"Ted Williams' frozen head for batting practice"
This is just absolutely bizzonkers.
Ted Williams' frozen head for batting practice at cryogenics lab: book
BY Nathaniel Vinton
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Updated Friday, October 2nd 2009, 10:44 AM
Head of Ted Williams was abused by employees at Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz., whistleblower says.
Workers at an Arizona cryonics facility mutilated the frozen head of baseball legend Ted Williams - even using it for a bizarre batting practice, a new tell-all book claims.
In "Frozen," Larry Johnson, a former exec at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz., graphically describes how The Splendid Splinter" was beheaded, his head frozen and repeatedly abused.
The book, out Tuesday from Vanguard Press, tells how Williams' corpse became "Alcorian A-1949" at the facility, where bodies are kept suspended in liquid nitrogen in case future generations learn how to revive them.
Johnson writes that in July 2002, shortly after the Red Sox slugger died at age 83, technicians with no medical certification gleefully photographed and used crude equipment to decapitate the majors' last .400 hitter.
Williams' severed head was then frozen, and even used for batting practice by a technician trying to dislodge it from a tuna fish can.
The chief operating officer of Alcor for eight months before becoming a whistleblower in 2003, Johnson wrote his book while in hiding, fearful for his life.
He told the Daily News then he had received death threats and was moving from safehouse to safehouse. Johnson plans to come out of the shadows Tuesday, with his book and an appearance on ABC's "Nightline."
Johnson said he wired himself with an audio recorder for his last three months at Alcor, stole internal records and took gruesome photographs that are reproduced in the book.
The book describes other atrocities at Alcor's facility in Arizona, including the dismembering of live dogs that were injected with chemicals in experiments, and a situation in which human blood and toxic chemicals were dumped into a parking lot sewer drain.
It also also details suspicious circumstances involving the bodies of two people who are frozen in steel cylinders at Alcor: gay rights activist John Dentinger and Dora Kent, an elderly woman whose son, Saul Dent, gave Alcor lots of money.
Nothing in the book is as gruesome as Johnson's descriptions of what happened to Williams' body after it was sent to Alcor at the direction of the Williams' son John Henry Williams, who died of leukemia in 2004.
In 2003, The News reported that Buzz Hamon, the ballplayer's close friend and former director of the Ted Williams Museum in Hernando, Fla., sneaked into Alcor with the help of a mortician friend.
Hamon said he was "appalled" by the conditions there, where Williams' body and more than 50 others were stored in steel tanks alongside cardboard boxes and junk. Hamon died in 2004, reportedly committing suicide.
Johnson writes that holes were drilled in Williams' severed head for the insertion of microphones, then frozen in liquid nitrogen while Alcor employees recorded the sounds of Williams' brain cracking 16 times as temperatures dropped to -321 degrees Fahrenheit.
Johnson writes that the head was balanced on an empty can of Bumble Bee tuna to keep it from sticking to the bottom of its case.
Johnson describes watching as another Alcor employee removed Williams' head from the freezer with a stick, and tried to dislodge the tuna can by swinging at it with a monkey wrench.
The technician, no .406 hitter like the baseball legend, missed the can with several swings of the wrench and smacked Williams' head directly, spraying "tiny pieces of frozen head" around the room.
Johnson accuses the company of joking morbidly about mailing Williams' thawing remains back to his family if his son didn't pay his outstanding debt to the company.
Reprints of invoices show that Alcor president John Lemler charged $120,000 for the honor of "suspending" Teddy Ballgame's body.
A former paramedic, Johnson first blew the whistle on Alcor in a 2003 Sports Illustrated article about Williams' stored body.
He drew criticism at the time for an aborted attempt to sell photos online purportedly showing Williams' corpse.
Johnson said he hopes his book will help fulfill the wishes Williams expressed in his will - that his body be cremated and the ashes "sprinkled at sea off the coast of Florida, where the water is very deep."
With Bill Madden