It may be one of the strangest celebrations anywhere on Earth – a festival that honors a local resident, who’s been dead for nearly a quarter century and whose body is kept on ice year-round.
CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy takes us to ‘Frozen Dead Guy Days’ in the U.S. state of Colorado.
Twice a month, Brad Wickham hauls half a metric ton of dry ice to a storage shed in Nederland, Colorado.
“It is tedious,” Brad says. “Every two weeks. It comes quick.”
The ice surrounds a coffin containing the body of Bredo Morstoel, who died in 1989 but remains cryogenically frozen, thanks to his grandson Trygve Bauge.
“I take great responsibility in doing this for Trygve and his family,” Brad says. “But I’m also highly aware of the fact that I’m probably the only person in the world that does this.”
Just as Nederland, population about 15-hundred, is the only place in the world that does this – ‘Frozen Dead Guy Days,’ a celebration that honors Grandpa Bredo, the eccentric, the offbeat and strange.
“Just here to have a lot of fun and see a lot of weird people,” a parade participant says.
“It’s a quirky event done in a quirky town that attracts quirky people,” another says.
A cavalcade of coffins and hearses is just one of many highlights.
Teresa Crush-Warren created the event 16 years ago. It was 1993 when Grandpa was put on ice.
“I think it’s just the fascination of cryonics and the absurdity,” Teresa says. “There were some people in town that wanted to get rid of him immediately.”
Instead, through a grandfather clause, he was allowed to stay. The legend of the frozen dead guy grew exponentially and internationally. That led to the festival.
Who remains, some say, in a state of suspended animation, and whose spirit, some townspeople insist, hovers over the annual Frozen Dead Guy Days and its wacky weekend-long competitions, like the coffin races.
“I’m sure he never intended to be so famous,” Teresa says.
The festival, which drew 23-thousand spectators this year, has pumped up Nederland’s economy. Even in death, Grandpa is the life of the town.