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MYSTERY WIRE – Is there credible evidence to support the existence of an afterlife? A Las Vegas businessman says he will spend $1 million to find out.

Las Vegas space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow, known for his funding of UFO research projects, has launched a new project.

The Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies (BICS) has announced a global essay contest seeking input from scientists, religious scholars, consciousness researchers and anyone else who can provide evidence of an afterlife.

As an incentive, BICS will award $500,000 for the top essay, $300,000 for the second best and $150,000 for third place.

“The Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies, was formed to try to conduct research and facilitate research into the possibility of the survival of human consciousness beyond bodily death, Bigelow told Mystery Wire in an exclusive interview, “and, if that is true, then to explore what is the other side all about?” 

Bigelow, the founder and owner of Bigelow Aerospace as well as the hotel chain Budget Suites of America, has spent millions of dollars to pursue two enduring mysteries — whether there is other intelligent life in the universe and whether human consciousness continues after physical death.

In the mid-1990s, he created the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS), a think tank and research program that investigated UFO issues as well as the survival of consciousness.

NIDS was guided by a Science Advisory Board made up of eminent scientists, astronauts, academics, and intelligence officers.

  • Bigelow Airspace
  • Robert Bigelow
  • Robert Bigelow

In 2008, a subsidiary of Bigelow Aerospace called the Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS), signed a contract with the Defense Intelligence Agency to investigate UFOs as well as a wide range of related mysteries. The existence of the secret Pentagon study was made public in 2017.

Bigelow said his interest in human consciousness and a possible afterlife was largely the result of personal losses, including the deaths of his father, son, grandson and wife.  He was motivated to find out if his loved ones might still exist in some other reality. 

In this excerpt from the Mystery Wire interview, Bigelow explained the origins of BICS and why he is prepared to support credible research. 

To enter the essay competition, interested parties must apply through the BICS website. A panel of judges will evaluate the expertise, qualifications and experience of applicants.

Applications must be submitted by Feb. 28. The essays, 25,000 words or less, are due by Aug. 1.  The winners will be chosen by the end of the year and the prizes awarded thereafter.