Saturday, June 2, 2007

Long wait goes on for ultimate Comeback Kid - Ted Williams

By Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There is no resting place for Ted Williams. A legend on America's ballfields, Williams was brought here upon his death nearly five years ago, and while some look to the day he can be brought back to life, there is no headstone, no grieving place, no serene patch of greenery where family, friends, or fans can spend a contemplative moment, explore a sense of connection with the late Red Sox slugger.

"I visit my brother and father every day in my mind," Claudia Williams, the slugger's daughter and John Henry's sister, wrote in an e-mail. "I wish, hope and believe and have faith in our decisions. I do not question my/our decision. It is timeless, because it was made out of love, and at a point in our lives where the three of us could not have been closer.

According to one expert, the day when the Williamses might be reunited could come later this century. For now, Ted and John Henry are among only 161 people worldwide -- all but four of them stored in three US cryonic facilities -- who await their rebirth in the deep-chilled state of cryostasis.

Former Alcor employee Ben Best, now president of the Cryonics Institute in Clinton Township, Mich., emphasized in a recent phone interview that little has changed in the science the last five years. Nonetheless, experts and devotees believe technological advances will have people such as Williams and his son back walking among us in the next 50-100 years.

"I'd say 100 years, maximum, but a lot of people believe it will never happen," said Best. "Of course, if I believed that, I wouldn't be doing this."

As for a scientific lab lacking the feel or serenity of a bucolic resting place, Best noted that through cryonics, "Something greater exists -- the possibility that we can come back. I think that should count for a heck of a lot more."

Claudia Williams, who lives in Florida, expressed much the same sentiment.

"My family rests where our hopes and beliefs are," she wrote. "I believe in science. My dad and John Henry believe in science. I would never question someone's religion and criticize their beliefs. No one else should either! It's a human's right -- regardless. It is however, and has been throughout time and history, an easy target to condemn, kill and segregate people for their differences."

"I drive by the place twice a week," said Helgeson, "and I just can't believe Ted Williams's head is hanging in there. Either someone in his family is a lunatic or has a lot more faith in science than I do."

Abridged >>
Mr. Helgelson I think it's the latter, they have more faith in science than you do ! You and Thomas Edison would not have been very good friends.

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