I frequently enjoy watching the Doomsday Preppers program on the National Geographic Channel. I get a particular kick out of hearing the reason each particular family gives for building a bunker and making plans for Armageddon. At the end of each story, the producers at Nat Geo usually reference the consensus of expert opinion concerning the particular doomsday scenario discussed by the featured family. A popular fear is that earth will get knocked off its axis, causing a polar shift. (You’ve probably heard Matt Damon mention that one on the TD Ameritrade commercial – wherein he credits the Mayans for starting the rumor.) Although many of the preppers’ fears are far-fetched, there are certainly many legitimate causes for the sort of concern which could lead a perfectly reasonable person to initiate efforts toward the Ultimate Plan B. My personal favorite threat is Fukushima.
A number of reports have recently been published concerning the efforts made by more upscale preppers to build designer bunkers. This situation really cries out for a new television program: Beverly Hills Bunkers or Celebrity Preppers of Palm Beach.
The Raw Story website ran an AFP report describing the efforts by developer Larry Hall to convert abandoned missile silos into luxury bunkers. At this point, Hall has found four buyers who have plunked down nearly $2 million each for a silo bunker:
“They worry about events ranging from solar flares, to economic collapse, to pandemics to terrorism to food shortages,” Hall told AFP on a tour of the site.
These “doomsday preppers”, as they are called, want a safe place and he will be there with them because Hall, 55, bought one of the condos for himself. He says his fear is that sun flares could wipe out the power grid and cause chaos.
* * *
Built to withstand an atomic blast, even the most paranoid can find comfort inside concrete walls that are nine feet thick and stretch 174 feet (53 meters) underground.
Instead of simply setting up shop in the old living quarters provided for missile operators, Hall is building condos right up the missile shaft. Seven of the 14 underground floors will be condo space selling for $2 million a floor or $1 million a half floor. Three and a half units have been sold, two contracts are pending and only two more full units are available, Hall said.
* * *
He is also installing an indoor farm to grow enough fish and vegetables to feed 70 people for as long as they need to stay inside and also stockpiling enough dry goods to feed them for five years.
The top floor and an outside building above it will be for elaborate security. Other floors will be for a pool, a movie theater and a library, and when in lockdown mode there will be floors for a medical center and a school.
Complex life support systems provide energy supplies from sources of conventional power, as well as windmill power and generators. Giant underground water tanks will hold water pre-filtered through carbon and sand.
* * *
Interested buyers have included an NFL player, a racing car driver, a movie producer and famous politicians, he said, but he now requires all the money up front.
Blake Ellis of CNN Money gave us a peek at how “the one percent” is getting ready for doomsday:
Northwest Shelter Systems, which offers shelters ranging in price from $200,000 to $20 million, has seen sales surge 70% since the uprisings in the Middle East, with the Japanese earthquake only spurring further interest. In hard numbers, that’s 12 shelters already booked when the company normally sells four shelters per year.
Who spent $20 million on a bunker? Oprah? Bill Gates? Lloyd Blankfein?
Inquiring minds want to know how their favorite celebrities will be riding out The Apocalypse. Which porn stars will Charlie Sheen invite to his Doomsday Den? How many people within one degree of Kevin Bacon will Kyra Sedgwick allow into his bunker?
There is definitely a television show here – and it’s bound to draw a bigger audience than the number watching Doomsday Preppers. Any guesses as to which network runs with this?