By Ted Williams's longtime friend Arthur (Buzz) Hamon, Alcor, the Scottsdale, Ariz., facility where the Splendid Splinter's body is cryogenically frozen at the behest of his son, John Henry. "I went out there for closure," says Hamon, 57. "But what I saw horrified me."
Accompanied by his friend Bobbie Sgrillo, 57, a former funeral home owner, Hamon, who ran the Ted Williams Museum in Hernando, Fla., from 1995 through '99, gained access to Alcor's high-security facility after Sgrillo claimed she had a professional interest in cryonics. Both visitors say they were unsettled by the operating room, which was cluttered with boxes, papers and other debris and where the absence of stainless steel on the work surfaces struck Sgrillo as "unsanitary." They were alarmed upon seeing the room in which Alcor's 55 "patients" (some are bodies, some simply heads) are kept in six 10-by-6-foot and two mini-fridge-sized tanks. Sgrillo claims the gauges on the larger vessels, each of which can hold four bodies and five heads, indicated nitrogen levels below what is needed to keep bodies intact. One of those windowless tanks contains Williams. "How do we know if the body is in fact preserved?" Sgrillo asks.
Alcor president Jerry Lemler, who says the tanks' nitrogen quantities are adequate, attributes the clutter to renovations and says that Hamon and Sgrillo are ignorant of the accepted guidelines in the cryonics industry. "We operate under strict, universally accepted precautions," says Lemler. Hamon says a group of Williams's friends (he won't reveal their names) last week filed a request asking the Arizona attorney general to investigate Alcor's practices. "I hope something comes of it," says Hamon. "Ted was a man of enormous self-respect. His legacy is being compromised."