Robert Bigelow, the realty speculator behind the Budget Suites chain, is spending his billions on projects such as a 480-acre "living laboratory" to investigate paranormal phenomena, a research project intended to find evidence for the afterlife, and, most recently, a plan to build an inflatable hotel in space. "I had some money to work with, and I felt that the clock had already ticked along quite a ways, and if I were gonna do something, I'd better fish or cut bait," he explains.

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