In 1848, Dr. Crozier was a member of polar exploration expedition of two ships. Caught unawares by winter, the two ships were frozen in arctic waters. After a team of crew members failed to return with aid, Crozier lead the remaining crew to find civilization and supplies. After a gruelling trek across the land, with many deaths, Crozier realized that success was unlikely in the harsh winter weather. He downed a formula which would place him in suspended animation until the summer thaw. However, his crew, out of respect for his leadership, gave him a proper burial on Beechey Island. Crozier lay semi-conscious trapped under the permafrost, feeling his body slowly transform by the formula and the deep cold.
More than a century later, when Narya needed a place of power to give birth, Shaman was guided by the spirits to the island. However, the spirits had been commanded to lead him there by his daughter, Talisman, who planned to demonstrate her father's ineptitude. When Crozier gained supernatural powers due to the mixture of natural mystic energies, his own transformed state, and the energies released by Narya's child, he was able to take possession of the child and wreak havoc as Pestilence. Talisman discovered that she was unable to control Pestilence as he was still a living being and not fully a spirit. After a battle with Alpha Flight, Pestilence created a shaft and escaped underground.
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