Saturday, June 26, 2010

ABC Nightline: Underground "Noah's Ark" bunkers

On Friday, June 25, ABC Nightline (with Terry Moran and David Wright) presented a seven minute short film on or underground “Noah’s Ark” or doomsday bunkers being built privately in rural areas around the country, often by the same engineers who build them for governments. They are built to be experienced as  like cruise ship luxury spaces.

Pricing varies. Some charge $50000 per family or $25000 per additional child. Some sell space at about $1 per floor or level. Typically a bunker has 10-15 levels underground. I recall a science fiction novel named “Level 7” about this concept back in the 1960s.

The shelter shown in the Nightline report apparently was being built somewhere in the Mojave Desert in California (maybe near "Zzyxx Road" perhaps? ["It's Academic"]. Other attractive areas would include Nevada, Arizona, and the western Great Plains.

The report showed comical excerpts from the “Duck and Cover” clips of the 1950s when nuclear war was feared.

The report also showed a father and son preparing to purchase a unit, with a “boy scout be prepared” mentality. The report mentioned the movies “The Road”, “The Book of Eli”, and the “Mad Max” Australian movies of the late 1970s.

Doomsday could occur because of terrorism, natural cataclysm (the 2012 effect), destruction of the environment, or the breakdown of a fiat money economy.  Another interesting possibility could be EMP (electromagnetic pulse, as from a high altitude nuclear blast doing little damage at ground level); don't know if that would affect an underground facility, which could be protected by Faraday-like devices.

The company was also building shelters in China and Russia.

I visited the Greenbrier Resort shelter (now no longer in contingent use) in White Sulphur Springs W Va. in August 1997. There appears to be a smaller similar facility on Mount Weather in the Va Blue Ridge between Routes 7 and 50, which can be driven by but not visited.

My novel manuscript imagines an "Academy" in west Texas to re-educate people for "apocalypse" (set up as a right wing plot with religious and possibly extraterrestrial connections), and a related underground bunker in Arizona, on the Mogollon rim, which was envisioned as able to take in refugees when the final pandemic comes. However, I have several locations related the effort, and the difficulty in a novel is maintaining the same level of tension in plotting at each location. The different characters may be in different locations.

Wikipedia attribution link for Mt. Weather photo (actually taken by Homeland Security Department)

Below, personal picture (2005) along route 601 near Mt. Weather.

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