To reach the world's first everything-proof underground luxury community, I drive east out of Barstow, California, 50 or so miles into the Mojave Desert, then turn down an unmarked gravel road, park in a barren lot surrounded by razor wire, enter what appears to be a small cinderblock garage, and walk down two steep flights of reinforced-concrete stairs, at which point the project's enthusiastic promoter, Robert Vicino, greets me with an outstretched hand, slams a 3,000-pound blast door behind us, and asks this question: "Do you have a family?"
Then: Do I have life insurance? Would I like to have 10 times the life insurance I already have? Would I like to have something even better? Because I can. The structure in which we are now standing was built by AT&T in 1965 to protect telephone infrastructure from a nuclear attack, but now it can protect something far more important: me and my loved ones. For just $50,000 each—half off for kids—I can buy a fractional share of the Terra Vivos underground shelter network, a project that will include at least 19 more "community bunkers," each of them located within 150 to 200 miles of a major American city. Terra Vivos is a concrete-and-steel solution to the end times, whether brought about by climate change or nuclear war or even an unavoidable realignment of the cosmic order. Wherever I happen to be at that terrible moment, I'll have a place to live the morning after. "I'm not selling life insurance," Vicino explains. "I'm providing life assurance."
The physical specifications required to assure life are striking. The Barstow bunker was built to withstand a 50-megaton nuclear blast 10 miles away, 450mph winds, a magnitude-10 earthquake, 10 days of 1,250°F surface fires, and three weeks beneath any flood. Vicino says that a soon-to-be-installed air-filtration system will also neutralize any biological, chemical or nuclear attacks. The Barstow branch will stock enough food and clothing to sustain 135 people for at least a year, and in a lifestyle that Vicino describes as compact but luxurious, like being on a cruise ship. Getting on board requires a $5,000 deposit, he says, to be held in escrow until the bunker is ready to move into, at which point the remainder is due. As of August, several hundred people had put their money down for a spot in one of his bunkers, he says; 75 for Barstow thus far.
The idea to build and sell post-apocalyptic bunkers weighed on Vicino for many years before he acted. In 1980 he saw a replica of the Mayan calendar, the ancient stone carving that predicts that the world will end on December 21, 2012. Vicino recalls the moment clearly. "It just gave me this gut-wrenching feeling that I needed to convert a mine to a shelter for 1,000 people with everything you'd need to survive for a long period of time." The decades passed, however, and it wasn't until this year, the end times fast approaching, that Vicino purchased the Barstow bunker for an undisclosed amount. He has six more under contract: one in North Carolina, one in Pennsylvania, two in New York, and two in "the Midwest." (Vicino won't give precise locations, citing the need to stay hidden from intruders.)
Now, as 2012 approaches, Vicino says he is actually more worried about 2013, when solar activity is expected to increase significantly. He says an extreme solar storm could fire a catastrophic electromagnetic pulse at Earth, crash the power grid, and thereby trigger anarchy. Even if the world escapes that fate, it could still face an asteroid, or a plague, or a war. Anything could happen. "2012 is just the impetus to bring the project forward because there's a great deal of concern now, but these bunkers could be of use anytime in the next 200 years," Vicino says. "We're building for whenever."
Step 1: Find and buy a chunk of farmable land you can realistically drive to, preferably with a water supply.
Step 2: Dig a well anyway, you know you'll need it.
Step 3: Dig a big damn hole.
Step 4: Drop one of these into it.
Step 5: Put a door in the top, wire up your solar panels and install a ventilator.
$50,000 is a lot of money, and it seems like it will take 70 of those 135 seats to pay for this place (still, 3.25 million is a right nice profit margin).
For anyone with a sizable family, creating your own shelter is a far more reasonable endevour. While increased scale can reduce costs, it also increases the fragility of the system.
For example, how many psycopaths or crying babies will it take to create a death count? Sure, 12g nutjob is not getting in, but what about the person with a ticket who is a bit late? Compromise the air quality, or screw out a paying customer? Actually, why let in anyone at all? You have the facility for 135 paid for by others. Why not move in your two dozen friends and family (who never paid you a dime) and lock the blast doors?
Shelter from what?...and for how long? The foggy paranoia underlying this scam is blatant. This is Chicken Little gone mainstream. I have a better idea: we stay put and work together to build a sane, fair and compassionate world.
If the end does come, I hope I have the courage of Techumseh, who said "When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home."
First the end of the world and the end of people are entirely different things.
Buying into a safe room to protect you from the end of the world makes about as much sense as buying into special seats on an airplane just in case it crashes.
Its the end of the world, its a safe bet the bunker will go with it. And besides even if it's the end of people you have to come out eventually, and to what? No people, food, or even oxygen depending on what's taken place (Bet he didn't think about oxygen).
Not sure I'd want to survive to see it.
As far as 2012, seriously? Why are people always trying to cook up the end of the world? Its narcissistic in a way. We think we are so important that a planet that has been around for billions of years will spontaneously end because of our drop in the bucket 150,000 year existence.
Short of nuclear catastrophe its not likely. Maybe an asteroid? Which irony would have it destined for one of this guys apocalypse bunkers. Remember it was suppose to be the year 2000 that it all ends, now since that didn't happen its on to 2012. The guy in this article is so anxious for it he's got bets placed on 2013 in case the Mayan's math was wrong I guess.
If we spent as much time building a better world as we do preparing for it to end we'd be much better off.
I think his choice the build in California is just wrong. He should have choosen a state that is largely Republican ! (^_^)
I would not consider something like this unless I was wealthy enough that the cost would be pocket change to me, and if that was the case I would do it, and do it my way ;)
not so much because I expect the end of the entire world or the end of the human race but there is always the possibility of a war, and maybe that war will not end everything or end humanity but if it left the city I lived in looking like Berlin or London after the 2nd WW or Hiroshima or Nagasaki in Japan then it would be a good place to shelter the storm.
I would stock and equip it like I was planning to rebuild the world not because I expect all humanity to be destroyed except my little band of survivors but because a really nasty nuclear war could leave the worlds survivors few and far apart, then such resources would help to find usable land drinkable water and breathable air and help to unite any near survivors.
but most of all, as I do not expect anything worse then a nasty war it would give me piece of mind knowing I had it and I could pass it on to my family if nothing severe happens within my lifetime.
I would have chosen one that is not nearly so prone to earthquakes ;)
but then again he is rebuilding an old military bomb shelter and there are just not that meny of them for sale ;)
Are they taking steps to make sure there are enough women?
General "Buck" Turgidson: Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn't that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?
Dr. Strangelove: Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious... service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.
Ambassador de Sadesky: I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor.
Problems I see: 1) In the "end of civilization" scenarios when you would use this, there is no law, and no expectation of the law reappearing. So any contracts you sign with this company aren't worth the paper they are printed on. You show up expecting to be let in and, why exactly would the caretaker let you in? Because you signed a contract? Ha.
2) This place needs air. It would be very easy to block up the air-supply vents once you found them with rocks/dirt/garbage, thus "smoking out" anyone inside, or killing them. (I'd build my "vault" up in rocky/hill area surrounded by granite boulders.)
3) Cali isn't going anywhere nor it is going to be flooded etc. Its been here for millions of years. You won't have to worry about nature getting you, its the humans you have deal with and desperate people are really dangerous. Vaults will only work if essentially no one knows about them.
$50k/person is a lot of money to share a space with people who will have problems you don't want to deal with. Imagine the drama of a bunch of sniveling rich people wondering who's going to serve them their drinks and clean their pools when it's time to exit the shelter? I can just see it now, Buffy breaks her high heel shoe, her make up runs and looks like a clown after crying for a half hour, an unmitigated disaster!
Survival is for those whose outlook on life doesn't revolve around the latest fashion trend and is willing to start from scratch. If you don't like the camping scene, then don't bother wasting your money on a shelter because sissies won't make it anyhow never mind having to put up with the drama.
Why not trench a hole large enough for a mobile home with a concrete slab over it with the appropriate water tight damper openings for ventilation and exit? Stock it with MREs, ammo, meds, books on tape, batteries, etc. and your set. There are plenty of abandoned ore and coal mines that could be reinforced and are big enough to wheel hundreds of mobile homes into if you don't think trenching is deep enough.
The interior renders look like IKEA branded Scandinavian prison cells.
Anyone see any similarities between this and 2012?
Maybe they should have a "trial run"- a half-year inside one of these places w/ the only eligible individuals being chosen from people who have bought occupancy there. You could make it into a type of reality series, with the facility's ability to fend off everything from supervolcanic ash to radioactive fallout to (even) above ground survivors "unhappy" about being left out of these "oases of hope". Would anyone reading this watch?
Dam, they really are getting ready for 2012! Definitely looks nice, but they will need sunlight to survive!
"... The World’s First Everything-Proof ..."
Well, clearly it is not "scam-proof"...
"We Entertain When It Rains"
These guys are a joke. I actually contacted them and filled out their "application" to see where things would go. I guess I was what they needed at my local shelter since within 24 hours of filling out the application, the "selection committee" selected me! I guess I was the perfect candidate for the community - i.e., my check would clear. So much for the rigorous testing to balance out each location.
Problem is, when it comes time to rely on others, these guys are the last group of people I would trust to remain quiet and confidential about the site. Add to that all the constructions guys that helped build, retrofit, dig, or decorate and there are too many opportunities to blow my little secret.
On the Terra Vivos website, these guys asked how I wished to be contacted via a check box on the application. I selected, phone only (no email) - didn't want the wife to know, and within a day or two, I started getting emails from them. They were unable to follow their own policy, how could I trust them to keep a secret and build something I would rely on if they can't follow something a simple as phone or email?
Then, the rest of the problems hit me. Big accident occurs, all the owners rush to the site along with the non owners, friends, relatives, neighbors, curious and desperate locals. I guess the sign on the door that says, only owners may enter, will keep them away. Or is it my fellow owners that will have my back as they decide when to lock the vault as I am driving there to insure they are safe. Or perhaps there is a guy I can trust checking licenses or property titles at the door. Or perhaps it is the fact that nobody would dream of bringing extra people to the shelter.
Bottom line, if you feel the need to have a survival shelter, you better handle it yourself. There are companies out there that can quietly build what you need, places to buy food, and land that can be purchased without hundreds of people knowing your business.
If you ask me, these guys are out to make a fast buck and hope nobody really thinks through all the problems and issues associated with this idea. Could the problems be fixed, yes. Will Terra Vivos fix them, I doubt it.
See ya in 2012!
It bothers me that people will actually invest in ventures like this!
To hell with these vaults, come nuclear doomsday - I'm moving to Megaton.
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I just finished a book called "Swan Song" and this reminds me of Blue Dome Mountain. By the way, it didn't fare to well. Some things you can't account for.
Interesting how people always claim they know when a great disaster happens. No, sorry, nobody knows when such a thing will happen. What I do find interesting is that nearly 2000 years ago even they knew people would attempt to build underground bunkers to protect them from such a disaster.
I believe John wrote in Revelation 6:15 (in the KJV Bible):
"And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains"
Believe it or not, it still is fascinating man thinks they can survive such an all encompassing calamity, religious or atheist.
Nevertheless, I do not doubt people will build such things.
My advice to people paying for such things would be, "only trust solid granite" and never crawl down a hole that can collapse and trap you there.
Hey fellow survivalists your more likely to die by accident before December 21 2012 than any major disaster except for a personal one.
Well this is definitely a rip off for those poor bastards that gave this guy their money.
Gold is always a good investment if any kind of monetary society survives a ELE .
Would you really want to survive if every one else is dead ?,and the world would be a different place to us all.
Oh ya WAR it never changes.
PEACE Brothers and Sisters may you live a very long and happy life LOL.
So, what we've got here is a way for the rich elite to survive a major national or global disaster... TYPICAL!
Youse guys are all wet! I bought in and am selling my share on ebay! $1 STARTING BID, NO RESERVE, AND BUY IT NOW AT $1,000,000.
Geeze am I gonna be rich!
With my huge profit I'm going to build a rocket with a bunck of bunk beds and sell them for $10,000 each. Then when disaster strikes we will just blast off! We'll come back when it's over.
Unfortunately, you have to buy your snacks on-board.
Hey, don't give me that look! It worked for this guy didn't it?
I imagine that mental disorders among paranoid Chicken Littlers would only be exacerbated once they are locked inside together with other paranoid strangers.
Imagine the level of fear and suspicion among people who paid for this security, who now face trying to start over in an enclosed world with new neighbors who are just as fuity and nutty as they are. I would love to be a fly on the wall -- speaking of which, what if bedbugs and cockroaches hitchhike a ride inside? That would be the end of pleasantries in the underground bunker as we know it.
And disease... a few unknowingly contagious people carry microbes inside, get sick, spread their poison and then we have a failsafe hospital with no meds and a morgue with no undertaker. (Where will they bury the bodies?)
After reading this article I may as well kill myself now! Live each day to the fullest! Love others, make a difference, improve your community and plan for the future. If one thinks they can avert cataclysmic disaster, they are a greater fool than me! Do not life in fear, live in faith!!!
Reminds me of Miller's "A Canticle for Liebowitz" (snipurl.com/canticle-liebowitz) -- a book they <i>won't</i> want in the bunker library.
Hmmm, Plasma TV on the wall, wonder if he is going to offer WIFI as well .. what a scam.
What we have to fear in 2012 doesn't require a bunker that people can plug breathing holes up on. What we have to fear is "People" when the power grids are blown out by the solar storm NASA predicts. The solar storm is suppose to be the strongest in 150 years. 150 tears ago, it fried a few telegraph wires, no big deal. In 2012, it will likely cripple our entire infrastructure, from satellites through financial communication to the power grids. There will be TOTAL Martial Law declared!
The Government is actually counting on this, and they are doing nothing to protect the grids, they want it to happen, it is part of their plan for the NWO.
It's a good idea and all but there are things missing like, whats the deal with the RV'S ? Live in them until its time to join the cult downstairs? So something happens and the earth is nothing but lava flows, or there is only bare ground or who know's whats up there, does he open the door and tell everyone ok time to leave! Have a great day, see ya soon maybe the next time something happens! Hasta la Vista. Get in your RV'S and get the heck off my property! Ok now he sent everyone to their doom now where is the bank? Oh Crap!! There isn't one I can't use my money!! LOL