A tycoon offered $ 1 million to the one who answered an existential question and 29 managed to do it

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In January, the billionaire from Las Vegas Robert Bigelow offered an award of up to a million dollars to three people who could answer a single question that concerned him: to know if there is the “possibility of survival of human consciousness beyond bodily death”.

His concern arose after a series of personal tragedies: the death of his wife Diane Mona Bigelow, 72, due to leukemia, in June 2020, and that of his son Rod Lee who committed suicide in 1992 and his son, his grandson, who also took his own life years later.

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That is why Bigelow, who made his fortune in business real estate, hotel and aerospace, founded the Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies (BICS) to advance research on what exists in the afterlife. In an interview, the billionaire said that he “is personally convinced” that consciousness survives the death of the physical body.

How was the Bigelow contest

The contest was open to scientists trained in the field of neurology and psychology, who had until August 1, 2021 to present a 25,000 word thesis on the theme of the “possibility of survival of human consciousness beyond bodily death”. A panel of judges made up of experts would select three winners. The first place would receive $ 500,000, the second 300,000 and the third 150,000.

2,000 responses from around the world

After 9 months, Bigelow received more than 2000 responses from all over the world. “We had no idea how everything was going to go and then we had almost 40 countries represented,” said Bigelow, surprised by the call that his contest achieved.

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“We had criteria and we looked at all the answers. We then narrowed them down to 200 and hired six respected writers and academics familiar with the subject to act as judges. Within weeks of carefully studying the proposals, the judges realized that the high quality of the essays submitted could deserve more than three winners“Said the billionaire

Finally, the judges they decided on 29 and Bigelow opted to almost double the prize: instead of giving out US $ 950,000, it was US $ 1,800,000 that were distributed to the winners and finalists. In addition to the first three, about 11 participants received $ 50,000 and 15 a prize of $ 20,000 each.

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“Universities don’t give you grants to study this really important topic,” Bigelow told Mystery Wire. “They have to try to sell books to support themselves. Many of these people spend their entire lives in this field of research ”.

The 29 winners of the Bigelow contest

The list of 29 winners was published on the BICS website. The main essay was presented by parapsychologist Jeffrey Mishlove from New Mexico. His presentation was titled Beyond the brain: survival of human consciousness after permanent bodily death. And according to local media it was a unanimous choice of the panel of judges.

Mishlove’s essay included video clips and testimonials about near death experiences, reincarnation cases documented by past life memories and other types of evidence that consciousness survives physical death.

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The essay that got second place, Continuity of Consciousness: A Concept Based on Scientific Research on Near-Death Experiences During Cardiac Arrest, was presented by a Dutch cardiologist, Dr. Pim van Lommel. The doctor started a major study on near-death experiences as reported by patients who suffered heart attacks, then were resuscitated and returned with memories of what they found on “the other side.”

Third place went to Leo Ruickbie, a British historian and sociologist of religion, for his essay titled The ghost in the time machine.

Now Bigelow plans to publish the 29 award-winning essays on the BICS website and edit them into a series of books that he will give away for free to university libraries, hospitals, hospices and religious organizations.

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