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The Death of Chris McCandless

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on 2 December 2013

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Transcript of The Death of Chris McCandless

The Death of Chris McCandless
Wild sweet pea seeds
(Hedysarum mackenzii)
another theory that Krakauer conjectured stated that Chris confused the nontoxic wild potato with the poisonous wild sweet pea
also dismissed over time because of McCandless' book “Tanaina plantlore, Dena'ina k'et'una”, a field guide of edible plants that Chris constantly referred to
Rhizoctonia leguminicola
running out of ideas, Krakauer concluded that R. leguminicola was the culprit
fungus that grows on species of legumes
concluded that this moss ultimately killed McCandless
data is inconclusive based on lack of fungus being present in experiments

"The Silent Fire: ODAP and the death of Christopher McCandless" was published in 2013
Ronald Hamilton suggests that the wild potato plant is infected with a nuerotoxin beta-N-oxalyl-L-alpha-beta diaminoproprionic acid, or ODAP
Hamilton approached Dr. Southard and both H. alpinum and H. mackenzii were tested positive for ODAP
Wild potato seeds
(Hedysarum alpinum)
Krakauer's first theory, published in the 1996 edition of "Into the Wild"
speculated that the seeds of the wild potato were poisonous
alkaloid poisons that Krakauer hypothesized did not exist
seeds were nontoxic so theory was disqualified
"The wild sweet pea is reported to be poisonous, care should be taken to identify them accurately before attempting to use the wild potato as food."
Tanaina Plantlore
Stampede Trail
Day 2: Fall through the ice day.
occurred while Chris was crossing the Teklanika River
occurs when body temperature drops to below 35.0 °C
heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure falters
amnesia and sluggish thinking
extreme weakness
risked drowning
Day 31: Grey bird. Ash bird. Squirrel. Gourmet duck!
3000 calories minimum given his age, gender and lifestyle
squirrel: 541 calories
quail: 458 calories
duck: 585 calories
Day 78: Ate potato seeds and many berries coming.
a meager 60 calories per cup
death by starvation was imminent
Day 9: Weakness.
Death by Starvation
Stage One
our body needs glucose, made through consumption of food
without food, blood glucose levels are maintained through the production of glucose from glycogen, proteins, and fats
Stage Two
fats become primary energy sources
body begins to thin considerably
Stage Three
protein becomes final source of energy
muscles deplete
results in death
Claire Jane Ackermann
in August 2010, Ackermann drowned in her attempt to cross Teklanika River
on her way to see the infamous "magic bus"
Day 94: Woodpecker. Fog. Extremely weak. Fault of potato seed. Much trouble just to stand up. Starving. Great jeopardy.
Hamilton derived his theory from a little-known WWII concentration camp in Ukraine
in 1942, as part of a cruel experiment, inmates were fed the seeds of a grass pea,
Lathyrus sativus
, known to contain ODAP
"within months, hundreds of the young male inmates of the camp began limping, and had begun to use sticks as crutches to propel themselves about... The more they’d eaten, the worse the consequences—but in any case, once the effects had begun, there was simply no way to reverse them …"
ODAP poisoning affects people differently, depending on gender and age group, but those hit the hardest are "young men between the ages of 15 and 25 and who are essentially starving or ingesting very limited calories, who have been engaged in heavy physical activity, and who suffer trace-element shortages from meager, unvaried diets"
this describes Chris McCandless, and would explain his death
however, as this theory is new, research is still being conducted and data is still inconclusive
Hamilton, Ronald. "The Silent Fire." Scribd. N.p., 10 Dec. 2012. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
"Hiking the Stampede Trail." N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <http://www.stampedetrail.info/>.
Husney, Adam, MD. "Physical Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa Associated with Starvation." WebMD. WebMD, 25 Aug. 2011. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
Kari, Priscilla Russell. Dena'ina K'et'una = Tanaina Plantlore. [Anchorage, Alaska]: Adult Literacy Laboratory, Anchorage Community College, 1981. Print.
Kellogg, Carolyn. "Into the Wild Fan Dies Trying to Reach McCandless' Bus." Latimes.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.
Krakauer, Jon. "How Chris McCandless Died." The New Yorker. N.p., 12 Sept. 2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. Print.
McCandless, Carine. "Christopher McCandless Aka Alexander Supertramp." Chris McCandless Now I Walk Into The Wild Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.
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