Shelter

World’s Largest Private Underground Shelter Project Cancelled

There’s been more talk than usual in the news about underground survival shelters due to a recent Wall Street Journal article featuring luxury survival condo builder Larry Hall of Doomsday Preppers-fame (blogged about here in March 2012). Headlining that November 9 piece:

“Affluent buyers worried about doomsday are snapping up well-appointed bunkers built in a former missile silo”

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know the wealthy have been acquiring survival shelters for a number of years now.

But what about those who would like the perceived safety of a bunker but don’t have the financial resources to acquire one? Well, they may have been consoled knowing there were plans for a more affordable 5,000-person Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort (wrote about in June 2013) to be built in an existing below-ground complex just south of Atchison, Kansas. Encompassing over 2 million square feet, it was billed as the world’s largest private underground survival shelter. But checking on the status of the project today, I read the following on the website of Del Mar, California-based Vivos Group:

Vivos has reluctantly decided to pull the plug on the Atchison, KS project for use as an underground survival shelter from our expanding network. Despite our significant investment of time and expense for the intended retrofit and outfitting of the cave system, numerous concerns arose related to the geological stability and safety of the cave structure that we believe may compromise its ability to withstand the anticipated forces of future catastrophic or earth changing events. These are risks we simply cannot take with potentially so many lives at stake.

Our concerns included many issues from a history of previous ‘domeout’ cave collapses, with the potential for unforeseeable and unpredictable future cave-ins; controlling the ongoing humidity and temperature extremes; to a variety of health and environmental concerns expressed by our members and crew who visited the facility with no clear means of mitigation.

We hope to soon be able to offer another shelter within this geographic region of America. In the meantime, please contact us about other immediate Vivos shelter opportunities.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“World’s largest doomsday shelter coming to Kansas”
YouTube Video

Too bad the project didn’t pan out. I’ll have to check around and see if a similar affordable private underground shelter isn’t in the works someplace else in the United States.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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REI Offering Beginner Wilderness Survival Class In NW Cook County On Nov. 30

Any Chicagoland blog readers looking to learn about basic wilderness survival? I came across the following on the REI website the other day:

REI Outdoor School

Wilderness Survival: 3-Season Skills

Description: Join REI Outdoor School for a wilderness survival class focusing on 3-season skills that could save your life. During this class you will learn practical tips and strategies that every outdoor traveler should know, including: emergency priorities; how to make an emergency shelter; how to locate and access drinking water; and how to make your own emergency kit with all the essentials. You will also participate in interactive scenarios to practice and hone your skills. This class is designed for anyone who spends time outdoors.

Skills you’ll learn: As a result of this class, participants will gain knowledge regarding

• Emergency Kits/Essentials
• Emergency Priorities
• Emergency Shelters
• Water location and procurement.

According to the website, the class is being offered on November 30, 2014, from 9 AM to 2 PM at Deer Grove Forest Preserve, Grove 5 (Palatine, Illinois, northwest Cook County). Activity level is “easy active,” skill level “beginner,” and minimum age to participate is 13. The cost for REI members is $65, non-members $85. The class size is 12, with 4 spots remaining as I type this. For more information, go to the class web page on the REI website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, November 13th, 2014 Emergencies, Gear, Preparedness, Shelter, Supplies, Training, Water No Comments

Project Prepper, Part 24: Restart And Recap

It’s been a few months since I last published a “Project Prepper” post.

Considering all the material I have that’s just waiting to be blogged about, I don’t envision another layoff like that one happening again soon with this or one of the other series of posts currently running on Survival And Prosperity.

Today, I want to recap the “Project Prepper” series so far.

At two dozen posts, key topics I’ve blogged about since October 2012- when the first post debuted- have included:

• Starting up the “Project Prepper” series due to an increased awareness of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to life and lifestyle where I’ve decided to acquaint myself more with “prepping” via a sustained “hands-on” program of learning by doing

• Relocating from Chicago to the suburbs with an eye towards eventually settling down in Wisconsin (moved from Chicago to the northwest suburbs in late spring 2013)

• Establishing a prioritized list of 6 “innate survival needs” that my preparedness education will focus on:

1. Security
2. Water
3. Food
4. Shelter
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy

• Starting and building the foundation of an emergency water supply

• Starting an emergency food supply

Now, in these two dozen posts I’ve talked about items I’ve purchased as part of the “Project Prepper” series. For example, the Scepter 5 Gallon Manual Venting Water Jerry Can with CRC (Light Blue/Military Style) to store emergency water.

Going forward, I’m adding a new page to Survival And Prosperity this weekend entitled “Gear And Supplies” where I’ll be listing gear, supplies, and other items talked about in this series of posts and elsewhere on the blog- and links for where to buy them- if I feel they might offer something to readers.

It’s nice to be back in the saddle again. Until next week…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Free Online Survival Training Summit Starts January 20

Speaking of survival instruction tonight, what do you have planned next week? You see, I got an e-mail last week from someone involved with The Survival Summit, billed as a “FREE, five-day, online training summit where 25 of the world’s most sought-after experts on Survival and Self Reliance will be teaching online classes.” The online event is scheduled to take place starting next Monday, January 20, and continues until January 26. From the Summit’s website:

Join Us For The SURVIVAL Summit?

January 20-26th, 2014

This January, the founders of The Prepper Project will be hosting an exclusive online event that we’re calling ‘The Survival Summit’:

It’s going to be a FREE, five-day, online training summit where 25 of the world’s most sought-after experts on Survival and Self Reliance will be teaching online classes, giving you 5 solid days and over 24 hours of training and strategies with the single focus of keeping your family alive, safe, and fed during a triggered societal collapse.

Topics we’ll be covering during this 5-day event will include:

• How to develop a STRONG ‘Protection Triad’ with detailed Property Security & Threat Planning… Water, Energy, & Fuel Systems… and Self-Reliant Food Production & Storage.
• How to grow your own food supply, without fertilizers, pesticides, or even irrigation. Even if you live in an arid climate.
• How to spot the ideal homestead or survival retreat locations.
• Building concepts for hiding your home in the wilderness.
• Blueprints for setting up your property with its own off-grid water and energy supply.
• Trapping secrets for protecting crops like corn from being stolen by Raccoons, or potatoes from being ravaged by voles.
• How to feed & clothe your family by trapping like the settlers.
• How to protect your loved ones in a world where the police are no longer coming to your rescue.
• Different strategies for defending a suburban versus rural home or property from looters or armed gangs.
• How to fortify your home from being breached. And the skills you need to know to escape from an unlawful restraint or kidnapping.
• Off-grid medical techniques, herbal remedies for fighting potential flu pandemics, how to legally create your own renewable fuels, and much, much more.

And that’s really just the beginning!

Sign up to attend The Survival Summit that kicks off on Monday, January 20th by entering your email address in the form below now, and we’ll send you more details about our speaker lineup in the weeks ahead.

Again, this event is completely FREE to attend!

And you can watch all 25 of the presenters completely online from your home computer, provided you have a secure high speed Internet connection.

So there’s no traveling to a central location; your privacy and identity remain protected.

But again, we want to emphasize, only those who register in advance by entering their names and emails addresses will be told how and where to attend this event.

We won’t be publicly broadcasting these details across the Internet.

So if you know of someone who could benefit from joining this conversation with us, please direct them to this page to register as well.

We Hope You’ll Join Us For The Week of January 20th.


“The Survival Summit”
YouTube Video

I took a quick look at the list of preparedness-related experts booked for the Summit. I’m familiar with the work of a number of them, and I’m impressed they’ll be a part of this project. So much so I might have to schedule my blogging and other activities around viewing the Summit presentations next week.

Now, if you’re like me, when someone uses the word “free” in a pitch, a red flag is raised. How can all this online instruction be free? From the website’s FAQ page:

Each day, a couple of presentations will be posted on the summit website and will be available during the day for people to watch absolutely free. It’s much like if you were attending a regular convention. After the day is over the presentations will no longer be available to watch for free but will be available for purchase as part of the summit upgrade package.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

A summit upgrade package. That’s how The Survival Summit can offer this material for free.

If the “online classes” are as good as I and others hope they are (which wouldn’t be much of a stretch consider the experts involved in the Summit), I can see those packages selling rather well as a resource to refer back to down the road.

Next Monday, January 20, The Survival Summit begins. Register now to book a place at this special online event.

Click on the following banner ad to go to the Summit’s website. If you register for the event via this link and eventually purchase a summit upgrade package, I receive a commission from the sale.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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In Print: SAS Survival Handbook

I can’t believe it’s been almost two-and-a-half years since I last published a book review post.

Where does the time go, right?

Now, I recently got the chance to read John “Lofty” Wiseman’s SAS Survival Handbook. I picked this book to restart my “In Print” series because I’m in the process of adding survival-related texts to my home library. Prior to this purchase, the closest thing I had to it subject-wise was my trusty old Official Boy Scout Handbook from 1983.

There are a number of survival manuals out there, including the U.S. Army Survival Handbook, the U.S. Air Force Survival Handbook, and others. There were some pretty impressive reviews floating around out there on this SAS book, so I decided to pick up the 2009 revised edition of the text. From the back cover:

FOR ANY CLIMATE, IN ANY SITUATION

Newly updated to reflect the latest in survival knowledge and technology, the internationally bestselling SAS Survival Handbook is the definitive resource for all campers, hikers, and outdoor adventurers. From basic campcraft and navigation to fear management and strategies for coping with any type of disaster, this complete course includes:

BEING PREPARED: Understanding basic survival needs and preparing essentials, such as a pocket survival kit.

MAKING CAMP: Finding the best location, constructing the appropriate shelter, organizing camp, and creating tools.

FOOD: What to eat, what to avoid, where to find it, and how to prepare it.

FIRST AID: A comprehensive course in emergency/wilderness medicine, including how to maximize survival in any climate or when injured.

DISASTER SURVIVAL: How to react in the face of increasingly frequent natural disasters and hostile situations—and how to survive at home if all services and supplies are cut off.

So who is John “Lofty” Wiseman? According to the back cover:

Wiseman served in the British Special Air Service (SAS) for twenty-six years. The SAS Survival Handbook is based on the training techniques of this world-famous elite fighting force.

A clearer picture of who the author is and what kind of survival knowledge he brings to the table with him in this handbook is found on the website of the Trueways Survival School, with whom Wiseman is an instructor. From that site:

John “Lofty” Wiseman joined the Parachute Regiment in 1958. He applied for service with the Special Air Service Regiment in 1959 and set a record as the youngest person ever to pass selection at the age of 18. John served with 22 SAS for 26 years (and, as he likes to point out, 55 days)! He saw active service worldwide, in every theatre of operations and special operations required of the British Army between 1959 and 1985. Amongst other things, John was Sergeant Major, B Squadron (Sabre Sqn) 22 SAS, Sergeant Major 22 SAS Training Wing, Head of Operational Research 22 SAS, set up the SP Team (Counter Hi-Jack), set up the SAS Counter-Terrorist Team (you know…those chaps who ended the Iranian Embassy siege) and trained the first members of the US Green Berets to return to the USA to form the famous Delta Force (US Special Forces). John also ran the famed SAS Selection Course, deciding who was fit to join the Regiment. By the time he retired from active service in 1985, he was held in such high esteem that it could be said of him, to directly quote the Commanding Officer of 22 SAS at the time, “Lofty is a legend in this Regiment”.

In addition, John ran the Survival Training School for 22 SAS at Hereford, specialising in all aspects of survival training (land, sea, jungle, desert, arctic, mountains – wherever a special forces soldier or civilian might find themselves). After retiring from 22 Special Air Service Regiment, John set up the Survival School at Hereford. John has trained survival instructors and consultants, expedition members, overseas survival training specialists, military and civilian.

Really impressive stuff.

Onto the 576-page book. It’s broken down into the following chapters:

Introduction
1. Essentials
2. Strategy
3. Climate & Terrain
4. Food
5. Camp Craft
6. Reading The Signs
7. On The Move
8. Health
9. Survival At Sea
10. Rescue
11. Disasters
Postscript
Index

In the introduction, Wiseman lays out a solid foundation for understanding survival from which readers are to work from. He says:

Survival depends upon applying basic principles and adapting them to the circumstances. These basic principles form an essential pyramid of learning for the survivor.

Think of a pyramid divided into three layers (largest one being the base, smallest being the tip), where the bottom-most layer is the “Will to live,” the middle being “Knowledge,” and the top-most layer is “Kit.”

In the next chapter, entitled “Essentials,” the former SAS survival instructor points out:

Survival is the art of staying alive. Any equipment you have must be considered a bonus.

Wiseman adds:

The main elements of survival are Food, Fire, Shelter, Water, Navigation and Medicine. To put these in order of priority we use the acronym PLAN. No matter where you are in the world this will never change be it in the Arctic, desert, jungle, sea or seashore.

PLAN stands for (P)rotection from further danger/elements, (L)ocation in terms of alerting rescuers to your position, (A)cquisition of food and water while waiting to be rescued, and (N)avigation where “good navigation will keep you en route and will often avert a survival situation.”

I just love when someone with so much knowledge about a subject can break things down and keep it simple for the rest of us.

The chapter goes on to talk about the “essentials” for survival- being prepared, research, planning, equipment, and the unexpected. It also goes into great detail about survival kits (“a few key items” stored in a tin), the “survival pouch” (“too large to carry in your pocket like your survival tin but kept where it can be grabbed quickly in an emergency”), and knives, before finishing up with a discussion about facing disaster, water, and salt.

The Intro and “Essentials” chapters serve as the launching point for the rest of the handbook, so readers are best served understanding what Wiseman is trying to get across in this section, practicing it, and putting together/acquiring the items he prescribes, especially if the text is being used as a “complete course” as mentioned on the back cover.

The remainder of the SAS Survival Handbook is chock-full of “how-to” information covering those topics broken down above. The accompanying illustrations are both color and black-and-white, and are detailed adequately enough.

I found Chapter 11, “Disasters,” particularly interesting. Drought, fire, chemical and biological warfare, gases and chemicals, flood, hurricane, tornado, lightning, earthquake, volcano, and nuclear explosion are covered, in addition to something called “Home Front.” Wiseman writes in the chapter intro:

Home front faces the problems of coping with survival on your own doorstep if the services and supplies on which we normally depend are cut off.

Wiseman reminds us:

You do not have to be miles away from civilization to be caught in a survival situation. Natural disaster, civil disturbance or military action could cut you off from all the usual services and food supplies. Until they can be re-established, you would be left to manage on your own resources and skills.

The former SAS survival instructor goes on to talk about food stores, priorities, water, fire, food, shelter, and hygiene in such a scenario.

In summary, I really liked this latest edition of the SAS Survival Handbook. Granted, I’m not a survival expert whose knowledgeable enough to point out any shortfalls tucked away in the nearly 600 pages of text and illustrations, nor do I really have anything else to compare it to (unless you count that Official Boy Scout Handbook, in which case, it’s the BSA handbook on steroids). But I do know this. The SAS book has tons and tons of information that I, personally, would want on-tap in case TSHTF. Not only is John “Lofty” Wiseman’s survival reference book a welcome addition to my home library, but I’m thinking about getting the 384-page pocket-size SAS Survival Guide by Wiseman to review as well with an eye towards throwing it in my future bug-out bag that I’ll be putting together down the road as part of my “Project Prepper” series of posts.

The SAS Survival Handbook is available for purchase on the Barnes & Noble website hereicon (all orders for eligible items amounting to $25 or more still qualify for free shipping within the U.S.). Please note by clicking on the link and making a purchase I receive a commission on the sale.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Title added to “Resources” page)

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Project Prepper, Part 21: Progress Report

Late August was when I last published a “Project Prepper” post. Because it’s been a few months, I want to take some time tonight to put together a “progress report” on how far I’ve come with my “preps” to date.

Back on February 27, I blogged that my preparedness activities as part of the “Project Prepper” series of posts would focus on the following 6 “innate survival needs.” In order of the priority I assigned to them:

• Security
• Water
• Food
• Shelter
• Sanitation and Health
• Energy

And why was it I made “Security” priority number one? I wrote in February:

Still, my gut feeling tells me right now I should be focusing on “Security” before other needs. Why’s that? Because this latest push for more gun “control” that’s going on in America right now could end up limiting my access to a number of tools and other accessories that I could use to construct an effective security setup.

I added later in the post:

Also, I’d feel more comfortable getting a jump on Water and Food (with water being more of a priority as a person can only last around three days without it, as opposed to around three weeks without food).

As for Shelter? Well, I’ve already done some work in this area as a number of readers already know, making plans to move out of the City of Chicago to the Northwest suburbs in late spring, with hopes of eventually acquiring a homestead in Southeast Wisconsin in a few years.

Finally, not much will probably be done regarding Energy and Sanitation/Health until after the move to the suburbs. But I do plan on getting some American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED instruction as soon as I can.

So, how am I doing with my preps?

Breaking them down:

Security- Truth be told, I had already been working on this area since 2009 when it became all too clear to me that wealth doesn’t do one much good when it can’t be protected. Subsequently, I have a number of different personal safety tools at my disposal now. I’m planning on adding more tools, related accessories, and lots of training as funds permit down the road. No time to rest on my laurels here (push for gun and other “control” relentless).

Water- Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I’ve made quite a bit of headway in this area as well. For starters, I wanted to make sure my girlfriend and I had at least a two-week emergency supply of water for each of us. To achieve this, I acquired some new storage containers and purchased cases of commercially-bottled mineral water. As it stands right now, I have the capability of storing 25.11 gallons of emergency water in the containers, giving me and my girlfriend a 12.56 day supply of water each for drinking and sanitation if following Ready.gov’s calculations (at least one gallon of water per person per day). With the bottled water, we’re easily at that two-week mark.

Still, I plan on acquiring even more emergency water and storing it in used 2-liter bottles that have been thoroughly cleaned out, in addition to occasionally purchasing more cases of commercially-bottled mineral water when they’re on sale every once in a while.

Food- Haven’t made much progress in this area yet. Making a priority in the coming weeks.

Shelter- A lot’s been done in this area over the last several months. The plan to move out of the city of Chicago to the Northwest suburbs in late spring was realized, with the urban apartment exchanged for a single-family house in the suburbs. The acquisition of a homestead in Wisconsin still remains the goal. In the meantime, the house in the ‘burbs will serve as my “Project Prepper Lab.”

Sanitation and Health- Not much progress yet. Looking to book a American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED class in the coming weeks.

Energy- Not much progress yet.

That’s it for my preparedness “progress report.” While I’m pleased with the progress made so far in the areas of Security, Shelter, and Water, I’ve barely touched Food, Sanitation/Health, and Energy.

Lots more work to do to satisfy these “innate survival needs.”

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘The Fight Ahead’ Preview

A week ago, I blogged about the start of season 3 of the National Geographic Channel’s hit TV series Doomsday Preppers. I noted that I was able to get an advance screening DVD of the first two episodes for the new season. Before it airs tonight at 9 PM ET, I want to preview episode 2 of Doomsday Preppers, entitled, “The Fight Ahead.” From the Nat Geo Channel website:

Prepper Chad believes that a nuclear strike resulting in a genocidal siege is a real possibility. At his home in Arizona, he is working on executing the biggest prep of his life- a 140-foot-long escape tunnel from his family’s house to a bug-out vehicle. With the help of his wife and daughter, he begins construction. But as the project unfolds, they realize they’re in over their heads.

In addition to Chad Hudspeth, his wife Debbie, and daughters Heidi and Holly out in Phoenix, there’s Mike Evock and his family out in Laurinburg, North Carolina, who are prepping for a biological/chemical attack.


“Tunnel Time”
YouTube Video

I watched the “The Fight Ahead” a couple of weeks ago and thought it was pretty good, especially as it contained a bunch of potential prepping ideas. Keep an eye out for the following tonight:

-The Hudspeth’s backyard aquaponics system, which also generates algae for producing biodiesel fuel
-The addition of an underground shelter with escape tunnel to the Hudspeth home
-The family’s use of a single code word to signal TSHTF
-The Evock’s being able to run a family business from their bug-out location
-Their BioDome, a portable sealed-off safe room that protects against biological/chemical attack
-Their combat-capable ATV, the “Interceptor”
-How to produce homemade caltrops, a tire-deflating device made from spiked steel

Like I said- lots on potential ideas in this episode.

One more thing. I noticed that while Practical Preppers LLC is still assessing the preppers featured in the TV series, I didn’t see any scores displayed for them at the end of the first two episodes of the third season. I wonder if it’s because I’m viewing copies that are “not cleared for broadcast.”

For more information about Doomsday Preppers, visit the National Geographic Channel here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: All-New Season Of Doomsday Preppers Starts Tonight

The National Geographic Channel has been pretty busy with their survival-themed programming this week. First, they aired the two-hour movie event American Blackout on Sunday. And tonight, an all-new season of Doomsday Preppers begins at 9 PM ET.

(Editor’s note: In August, four “summer episodes” of Doomsday Preppers aired. I erroneously labeled these season 3 of TV series. The third season of Nat Geo Channel’s hit TV series actually kicks off tonight. As such, I’ll be going back and making the necessary corrections on this blog.)

Season 3 debuts with the episode entitled “Take Our Country Back.” From the National Geographic Channel website:

Deep in Oregon’s backcountry sits an 80-acre off-the-grid estate that prepper Curt and his family have designed as a fortress in the event of an economic collapse. Isolation is one of their greatest strengths, but the protective measures are endless: a 3,000-square-foot greenhouse, a lake with 1 million gallons of water, infrared cameras and a high-tech software system not to mention the children are trained in marksmanship.

In addition to “Curt,” there’s Rodney Dial in Ketchikan, Alaska, who along with his wife Lisa and daughter Megan are prepping for major earthquakes in the Alaska area and the tsunamis they could potentially unleash.


“Armored for Armaggedon”
YouTube Video

I was lucky enough to get an advance screening DVD of two upcoming Doomsday Preppers season 3 episodes from the National Geographic Channel- including tonight’s show. After watching them the other week, I thought the Nat Geo Channel staff were correct in selecting this episode as the season premiere. Keep an eye out for the following on “Take Our Country Back” tonight:

-Rodney’s ingenious way of caching some of his of preps
-The Dial family’s bug-out vehicle, nicknamed the “War Machine”
-Curt’s 80-acre bug out location that he moved his family to (wife Randy (spelling?), kids Crae and Sam) last year. What a nice piece of survival property.
-An incident just beyond Curt’s BOL which looked pretty serious and threw him and the production crew off somewhat

For more information about Doomsday Preppers, visit the National Geographic Channel here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: Doomsday Castle ‘Water From a Stone’ Review

Earlier this week, I found some time to watch the third episode of the new National Geographic Channel TV series, Doomsday Castle. “Water From a Stone” first aired on Tuesday, August 27.

In the prior episode, “A Stone From the Sling,” the family focused on accessing a sustainable food supply and on defending the road leading up to the castle via a medieval siege weapon. This time around? Brent Sr. said:

Today I’ve prepared an exercise for my kids so they can experience a real life situation. They’re going to be attacked by an unknown enemy. Their mission is to defend themselves and to defend this castle.

Basically, they worked on patrolling and defending from within the castle, learning how to use the protection it provides to their advantage.

The episode started off with the family- minus their father- patrolling the castle grounds with paintball equipment. Ghillie suit-clad Brent Sr., along with another individual, ambushed the “patrol” and cut the kids down one-by-one. Dad confided:

My kids failed miserably. I’m not going to be around forever. I need to know that they’ll be able to protect themselves.

Enter Mike Moore, a retired Army Ranger First Sergeant. Brent Sr. said:

All of our prepping will have been wasted if marauders can come and take over this castle. I have brought in Sergeant Mike to teach battle and weapons tactics so my kids can better defend the castle.

Michael and Linsdey were shown training with “Sergeant Mike,” while Brent Sr., Brent II, Ashley, and Dawn-Marie looked for a source of fresh water on the property, the other focus of this episode. Brent Sr. shared:

We definitely have plenty of water here. Only one problem. We have to figure out how to get it up 600 feet to the castle. And we’ve got to make sure it’s pure.

Lindsey’s and Michael’s training didn’t go so smooth. The middle daughter self-admittedly floundered while providing cover fire for Michael as the two attacked Sergeant Mike in the castle. Michael confided:

I can’t defend this castle all by myself. But at the same time, it’s not like I can really depend on my brother or my sisters in an end of days attack situation. Survival. This is life and death, and they need to realize that.

Brent Sr. brought in Scott Hunt, a fellow prepper and water expert, to help tackle the water problem. Hunt, who featured in the Doomsday Preppers pilot (reviewed here) and assesses preparations of other “doomsday preppers” on the popular show via his company, Practical Preppers, helped the family construct a solar power gravity collection system for the family. This system “consists of an earthen dam at the head of a mountain spring that collects water and feeds a series of filters that clean out dirt and bacteria. The water is driven through the system by a pump that is powered by solar panels situated on the castle perimeter.”

As Scott and a number of family members pieced together the new water system, tempers flared as Dawn-Marie and Ashley insisted on fabricating a zipline to haul down the gravel and clay for the project rather than carrying the material down the hill. While the concept may have been good, implementing it took too long. Brent Sr. revealed:

I was so frustrated with these kids. Not only are we losing daylight, but I’ve reached my absolute limit.

Frustration followed the family home that day, leading Brent II to draw up a “family constitution,” rules of conduct family members would agree to abide by, and which Dawn-Marie initially didn’t sign.

The next day, Sergeant Mike trained Brent II and Dawn-Marie on weapons, while Brent Sr. took Michael and Lindsey along with him to work with Scott on the new water system. After adjusting a solar panel, water started flowing way up at the castle. Brent Sr. explained:

When the End Time comes, our solar pump system will produce hundreds of gallons of clean water every day.

Nicely done Scott.


“Doomsday Water”
YouTube Video

The episode ended with a simulated night assault on the castle using paintball guns again. Being informed of the attack beforehand, the family was assigned the task of defending the castle. Twin Michael didn’t like Brent II being appointed team leader beforehand for that night’s exercise, and after the family failed to hold the castle, the two got into a shoving match, with Brent Sr. having to step in and keep them apart.

Some thoughts about “Water From a Stone”:

I thought the use of paintball guns for weapons training was a good idea, considering the castle sits on all that land and a lot of that instruction can take place outdoors. Still, I wonder how easy it is to get yellow paint off castle stone. Brent Sr. said in the episode:

Paintball might seem like a game, but it’s really an effective way to learn tactical techniques, teamwork, and strategy.

I like the fact that outside experts were brought in to help with the family’s weapons training and water system. While there’s a lot to be said for taking care of such things in-house, as a viewer, I was interested in seeing how the “pros” tackled such challenges. Take Scott Hunt’s solar power gravity collection system for the water on the castle property. Would the family have come up with the same solution without outside help?

While “Water From a Stone” provided viewers some food for thought, the “reality” TV aspect was ratcheted up quite a bit in this episode- to my disappointment.

I’m curious- do any readers who watch the show actually like the drama?

Anyway, as Brent Sr. acknowledged at the end of “Water From a Stone,” the family continues to make progress on the castle, which is good.

For more information about Doomsday Castle, visit the National Geographic Channel website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: Doomsday Castle ‘A Stone From the Sling’ Review

I was impressed by the premiere episode of the National Geographic Channel’s new TV series Doomsday Castle.

As such, I was very curious to see if episode 2, “A Stone From the Sling,” would be just as solid, or if there would be a noticeable drop-off in quality.

Airing last week, the episode focused on the problem of the castle inhabitants having a sustainable food supply once TSHTF. From the National Geographic Channel website:

With only MREs to eat, Brent Sr. challenges the kids to start looking for other food alternatives. Heading to a local chicken farm, Lindsey and Ashley attempt to catch their own chickens, a great renewable resource providing eggs almost daily. But tempers flare as they start working on building a chicken coop to house the newest members of the family. Meanwhile, Brent Sr. and Dawn Marie build a catapult to be able to defend the castle from intruders.

My thoughts about “A Stone From the Sling”:

The show began with Brent Sr. busting out a bunch of MREs (meals, ready-to-eat) for the kids. It’s revealed dad has only enough of them to last one year.

Brent Sr. said:

I guess my children don’t realize- I’m not going to feed them anything but MREs until they can come up with a food supply that they can provide.

They realized it soon enough. Michael and Brent II went hunting- but not before Michael instructed Brent II on how to use a crossbow. Ashley and Lindsey went to acquire egg-laying chickens and fabricate a coop. Dawn-Marie joined Brent Sr. is constructing a trebuchet to defend against attackers using the road leading to the castle.

Trebuchet?

A kind of catapult that uses a counterweight to harness its energy, according to the show.

While Michael instructed Brent II on using a crossbow, I found what the twin said about the device most interesting. Michael explained:

Most hunters use guns. But when you’re prepping, it’s dangerous to depend on anything that’s mass-produced, like bullets. A crossbow would be a great weapon to hunt with, because one bolt can be reused for years. It’s highly accurate, and extremely quiet. Which means we can hunt around these woods without giving the position away of the castle.

I can see preppers/survivalists finding significant utility (food procurement/self-defense) in the crossbow.

After some practice, the two sons decided they’d hunt for wild boar. Brent II convinced Michael that, based on the Vietnam War-related movies he’s seen, they should try building a camouflaged pit with sharpened stakes in it and food on top of it to bait and hopefully catch their intended prey.

Ashley and Lindsey got some chickens, but while constructing the chicken coop, tensions flared over Ashley’s idea for collecting the future eggs. Lindsey eventually stormed off.

Welcome to “reality” TV.

Brent Sr. and Dawn-Marie figured out that it took only 17 seconds for a speeding vehicle to get from the lower gate to the castle drawbridge. Before beginning work on the catapult-like trebuchet, the two identified an intruder “kill zone” and proceeded to test a blockade to pen-in potential aggressors using toppled trees detonated by explosives. Dad said:

That was the perfect test. When I detonated the device, the tree came crashing down, and stopped Dawn-Marie dead in her tracks.

“Dead in her tracks.” That’s for sure, from what viewers were shown.

Alas, at the end of the day, there was no boar meat or eggs to be had by the family- just more MREs.

(Editor’s note: I don’t know about you, but I like MREs. Although, I have heard horror stories from one ex-Marine/now a civilian police officer of how they can make you constipated if you eat enough of them and only them.)

Later on in the episode, it was revealed that Ashley’s egg collection system, while not perfect, actually worked.

The two feuding sisters were shown coating eggs with mineral oil. According to the show, this preserved the eggs for up to a year.

Not only was Ashley “vindicated” in the second episode, but so was Brent II. A wild boar actually fell into the pit (although it looks as if it climbed out, eventually succumbing to a deadly combination of a crossbow bolt/handgun bullets).

The oldest son remarked:

That size of that boar really showed everybody. You know what? Maybe I’m not the biggest pansy, pussy they think I am.

Remember what I blogged back on August 15? I wrote:

The jury’s still out on Brent II and Ashley though. Brent The Younger’s got this sinister Jeff Goldblum thing going on (should be cast as his younger brother in an upcoming film), and then there’s Ashley, who came away looking somewhat like a prima donna in the first episode. Still, both of them could be revelations down the stretch.

Based on what I saw in episode 2, there’s hope for those two.

The last part of the show really focused on the construction of the trebuchet. While it looked to be completed and fully-functional, a number of test fires proved otherwise. It was only until Dawn-Marie suggested a tweak- twig, actually- that the simulated destructive payloads started flying with altitude and distance. Brent Sr. remarked:

The catapult is like any other weapon. It has to be calibrated. We’ll have settings marked on the arm so we know exactly how far to pull it back. We’ll know exactly how to hit the kill zone over and over and over.

At the end of “A Stone From the Sling,” the present “laird” of the castle shared some more observations with viewers. Brent Sr. pointed out:

We’ve got our first start on food. The next thing is making sure we have an unlimited supply and no dependency on anyone but ourselves.

And each day, castle is going to get stronger and stronger.

And it’s going to be impenetrable by the time we’re all done.

As a family, we’re two vital steps closer to being ready for the end times. We have food coming in, and we have a way to keep the invaders out. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. We don’t have a reliable water supply. We don’t have any combat training. We don’t even have a roof over our head. I hope these kids are enjoying tonight. Because tomorrow, it’s right back to work.

A good episode with plenty of interesting information that was shared. The drama (headbutting between Ashley and Lindsey, Dawn-Marie’s close call with a falling tree, Brent II’s fixation with proving himself to Sr. and the rest of the clan) was escalated up a notch, but it wasn’t a turn-off (literally and figuratively) for me. I’ll keep watching and reviewing new episodes as they’re aired- at least for now.

For more information about Doomsday Castle, visit the National Geographic Channel website here.


“Doomsday Trebuchet”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘The Gates of Hell’ Review

It took a while, but I finally got around to watching season 3, episode 2, of Doomsday Preppers- “The Gates of Hell.” From the National Geographic Channel website:

An economic collapse could mean total chaos for the U.S. — looting, riots and civil unrest are top concerns. In Washington state, Steve works with a stern hand to prep his family for the potential threat. South Carolinian David Appleton is a comedian, but the idea of a devastating earthquake is no joke to him. His job doesn’t always pay the bills, so David must Dumpster dive to find supplies to make a DIY camouflage net to hide his preps.

Once again, there was more to the episode that aired last week than just the segments on Steve H. and David Appleton. The show also introduced Suzanne Strisower living out in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.

My thoughts about “The Gates of Hell”:

Part 1: The heavily-defended bug-out location

Season 3, episode 2, of Doomsday Preppers opened with a segment about “Steve H.,” who told viewers:

I’m preparing my family for the imminent collapse of the United States economy.

According to the show:

Steve H. a contractor in Washington state, fears that economic collapse will encourage widespread riots and looting, and that his home, in an easily-accessible neighborhood, could become a target.

While Steve, his wife Kim, and sons Nick and Steven James work on their preps every week, most of their efforts are directed towards their bug-out location, a cabin 50 miles away in the mountains and where the family heads to on weekends.

The BOL and the preparations that have gone into constructing it are impressive, not the least of which is a concrete bunker that houses supplies.

Steve, along with friends Nolan and Dylan, have also put a lot of thought and effort into making the cabin highly-defensible. The prepper group is heavily-armed, utilizing even binary explosives to protect against intruders making their way up the only road to the cabin.

For those readers not familiar with binary explosives, according to the BATFE website:

Binary explosives are pre-packaged products consisting of two separate components, usually an oxidizer like ammonium nitrate and a fuel such as aluminum or another metal.

The remainder of the segment showed what an attack on the mountain hideaway (not really, as it looks to be right off a paved road) might look like. Those into big guns (.50 caliber) and even bigger explosions (those binary explosives were put into action) probably enjoyed this part a lot. I know I did.

Two things stood out in this segment for me. First, I’ve heard/read concerns about youngsters participating in preparedness activities (usually, it relates to firearms). So has Steve, who has little man Steven James involved in the family’s prepping. Dad had this to say:

My mother says that our prepping is a negative influence on our 8-year-old son. But I say it’s a positive influence on my son. Reality is what reality is. And the sooner that we face reality, the sooner that we’re going to be able to do something about it. I don’t want to lose anybody in our family. I don’t people in my family to be hungry. I don’t want people in my family to be discomforted or in pain. And so I’m taking these steps beforehand, to see to it that that doesn’t happen to us.

Second, Practical Preppers awarded Steve and the group 79 points out of 100 points for their efforts. Instead of disputing the assessment- which happens quite a bit- Steve was incredibly open-minded about the whole thing. Steve confided with viewers:

I think the assessment is spot on. Especially about the security. There’s a lot of things that we can do that would be better. And I think that I’m going to seek some training.

Good for him.

Part 2: The dumpster-diving prepper

In the second segment, viewers met David Appleton, a professional comedian out of Charleston, South Carolina. Appleton explained:

I’m actually preparing for a catastrophic earthquake to hit Charleston, South Carolina.

“Apples,” as David is known on the comedy circuit, added:

I’m prepping for an earthquake because it’s happened in the past.

The show went on to confirm that it has- and in a big way.

It’s revealed David and his wife, Lauren, have 72 hours of preps set aside at their home, then they plan on bugging out in the event of a longer-term emergency.

Appleton is a also a self-admitted dumpster-diver. And using his scavenging skills, he’s been able to acquire materials that allow him to construct items like a multi-purpose rickshaw made out of PVC pipes. During the show, he demonstrated how to make camouflage netting out of what looked to be a discarded painter’s drop cloth, wire mesh, and various cans of spray paint.

The finished product looked like it might be pretty functional for its intended use.

Those who desire camouflage for their bug-out vehicles (especially trucks) but who don’t want to spend much money for it- take note.

Not all of the couple’s preps are scavenged. He’s acquired an old Army truck for a BOV and an old pontoon boat from his parents (shown with outboard engine). In the event David and Lauren ever have to get off the island where they live (only three earthquake-vulnerable bridges connect them to and from the mainland), they plan on trailering the boat and driving it down to the waterfront to escape. David was even shown fabricating and installing a rain catchment system onto the boat should they need to collect fresh water while on the “high seas.”

Part 3: Lifestyle prepping

In the final segment of “The Gates of Hell,” viewers were introduced to yet another pacifist from California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains- Suzanne Strisower- and her partner Dave. The couple reside on 30 acres there.

Strisower told viewers:

When the economy collapses, I’ll barter everything I have to survive and thrive.

She added:

The United States is not going to be the global standard for the currency anymore. I think we’re going for sure have some kind of currency collapse, where money is not going to be worth what it used to be worth. And I think it’s going to get worse. I tell everybody- listen, you need to have a plan. You need to know what you’re going to do if something comes down. So, it’s about mindfulness. It’s about preparation. It’s not about fear. That’s why I really advocate for people to be lifestyle preppers- not doomsday preppers.

The couple plans to survive TEOTWAWKI through bartering. From the show:

Suzanne’s lifestyle plan for an economic collapse is to turn her mountain retreat into a giant doomsday swap meet. All her resources will be alternate currency she’ll use to barter and trade for whatever she needs.

Strisower is a gifted barterer. She is shown putting this skill to work in order to acquire a dehydrator.

Recognizing the need for being able to protect themselves, the pacifist was shown visiting Surplus City, a local military surplus store, and talking to Robert Pratt there about what might best-suit them. Since lethal weapons are out of the question, Pratt suggested a stun gun. Strisower didn’t like the fact that it would require her to get close to an attacker to be able to use it.

Pratt came up with a different option for her- a paintball gun.

Used correctly, paintball guns can inflict a lot of pain on an aggressor some distance out. Strisower asked Pratt to come up to the couple’s place to demonstrate the gun, she tried it out, and was subsequently impressed.

Needless to say, viewers shouldn’t have been surprised when Practical Preppers only awarded her 3 out of a possible 20 points in the “Security” category of the assessment. Oh well. As Pratt said earlier in the segment:

I get it. You don’t want to have to hurt somebody. You don’t want to have to do it. But to me, you have to be willing to accept it. Willing to go with the fact that- I might have to.

Overall, a good episode.

For more information about Doomsday Preppers, visit the show’s web page on the National Geographic Channel site here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Signs Of The Time, Part 66

I don’t care what Uncle Sam says- costs seem to keep rising almost everywhere I look.

For those just beginning to prep, the price of gear and supplies these days are probably pretty daunting.

To conserve funds, many preppers/survivalists might want to take a “needs versus wants” approach to acquiring these things.

Thankfully, there are plenty of businesses around in 2013 to cater to them for necessities.

And with over 3 million preppers/survivalists in the United States, there’s billions of dollars to be made.

John C. Ogg wrote on the website of New York City-based financial news and opinion organization 24/7 Wall St. earlier this week:

Whether they prepare for long or short-term emergencies, at the very least survivalists plan to have the basic necessities: food, clothing and shelter. Many prepare for much more than the basics with self-defense and security measures, power systems, water filtration, communications and bunkers. Given their numbers and their willingness to spend money, catering to doomsday preppers has become a multibillion dollar business. Regardless of which item is being considered, each $1,000 of expenses for just 1 million people comes to $1 billion.

Ogg went on to identify “the industries making the most money on doomsday preppers.”

Prepping. Not only does it benefit you and your loved ones- but American businesses as well.

You can read the rest of the insightful piece on the 24/7 Wall St. website here.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers ‘Don’t Betray The Colony’ Review

“As long as nothing happens, preppers are idiots. The day after something happens- we’re geniuses.”

-Tony C., prepper featured on National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers episode “Don’ Betray the Colony”

In addition to watching the premiere of National Geographic Channel’s latest prepper/survivalist-themed project, Doomsday Castle (blogged about here), I caught the latest Doomsday Preppers episode, “Don’t Betray the Colony.”

Question- Was Tuesday night’s airing the start of season 3 of the show (making this episode 1), or is it a continuation of season 2 (making this episode 31, according to Wikipedia)?

Moving on, from the Nat Geo Channel website:

Some preppers believe in safety in numbers — as is the case for Jeff Mann, who leads “the Colony,” a community of 25 preppers unified with the single purpose of surviving doomsday. Watch as he prepares his son, Colten, to take the reins by having him hunt down live boar in the Florida swamps and builds the Colony’s very own gallows — an important message that there are laws to be upheld, even in times of chaos.

Actually, there was more to the episode than just Jeff Mann- “We’re preparing for an economic collapse”- and the prepper “colony.” The show also introduced Tony C.- “I’m preparing for a space-borne disaster”- and Cheree- “We’re preparing for a mega-earthquake.”

My thoughts about “Don’t Betray the Colony”:

Part 1: The prepper “colony”

When I heard this new episode would be featuring a “colony,” I wasn’t sure what to expect. Actually, I came away pretty impressed with the 21-year-old son Colten Mann. Fearing the worst, I reluctantly kept watching, suspecting the culinary school student might flounder (remember, this is “reality” TV, where drama plays a big role in the genre). I was relieved when Milandred and Hennessey put Colten through the paces and he managed to show a good deal of promise (got to give him a lot of credit for gutting and getting all up in that wild boar like he did).

But then there was that part with the gallows. Just prior to that, there was talk of a “city council” and “laws.” Now, I don’t see anything wrong with discussing a post-apocalyptic judicial system. “Post-apocalyptic” being the key words here. But throwing up that gallows on private property these days might have raised the eyebrows of authorities. If not local- higher up. And if these authorities are anything like the ones I know and have worked with in the past, thoughts of “Waco” probably crossed their minds. I’m just saying.

Personally, I would mothball the gallows until a situation exists without the rule of law. But as much as I might be inclined to agree with Milandred on just banishing the guilty parties, Hennessey may have been on to something here. You see, in a hypothetical societal collapse, banishing a colony member could mean unintentionally providing hostiles with intel about any vulnerabilities the setup may have. I suspect Hennessey was aware of the potential for this happening.

Last point about the prepper colony. They received an assessment score of 89, or a “19 month initial survival time.” That’s got to be one of the highest scores (highest?) ever given by Practical Preppers to a prepper individual or group. I’m impressed.

Part 2: The underground RV shelter

WTSHTF, some people will bug out in their recreational vehicles. Others, to an underground shelter. But Tony C. and his family, an underground RV shelter. I’m intrigued. Not only because it’s something I don’t come across too often (the Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort in Kansas notwithstanding) but also because it sounds like something that might be more affordable than building out an underground bunker with utilities. According to the episode, Tony dug a hole in the Indiana woods 52 feet long, 40 feet wide, and 12 feet high, and then parked his RV in there, constructing an underground compound with 1,200 square feet of living space. Tony explained:

The reason for that is everything’s done in the RV. You have all the comforts of home, and all the systems- the wiring, the plumbing, pressure pumps, inverters. Everything’s in an RV because it’s designed to be self-contained living.

I’d be curious to find out how much it cost him to build his shelter, minus the RV and supplies.

One other thing. That homemade filtration system Tony C. “MacGyvered” up- I wonder if he’s put it to the test yet? And if so, was it effective? It’s just as cool a contraption as that hand-held water pump in the final part of “Don’t Bertray the Colony.”

Part 3- The pacifist prepper camp

In the last part of Tuesday’s show, viewers were introduced to 27-year-old Cheree and her parents Jessica and Carl. They own and operate a 21-acre Christian camp in the foothills of the California’s Sierra Mountains. Cheree is concerned about a mega-earthquake striking the area, and wishes to follow in Christ’s footsteps and take care of disaster victims after the event. Very noble.

While hosting friends and family from the Bay area for a disaster aftermath dry-run, viewers are informed that Cheree adheres to a strict policy of non-violence and no weapons. The problem is, one of their group, Garry, wants a firearm for protection. He explained:

In a critical scenario, where you have people scrambling for food, for water, for shelter, for whatever. If they want it, and they have weapons, they’re going to take it. So, in that respect, I have to take appropriate action.

Cheree sticks to her guns, and “Garry is voted out of the group, and asked to leave the premises.”

Cheree later said:

I think that my faith brings me peace. And it may not necessarily better equip me physically prepping, but mentally and emotionally, He’s the one I turn to. I realize that whatever’s going to happen is going to happen, and God’s in control.

Hmmm. Two things come to mind here. First, this is a situation that has come up before in Doomsday Preppers. Specifically, in season 1 episode 2, “I Hope I Am Crazy.” I blogged back on February 8, 2012:

Firearms- Which brings me to my next thought, which is about guns. One prepper said in episode 2:

It’s easy to feel a little left out of the prepper community if you live in New England and if you’re not fairly right-wing and conservative politically. But I just don’t spend my time worrying about storing guns and ammunition. Because our security comes not from stockpiling weapons but from having a community that respects each other, supports each other, and we have each other’s backs.

While the right of the law-abiding individual to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the Bill of Rights under the Second Amendment, I understand that owning a gun may not be right for everyone. However, keep in mind that in a SHTF situation, there are individuals/groups this prepper and her community could very well come into contact with who have come out and said (future post) they don’t bother stockpiling food, water, and other supplies because they intend to take these items away from others under threat of force (guns). Firearms are without a doubt one of the most effective tools for self-defense, and with the proper training and tactics, our prepper and her beloved community might actually have a chance of keeping their preps safe against these roving bands of human parasites.

By the way, that future post about human “parasites” is here.

And the other thing that comes to mind when the “Pacifist Prepper” said “whatever’s going to happen is going to happen, and God’s in control”? Consider the following…

It rained for days and days and there was a terrific flood. The water rose so high that one man was forced to climb on top of his roof and sat in the rain. As the waters came up higher a man in a rowboat came up to the house and told him to get in. “No thank you, the Lord will save me!” he said, and the man in the rowboat rowed away.

The waters rose to the edge of the roof and still the man sat on the roof until another rowboat came by and another man told him to get in. “No thank you, the Lord will save me!” he said again, and the man rowed away.

The waters covered the house and the man was forced to sit on his chimney as the rain poured down and a helicopter came by and another man urged him to get in or he’ll drown. “No thank you,” the man said again, “The Lord will save me!”

After much begging and pleading the man in the helicopter gave up and flew away. The waters rose above the chimney and the man drowned and went to heaven where he met God.

“Lord, I don’t understand,” he told Him, frustrated, “The waters rose higher and higher and I waited hours for you to save me but you didn’t! Why?”

The Lord just shook his head and said, “What are you talking about? I sent two boats and a helicopter?!”

The moral of the story? Help God help yourself.

Otherwise, you may just succeed in teeing the Almighty off.

After getting yourself killed just prior to that accomplishment, of course.

For more information about Doomsday Preppers, visit the show’s web page on the National Geographic Channel site here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: Doomsday Castle

Tuesday night, the premiere episode of the new National Geographic Channel television series Doomsday Castle aired. Despite thinking I wouldn’t be able to watch “Before The Flood” until a later date, I did manage to view it.

This is actually the second time I’ve talked about Doomsday Castle on the blog. From July 26:

I first got wind of Doomsday Castle back in the spring. From the Nat Geo Channel website:

Castles were the ultimate homes for the original preppers – kings and noblemen, who were under constant threat from neighboring enemies. But for American prepper Brent, a castle is the perfect defense for the doomsday scenario he fears will set the world back to the Dark Ages – an electromagnetic burst that causes massive power grid failure. Brent, with the help of his children, is on a quest to finish his towering castle that is isolated deep in the Carolina mountains. But the apocalypse he fears might shy in comparison to the clash of characters of his five children as they try to live and work together to prepare for the worst. If doomsday comes, will this family survive to rule the mountains, or will it self-destruct before the castle is ever completed?

Prepper Brent. Several children. A castle in the Carolina mountains. Any of this sound familiar to fans/followers of the Doomsday Preppers TV series? Brent, his family, and his castle starred in season 2 of the popular show in the episode entitled “No Such Thing As a Fair Fight.” From the Nat Geo Doomsday Preppers web page:

Businessman by day, prepper by night. Brent lives in fear of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that will make the world go dark, leaving his family of 12 with nothing. To prep for life after the EMP, Brent has constructed a medieval-style castle that will serve as the ultimate bug-out fortress.

On August 13 at 10 PM Eastern Time, “Before The Flood” debuts. According to the show’s webpage:

Brent Sr., a retired infantry officer, recruits his children to help him finish building his doomsday castle, a completely self-sufficient fortress of refuge for the end of days. His children are shocked at the conditions of the bunker, and Brent II even calls it a “hoarder’s paradise.” The first tasks are building a drawbridge for the front door and cleaning out the bunker, where the family will live during construction.


“Doomsday Castle: Welcome to the Castle”
National Geographic Channel Video

You might be wondering what I thought of the premier episode of Doomsday Castle.

Well, back in the early 1980s, I came across a book by award-winning author and illustrator David Macaulay entitled Castle, which was a “step-by-step planning and construction of both castle and town.” I remember there being a television special based on the book as well. Not really being into the medieval before those encounters, I became somewhat fascinated by the topic thereafter.

So I shouldn’t have been too surprised when I actually came away from watching “Before The Flood” rather upbeat about the production going forward.

I’m not really sure why I should be. It contained a bit of that so-called “reality” show drama that others seem to like but I can do without (although to be fair, it’s more family dysfunctionality-based, which I’m guessing is reality for a lot of people- including myself). And preppers/survivalists hoping to learn a bunch of new stuff from the show were probably disappointed from that debut episode (the rat trap was rather something though).

But that castle.

Man oh man. I can’t begin to tell you how interested I am in seeing how Brent and his family build out that monstrous structure over time. I have a feeling if there’s any learning to be done, it will be related primarily to the construction of that castle. As much as I’m interested in that material, it would be nice if a lot more preparedness material was covered down the road however.

As for Brent and his family- Brent II, Ashley, Lindsey, Dawn-Marie, and Michael-I like them. Brent Sr. has a handsome family, and most of them seem like they can bring a good deal to the table in this project.

The jury’s still out on Brent II and Ashley though. Brent The Younger’s got this sinister Jeff Goldblum thing going on (should be cast as his younger brother in an upcoming film), and then there’s Ashley, who came away looking somewhat like a prima donna in the first episode. Still, both of them could be revelations down the stretch.

In my opinion, if Doomsday Castle keeps the “reality” show drama to a minimum and amps up the educational content, I think National Geographic Channel could have another hit TV series on its hands.

Otherwise, retaining viewers could be feudal.

I know. Corny as hell.

It’s 12:23 Thursday morning. Time to go to sleep.

For more information about Doomsday Castle, you can visit the National Geographic Channel’s web page for the new series here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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On TV: American Doomsday

Last Wednesday I mentioned that until my “In Print” series of posts returns (next week maybe), I’ll be talking about TV shows related to the blog’s focus.

Last week it was Preppers UK: Surviving Armageddon 1 & 2.

This week, it’s American Doomsday.

American Doomsday premiered on the National Geographic Channel back on November 8, 2010. From the Nat Geo website:

Explorer: American Doomsday

America’s Doomsday plan. It’s the government’s strategy for its darkest hours – developed years ago, but never used until 9/11.

For a better description of what the show’s about, from the DVD:

America’s Doomsday plan. It’s the government’s ultimate playbook, with a strategy for even the darkest hours—developed when Cold War tensions were high, but never used until 9/11. In American Doomsday, fly in an E4-B—the president’s command, control, and communications center for times of national catastrophe; go inside the secret bunker used by government officials on September 11; and witness how the luxurious Greenbrier Resort became a critical, top secret congressional bunker.


“Inside the Doomsday Plane”
YouTube Video

The show’s producer, Charles Fitzgerald, discussed his experience with the material on the Nat Geo TV Blogs section of the National Geographic website back on November 5, 2010:

My research for ‘American Doomsday” uncovered what I first saw as a Stranglovian world of nuclear paranoia, secret bunkers and elaborate “Doomsday” plans. It was bizarre.

But digging deeper I realized that America’s Doomsday plans were born of a very real and legitimate fear that if the Soviet Union launched a surprise nuclear attack, the nation as we know it may cease to exist.

Many Americans are aware of parts of the Doomsday plans. We’ve seen them in action, but probably don’t realize it. For example, we know that during the State of the Union, one member of the cabinet stays away from the Capitol; that on 9/11, Air Force One, with President Bush on board, flew a seemingly random pattern around the country; that Vice President Cheney frequently visited undisclosed locations after 9/11. It turns out that all of these are part of a massive plan to preserve our government’s very existence in times of trouble.

I watched the show last week, and found it incredibly interesting and informative. In an era where the federal government often appears to many to have its head stuck up its butt, it’s good to know that WTSHTF, there’s a plan in place for the continuity of government here in the United States.

American Doomsday investigated the following plan components:

• The “Nightwatch,” or “Doomsday Plane,” program operated out of Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska
• The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) out of Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs, Colorado
• The High Point Special Facility inside Mount Weather, near Bluemont, Virginia
• The Greenbrier just outside of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
• Site R (Raven Rock Military Complex) on Raven Rock, a Pennsylvania mountain

From the looks of it, Uncle Sam is prepared for doomsday.

I doubt the same can be said for most Americans.

You can watch the entire show on the National Geographic website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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