Read More: NY Mag
A chat with former Senate majority leader Harry Reid about the government’s research into UFOs. Hi, this is Eric Benson from New York Magazine. Hi, Eric. Why do you want to talk to me? Well, because of the New York Times article and the program that you helped bring about. Well, I’m happy to talk to you. Just let me preface this by saying this, if we’re here to talk about little green men or stuff that you want to look at that was found in New Mexico or something, I’m not interested. If you’re here to talk about science, I’m happy to do that. I’m really glad to do that. I’m glad somebody is interested, because it’s a subject that is being terribly neglected, so I’m happy to talk to you. Great. Well, I don’t want to talk to you about little green men. Okay. One thing I am curious about, though, is just where your interest in this subject comes from. That’s pretty easy. When I first got out of law school many, many years ago, in the mid-’60s, I worked with three other lawyers. A big case we had was a case involving a bunch of rich Las Vegas businessmen. They went into L.A. International Airport, tried to take off, and the plane crashed and killed them all. It was a very interesting case. It went to Supreme Court, a mistrial declared, hung jury, went on for years. One of the people who was killed in that plane crash was a guy by the name of Bigelow. He was not as wealthy, but he was a wealthy man in Las Vegas who ran a carpet company, Bigelow Carpet. His son was 18 years old when that crash occurred. He’s a central figure in all this. I didn’t know him, but when he was a young man, he heard a story from his grandparents about driving down from Mt. Charleston — that’s a 12,000-foot mountain just ten miles out of Las Vegas — where they saw something in the air. This so-called flying saucer, for lack of a better description. It piqued his curiosity. He became a very wealthy man. I mean extremely wealthy. During the time that he had some money, he said, “I would like to know more about this.” He would have, several times a year, at his big office here in Las Vegas — knew how to make money buying and selling real estate. He would pay for these seminars, these conferences, and he would bring in scientists, academics, and a few nut cases. That’s a bad way of talking about some people, but, you know — people who were really, in my opinion, kind of on the fringes. Probably the No. 1 TV journalist in Nevada was a guy by the name of George Knapp. He and I were friends. He had known me for years. He said to me one day, “Hey, I know this guy Bigelow, he’s interested in a subject, I don’t know if you have any interest in it all, but you should get to know him. He’s got a lot of money. He’s kind of an interesting guy. I’ll introduce you. You’ll go to one of those little deals and spend a few hours with him.” I did that. It was really fascinating quite frankly because there were people trying to figure out what all this aerial phenomenon was. Bigelow knew I was interested. I’ve always been a voracious reader. I blinded myself in one eye — I used to read really, really fast, and I can still read fairly fast with only one eye; not nearly as fast as I used to. Just a little side note: I took the Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics course here in Las Vegas, and I was told I was the fastest reader they ever had in Nevada. I can read so fast.