“What’s across the River Styx? Robert Thomas Bigelow would like to know. Wouldn’t anyone, especially now? But Mr. Bigelow is not just anyone, or any 76-year-old mourning a wife and confronting his own mortality. He’s a maverick Las Vegas real estate and aerospace mogul with billionaire allure and the resources to fund his restless curiosity embracing outer and inner space, U.F.O.s and the spirit realm.
“Now he’s offering nearly $1 million in prizes for the best evidence for ‘the survival of consciousness after permanent bodily death.’
“In other words, was Hamlet right to call death an inescapable boundary, ‘the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns?’ Or does consciousness in some form survive bodily death — what the Dalai Lama called how we merely ‘change our clothes’?
“Is Raymond Chandler’s Big Sleep only a nap?
“Mr. Bigelow believes so. ‘I am personally totally convinced of it,’ he said.”