NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier and accused sex trafficker, had an unusual dream: He hoped to seed the human race with his DNA by impregnating women at his vast New Mexico ranch.
Epstein over the years confided to scientists and others about his scheme, according to four people familiar with his thinking, although there is no evidence that it ever came to fruition.
His vision reflected his longstanding fascination with what has become known as transhumanism: the science of improving the human population through technologies like genetic engineering and artificial intelligence.
Critics have likened transhumanism to a modern-day version of eugenics.
Epstein, who was charged in July with the sexual trafficking of girls as young as 14, managed to use connections and charisma to cultivate valuable relationships with business and political leaders.
He used the same tactics to insinuate his way into an elite scientific community, thus allowing him to pursue his interests in eugenics and other fringe fields like cryogenics.
The lure for some of the scientists was Epstein's money. He dangled financing for their pet projects.
Epstein was willing to finance research that others viewed as bizarre. He told one scientist that he was bankrolling efforts to identify a mysterious particle that might trigger the feeling that someone is watching you.
Then there was Epstein's interest in eugenics.
On multiple occasions starting in the early 2000s, Epstein told scientists and businessmen about his ambitions to use his New Mexico ranch as a base where women would be inseminated with his sperm and would give birth to his babies, according to two award-winning scientists and an adviser to large companies and wealthy individuals, all of whom Epstein told about it.
It was not a secret. The adviser, for example, said he was told about the plans not only by Epstein, at a gathering at his Manhattan town house, but also by at least one prominent member of the business community.
The idea struck all three as far-fetched and disturbing. There is no indication that it would have been against the law.