Horror story: Williams’s head abused
Book says Williams’s frozen head abused
PHOENIX - A new book by a former employee of Alcor, the company that froze Ted Williams’s remains, alleges the baseball Hall of Famer’s body was mistreated by the company.
Larry Johnson says in the book “Frozen: My Journey Into the World of Cryonics, Deception and Death’’ that he watched an Alcor official swing a monkey wrench at Williams’s frozen severed head to try to remove a tuna can stuck to it. The first swing accidentally struck the head, Johnson contends, and the second knocked the tuna can loose.
Alcor Life Extension Foundation of Scottsdale, Ariz., issued a statement on its website denying the allegations and promising legal action.
“Alcor denies allegations reported in the press that there was mistreatment of the remains of Ted Williams at Alcor,’’ the company said. “Alcor will be litigating this and any other false allegations to the maximum extent of the law.’’
Johnson says he worked for Alcor for eight months in 2003, first as clinical director, then as chief operating officer. He included several photographs in the book, including one of an upside down severed head, not Williams’s, that had what appeared to be a tuna can attached to it.
Johnson says Alcor used the cans, from a cat that lived on the premises, as pedestals for the heads.
Williams’s head was being transferred from one container to another when the monkey wrench incident took place, Johnson said in the book. When the head was removed from the first container, Johnson described it.
“The disembodied face set in that awful, frozen scream looked nothing like any picture of Ted Williams I’ve ever seen,’’ he wrote.
Johnson also contends there was a significant crack in Williams’s head. He also repeated an allegation he had made previously that samples of Williams’s DNA are missing from the facility.
Johnson, who says he wired himself surreptitiously the last few months of his employment, said he was the source for a story in Sports Illustrated in 2004 including some of the allegations repeated in the book.
At that time, Alcor officials said there never was mistreatment of any of those frozen at the facility.
Ted Williams died in July 2002. At the direction of his son, John Henry Williams, the baseball player’s remains were flown from Florida to Arizona.
John Henry Williams died of leukemia at age 35 in 2004 after a bitter court fight against Williams’s daughter, Bobby-Jo, who contended the wishes expressed in her father’s will should have been followed. In the will, Ted Williams said he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes scattered at sea.
She eventually abandoned the legal battle, citing lack of funds.
Johnson says in his book he believes the small piece of paper used as evidence that Williams wanted to be frozen was fraudulent. The paper is signed by Ted Williams, John Henry and Williams’s other daughter, Claudia.
Scott Baldyga is the book’s co-author.