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The Frozen Dead Guy - Grandpa Bredo

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Nederland, ColoradoNederland, Colorado, a picturesque little town about 45 miles northwest of Denver claims more than just quaintness, beauty, and the ruggedness of the Rocky Mountains to draw thousands of visitors. It also is home to Grandpa Bredo Morstoel, more commonly known as "The Frozen Dead Guy.”


Morstoel died on November 6, 1989 while at the family’s mountain retreat in Norway and was immediately packed in ice before making the long trip to Los Angeles, California, where he was cryogenically prepped and frozen. Morstoel’s grandson, Trygve Bauge decided that his grandfather should have the opportunity of potential immorality and made the arrangements for his grandfather.


Bredo was kept at the Institute, while Trygve searched for a suitable place to store frozen bodies. Grandpa Morstoel remained at the California institute until 1993, when his body was packed in dry ice, shipped to Nederland, Colorado, and stored in a garden shed.


Cryogenic suspension requires a body to be frozen immediately after death to ward off physical decay, then maintained in a frozen condition until the time when medical science may be able to restore it to life. Suspendees are typically kept cool via liquid nitrogen, but due to budget constraints, "Grandpa Bredo” was kept on ice.

Born in Isfjorden, Romstel, in western Norway, on February 28, 1900, Bredo Morstoel married his wife Anna in the late 1920’s and the couple had two children. Working as the head of parks and recreation until his retirement in 1967, Bredo was fond of painting, fishing, hiking and skiing.

In 1980, Morstoel’s grandson, Trygve Bauge came to the United States, to "be safe from nuclear war.” The unorthodox young man was long haired, bearded and enjoyed scoffing at authority, as evidenced by his many particular actions. Well known in the Boulder area, Bauge was convinced that bathing in ice water would prolong his life and founded the Boulder Polar Bear Club. He was arrested at the Stapleton Airport in 1986 for joking that he was going to hijack a plane, and was arrested again in 1988 when he was caught trespassing on the Colorado University President’s property.




At some point, Trygve was joined by his mother, Aud, in Colorado and began to build a disaster proof house in Nederland in 1993. The grey castle-looking house was to be a bomb, earthquake, fire and flood proof house. Next to the sturdy structure was a small garden shed, where the pair moved their grandfather. Soon "Grandpa” Morstoel was joined by a body belonging to a man by the name of Al Campbell from Chicago. Bauge had hopes of constructing a proper cryogenics storage facility, but it was never completed. Bodies in cryogenic suspension are normally kept at about minus-320 degrees, but Morstoel and Campbell were held at a balmy minus-109.


For about six months mother and son lived in relative anonymity until Trygve claimed that he was going to break the world record for ice bathing. Inviting all of the local newspapers, he immersed himself in a 1500-gallon tank of ice water in February, 1994. Under the freezing water for one hour and four minutes, he did in fact, break the world record.


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Trygve's catastrophe proof home, courtesy Carly Calvin Photography


But Tyrgve’s local visa time had run out and the INS issued a deportation warrant for him. Declaring himself a fugitive from justice, he managed to evade authorities for a little while but was apprehended in 1994 and sent back to Norway, leaving his mother Aud behind to finish the house and watch over the frozen bodies.

Aud was eventually given an eviction notice for having no electricity or plumbing. Afraid the frozen bodies would melt she asked the local paper to plead her case to the Town Hall. When the reporter told the Town Clerk about Aud’s pleas all hell broke loose. The Mayor, police and press raced to the property, lights flashing. The shed was opened and the bodies on ice were discovered. Within 24 hours the news became an international event with reporters from all over the world arriving in Nederland.


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