Preparing for Doomsday

(SHUTTERSTOCK PHOTO)

(SHUTTERSTOCK PHOTO)

THANE BURNETT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:44 PM ET

In the end, the downers and the killjoys warn there will be an awfully high price to pay.

Our sun could have a cosmic conniption.

Or a mysterious ‘Planet X’ could swoop by.

Or our world’s poles could turn on themselves.

Or our neighbours could turn on one another.

Or, well, you get the bleak picture.

And thanks to frets over the end of the ancient Maya calendar, December 2012 is shaping up to be — despite the world’s best scientists saying doomsday fears are bunk — a notoriously gloomy destination.

But if the turn of the last millennium has taught mankind any lesson — similar to the backyard bunker craze during the Cold War — it’s people are always ready to invest in personal salvation.

Though, be warned, Doomsday profits are never a sure thing.

At Costco, you could always buy too many toothpicks to ever use.

But now, the American bulk-store stocks — for $999.99 US — an emergency one-year supply of dehydrated and freeze-dried food for one-person. On the menu, it includes six cans of whole eggs and another six cans of dehydrated potato chunks. There are even taco fixings.

The online help-desk for the Canadian fleet of stores couldn’t find the same deal on their racks. Though we can always stock up on toothpicks.

Online, you can buy 2012 ‘survival guides’ for $39.

Another site offers an emergency seed bank — for $139 — stocked with the makings of an acre of crops.

And for those who are little more laid back about end-times, there are 2012 teddy bears and T-shirts that — forecasting worries the poles will reverse — point out ‘Shift Happens.’

The biggest money, by far, is being sunk into a new generation of bunkers.

The super-rich, countless bloggers assure, have already built their own.

So why not average people?

For Larry Hall, that means selling space in a 14-level underground ‘survival condo’ in Kansas — a plush refuge, that can be a primary or second-home capable of peacefully drowning out the sound of hustle and bustle as well as the nagging shrill of Armageddon.

The nuclear-blast-repelling shell is a former Atlas missile silo, where a minimum $900,000 will buy you half a floor of “Star Trek technology meets survival bunker.”

And yes, there’s a workout area.

“Our biggest frustration (has been) horrible luck with investors,” says Hall, a Florida engineer, who has sunk $600,000 of his own money in one of the world’s most advanced holes in the ground.

He can get his hands on about 65% of the needed funds from committed backers to bring the project to life but other investors are hedging or having trouble liquidating assets.

Another concern is a matter of time.

A Canadian couple from B.C., wanted to be let in, but they went elsewhere when they were told there would be a wait for the retrofit.

“I’m almost ready to scream,” says the developer, who may have to scale back the project.

Robert Vicino has also seen some investor hedging. He’s planning bunkers across the U.S., and speaks about potential markets in China and Russia, as well as a super-complex somewhere — he won’t say where — in Europe.

His California company, Vivos, sells a sort of doomsday time-share. For an initial investment of $5,000, you can reserve space in a sanctuary, including a bunker in the desert near Barstow, California.

That facility is not complete, and is being built on the strong bones of a former emergency communications shelter.

Each four-person room — and a year of everything you would need to survive with the doors shut — costs $50,000.

“They just need to show up with the shirt on their back,” Vicino assures.

While his company website includes ominous music and a roadmap of every conceivable terror, Vicino believes he’s not trying to profit on scaring the beejeebers out of people.

“We’re not providing fear, but (rather) hope,” he argues.

“So far, we haven’t seen a profit,” he offers, while adding there’s actually nothing wrong with making a dollar.

And of the ultimate cost? Someday soon, he believes: “Those that ridiculed us will be the ones shouting the loudest to ‘let us in.'”

'It's a calling'

The calls from worried “2012ers” are coming faster now.

For years now, Bruce Beach — a grandfatherly-figure who lives with his wife in the quiet rural Ontario community of Horning’s Mills — has prepared for global calamity.

He now gets more inquiries in a month than he would over more than a year.

To some he counsels, his worst fear may seem old school — even quaint, if Armageddon can ever be that.

Beach — from a home warmed by a wood stove and using a family Toyota without a working heater — plans for a nuclear holocaust that, he’s sure, will redirect the course of humanity.

The 77-year-old retired engineer owns one of the largest privately constructed nuclear fallout shelters in North America. Ark II sits under farmland — 42 buses, all connected to form a 929-square-meter bunker. They are covered with at least 2.4 metres of earth, as well as concrete.

Lots of people lately have told Beach he should find a way to profit from his mission, and newfound status as an apocalyptic guide.

“Everyone figures you’re out to make a buck,” he says, as his dog barks at unseen visitors just outside the door.

“And it’s a calling. You don’t make a buck off that.”


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