Colton Harris-Moore, retired airplane pirate and future serial entrepreneur, is continuing his quest to raise the cash necessary to cryogenically preserve his dying mother, Pam Kohler. Donations so far total only $2,115, but the good news is that Colton has managed to reduce the amount needed for the procedure from $308,000 to only $230,000 by recalculating fundraising costs and obtaining a membership for her in Alcor’s frequent freezer program.
Yes, of course, that last bit’s a joke. But it’s to make the point that this whole thing is not a joke.
Alcor is a real company that along with other cryonics organizations already have more than a thousand people (some just their heads, others full-body) held in industrial tanks “frozen” into a hopefully suspended animation (the animation and re-animation are the tricky parts). And Alcor does indeed have a membership program that offers a discounted rate for treatment, and Colton tells me that Pam is now a card-carrying member.
I just got off the phone with Colton and he said how hard it is to get people to take this idea seriously. He knows it’s out there on the edge of experimental science, but he has full faith in technology advances and thinks the rest of us should too.
Colton now has such confidence and belief in cryonics that he says he’s going to form his own company when he gets out of prison. So, like the bennies early investors get in other crowdfunding plans, Colton is offering the full freeze treatment at his future cryonics company to anyone who donates at least $25 at SAVEPAMK That’s a savings of at least… well, it’s basically free compared to what established companies are charging. I think Colton may have priced this perk a little low, but maybe he plans to make it up in volume. For anyone thinking of donating, it’s about the cheapest out-there immortality insurance around, and much better than that name-a-star BS.
Part of the problem with cryonics is the image it has of a mad scientist reaching into a Frigidaire to dig out a can of Red Bull from between the frozen heads of his patients. (And if it didn’t have that image, it does now). The process, though, is a lot more involved than just tossing someone in a bait freezer. As Colton has several media interviews lined up in the coming days, I suggested he might explain a bit more about cryonics and how the bodies are actually vitrified—turned into glass—using cryoprotectants to freeze them without turning them to ice, which damages cells. But that probably doesn’t sound any less sci-fi and instead probably invokes the freeze ray scene from Rocky Horror.
So Colton has a very tough hill to climb with this effort. He knows that, but he’s still giving it his all. And regardless if this is a case of unresolved issues between them or just simply a son’s love for his mother, I respect his extraordinary effort and I’m impressed with his focus and management abilities.
I recently released an updated ebook version of The Barefoot Bandit in which I talk about how Colton and I finally connected a couple of years ago and whether the outlaw Colt that I came to know from living through his crime spree here on Orcas Island, tracking him all the way from the Pacific Northwest to the Bahamas, and doing all the research on his childhood, was very different from the Colton Harris Moore I now know as a friend. Spoiler alert: they’re not very different, other than the outlaw part. And that’s a good thing.