Some people gain notoriety for their acts of public service, others become famous due to their celebrity status. Very few people, however, become famous and have an entire festival in their honor simply because they were cryogenically frozen. In the small town of Nederland, Colorado there is a weekend-long festival in honor of a frozen corpse that was kept on dry ice for years in a shed in the quaint mountain town.
Who was this guy and why is he significant? Well, the frozen dead guy is a Norwegian named Bredo Morstel. His grandson brought his body to the United States on a bed of dry ice back in 1989. Initially the body was stored in liquid nitrogen at the Trans Time cryonics facility in California from 1990 to 1993. It was at this time that Morstel grandson, Trygve Bauge and Bauge’s mother moved to Nederland and brought Mortsel’s body with them.
Bauge built a shed behind his home and stored the frozen body on a bed of dry ice, with the intention of building a cryonic facility of their own on the property. However, Bauge was deported for overstaying his visa on an expired visit. His mother, Aug, was left in the home to maintain the frozen body out in the shed. She was evicted from her home and it was only then that the community learned of the corpse in a cryonic state behind her home.
The news caused a pretty big fuss in the small town and even made headlines in Denver. Eventually, laws were passed that forbade people from preserving corpses on their private property, but Bredo Morstel was grandfathered in and was allowed to remain in the shed, in a frozen state. He’s still there, in that shed to this day.
Due to the bizarre turn of events, in 2002, the town organized a festival in March called “Frozen Dead Guy Days.” While not every activity of the week revolves around Morstel, his body is the theme upon which the entire weekend is built.
Those people who have spent time in Nederland may not be completely surprised. It’s a mountain town about 45 minutes outside of Boulder, Colorado populated with aging hippies, ski bums and outdoor enthusiasts. The town’s collective sense of humor on one man’s corpse in their midst has caused the festival to grow each year.
The festival now has national level sponsors and numerous events, including an annual coffin race, a “Frozen Dead guy” lookalike contest and a slow motion parade. Festivalgoers can even take a tour of the shed where Morstel is still stored. The opening evening features the “Blue Ball,” a themed dance event. The rest of the weekend is chock full of book signings, movie screenings and musical performances.
Oh, and don’t forget to stop by the “Reanimate Yourself” Beer Tent sponsored by Left Hand and Avery Breweries.