In the age of coronavirus and violent protests throughout the United States, more and more people are retreating to personal bunkers to live, according to the New York Post.
A February YouGov survey reported that 19% of Americans thought a global pandemic or climate change would bring about the end of the world, compared to 17% who believed humanity will be wiped out by nuclear war.
To accommodate people who are fearful of a number of calamities that may end the world, bunker-leasing and selling companies — like Hardened Structures in Virginia Beach, Va., Northeast Bunkers in Pittsfield, Maine, and Atlas Survival Shelters in Sulphur Springs, Texas — have sprung up around the country.
Tom Soulsby, 69, and his wife, Mary, put a $25,000 down payment and signed a 99-year land lease for a bunker at Vivos xPoint, known as the “largest survival community on Earth," close to Edgemont, South Dakota. Fees for his bunker are also $1,000 per year for the 2,200 square-foot underground concrete bunker which was once a military fortress in World War II used as a weapon storage facility.
“This is just an insurance policy,” Soulsby said. “I’m going to fix it up and pass it down to my family. I hope no one ever has to use it.”
The bunker gives Soulsby a secure building reinforced with concrete and steel blast door entrance, retrofitted electrical wiring, an internal power generator, plumbing and walls designed to endure a 500,000-pound internal explosion.
Larry Hall, 63, transformed an underground Cold War nuclear missile silo in Kansas into a 15-story, upside-down skyscraper. He said he's got four times the number of prospective buyers for his property, which he attributes to the coronavirus pandemic.
“People now realize just how fragile their normal existence really is,” Hall said. “To this point, we now have a new level of credibility and far less people who considered us as ‘paranoid.’ ”
Cultural geographer Bradley Garrett interviewed Soulsby, Hall and other bunker dwellers for his new book “Bunker: Building for the End Times” (Scribner), which is scheduled to be released on Tuesday.
“In the past, if there was a disaster somewhere, we might learn about it long after the event had passed, or never at all,” he says. “Now we’re subjected to an endless drip-feed of dread detailing every emergency, major and minor, taking place across the world. This gives us a collective sense that everything is falling apart.”
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