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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Frozen After Death?

Michael Jackson’s Final Eccentricity?
By Silvia Uribe

There are unimportant things that, for one reason or another, I remember. I wish I could say the same about things that matter, but my memory seems to be very selective. It's like I choose to remember mostly what's not of any value to me or anyone else. I've been like that all my life!

I remember my best friend's telephone number when we were in 6th grade, and the dress I wore for my junior high graduation. I also remember the lyrics of most of the songs of my favorite Spanish group growing up, Mocedades. Facts about Michael Jackson are among the highly useless things that I remember. For instance, at some point many years ago, it was made public that he neither wanted to be buried, nor cremated. They said that he would be frozen in a capsule when he died. No one else remembers this, seriously?

Since no one is talking about it, it seems a little sci-fi, unreal, eccentric, and plain weird to come up with such a thing … but are we talking about Michael Jackson, after all? In doing a little research on the topic, I found out that this after-death possibility exists, and that it is called "cryonic suspension" (after legal death, the patient is infused with a substance to prevent ice formation, cooled to a temperature where physical decay essentially stops, and then maintained indefinitely in cryostasis, stored in liquid nitrogen). There is a facility in California that's been doing this since the mid 70's. Nothing I dig up dealt with a death investigation by the police, as in Jackson's case, which leaves us with many unanswered questions.

At any rate, if his suspension wish was true, (all things considered) possible, and not a creation of my imagination, maybe the family is planning a viewing, a funeral and a burial of a mannequin with Michael's facial features, and everyone would think it's real, but it won't be. It would have his clothes on, but no remains of his in there. If this was the case, and people found out, would they still show up for the supposed funeral? My guess is yes, they would. They would still go out there to pay their respects to the late star. After all, what his fans wish is to be close to anything that he possessed; anything that would have his "spirit." Wouldn't this whole thing be strange?

I know that when referring to MJ nothing could surprise us anymore. His life always included some level of unexpectedness and drama. Going from a black complexion to an extra white one … from a young man's face to extremely feminine features and make up … creating Neverland and living there … having two beautiful children in a rather mysterious way … marrying their mother, whom now we know was the nurse at Jackson's dermatologist office … obtaining full custody rights allegedly in exchange for $8.5 million … never showing the face of his children (who for the longest of time didn't grow up, it seemed) and always covering their heads either with intricate masks or with scarves … being accused of abusing children … and marrying Lisa Marie Presley, divorcing her after just two years, and dangling his youngest daughter from a high balcony when she was a baby.

Wouldn't it be logical that a tragic and dramatic atmosphere surrounds his death as well? Allow me to present the following scenario: no one saw his body leave the hospital. It was covered with a white cloth and transported by helicopter to the Coroner. Maybe, by then, his body was already on its way to a cryonics institution to be "suspended". Who knows? Maybe all the body preparation needed for this purpose was made during the half hour that it took Jackson's security personnel to call 911. Maybe all the confusion with the medications and who prescribed what, and what he did or didn't take was just a way to distract us from what really went on?

We'll never know the truth about his death, as we never knew the truth about his real life and what he did or didn't do. Whether he had plans to be frozen after his death is anyone's guess. But, one thing is true - this "suspension" it's just the kind of thing that would perfectly fit his controversial, unconventional personality and life style.

The way you live is usually the way you die, or translated into Spanish: "Genio y figura, hasta la sepultura!"

Silvia Uribe is a freelance writer with a Latino perspective.

photo by William Etling

Cross-posted at

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