stalwart cryonicist Sherry Cosgrove faced a similar ultimatum in 1987 and chose to cease active involvement in cryonics and revoke her cryopreservation arrangements.
boyfriends, the phenomenon of the hostile spouse is almost exclusively a female phenomenon. There is no reason to be surprised about the fact that only one partner in a relationship has made cryonics arrangements. What needs explanation is why partners are actively hostile to the other partner's cryonics arrangements or activities. Over the 40 years of his active involvement, one of us (Darwin) has kept a log of the instances where, in his personal experience, hostile spouses or girlfriends have prevented, reduced or reversed the involvement of their male partner in cryonics. This list (see appendix) is restricted to situations where Darwin had direct knowledge of the conflict and was an Officer, Director or employee of the cryonics organization under whose auspices the incident took place. This log spans the years 1978 to 1986, an 8 year period. The motivating events for keeping such a log were the intense hostility he experienced from Diane Henderson, the wife of Curtis Henderson, then President of the Cryonics Society of New York (CSNY)) during visits he made to CSNY as a teenager. While this hostility was to cryonics in general, it had as its focus anyone perceived to be facilitating her husband���s continued involvement in cryonics. The primary targets were thus Henderson, Darwin and the Vice President of CSNY Gillian Cummings (nee��� Beverly Greenburg). Curtis Henderson has stated that he believes this antipathy materially contributed to the death of Gillian Cummings in 1972: Below: Gillian Cummings (nee' Beverly Greenberg) a few months before her death in 1972. ���Because the (Cryo-Span) facility was not heated and it was bitterly cold at night in the winter on Long Island, Beverly (Gillian) used to spend the night at my home in Sayville on the couch in the CSNY office. Diane���s increasingly hostility to Beverly, and to anything or anyone involved in cryonics, put an end to that. A few days before Beverly���s death the situation between Diane and I had reached a breaking point. She demanded that I cease involvement in cryonics and close the facility. When I refused, she took our son and went to stay at her mother���s home. This is a hard thing to bear and the one thing I didn���t want to do was to further antagonize Diane or provide any basis for claims of infidelity in the event she returned home and found Beverly in the house. So, that night I told Beverly she could not spend the night at 9 Holmes Court. Instead, she spent the night in the unheated facility. She was found dead the next day, her keys in her car ignition and the gas tank empty. She was in the habit of running the engine briefly in the closed storage bay to warm up the car enough so she could get back to sleep. She probably dozed off and left the engine running. The only things I can say about that incident is that it has left me with gnawing guilt and a great deal of anger. It was senseless senseless and irrational.��� 2 The second incident that influenced Darwin to keep this record was an experience 2 Interview of Curtis Henderson by Mike Darwin, 22 November, 2007, Ash Fork, AZ.