Tuesday, May 18, 2010

doomsday safe-haven offered under mojave desert

Video - Twilight Zone The Shelter.

CBS | A company with a doomsday plan is taking money for what it promises will be a comfortable, nuke-proof bunker under the Mojave Desert, with an atrium, gym and jail, and sloppy joes and pearl potatoes on the menu.

Robert Vicino, who runs the Del Mar-based company called Vivos, has collected deposits on half the 132 spaces planned in the 13,000-square-foot bunker in Barstow.

The facility is among several popping up across the country as fears of doomsday have been fueled recently by strong earthquakes, terrorism and predictions of the world's end in 2012 when the ancient Mayan calendar is said to end.

"I'm careful not to promote fear. But sooner or later, I believe you're going to need to seek shelter," said Vicino, a real estate salesman whose career started with advertising and moved on to timeshares.

The political climate now in some ways reflects the Cold War era, when many Americans dug backyard fallout shelters, said Jeffrey Knopf, an associate professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey.

"There's a lot of free-floating anxiety out there about the dangers that terrorists will get nuclear weapons and it multiplies," he said.

Facilities such as Vicino's are attracting interest in other states such as Oregon and Kansas, where one engineer is developing underground survival condos for $1.75 million.

In Barstow, $50,000 will get a bunk in a four-person room. Vicino is still taking reservations: $5,000 for adults and $2,500 for kids. Pets are free.