As fears of terrorist plots, earthquakes and doomsday predictions rock the American psyche, a Southern California company is building luxury survivalist bunkers complete with wide-screen TVs, plumbing, and bunk-beds. They start at about $65,000 (£42,000) and that doesn’t include the cost of digging a big enough hole.
Ron Hubbard, founder of Atlas Survival Shelters (no relation to the founder of the Church of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard) gives a tour of his luxury shelter designed to withstand a catastrophe for up to 90 days.
Speaking from his warehouse near Los Angeles, Mr Hubbard insists he is not “fear mongering.”
He earns a living providing luxury survival bunkers to ‘survivalists’, a group of people who believe they are in danger from a terrorist attack, economic meltdown, and even solar flares or meteor showers.
Unlike Cold War-era shelters, Atlas shelters are half the length of a basketball court and 10 feet wide. Each one has a master bedroom, dining area and a sofa facing a 47-inch flat screen TV.
Mr Hubbard says his phone rang constantly last December as people attempted to prepare for the end of the world that never came. The 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar passed by, without disaster. The annual celestial treat of the Perseid meteorssoaring through the sky last month resulted in another spike in business, with customers looking for a way to stay safe in case one hit Earth.