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Posted on Thu. Dec. 20, 2012 - 12:01 am EDT

Shelters dig into survivalists’ fear of future doom

FORT WAYNE — If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you do not believe the world will end tomorrow.

After all, if you really thought Friday was doomsday, you’d have better things to do than savor the morning paper. You’d be laying in supplies, going to church or eating bacon double cheeseburgers with Krispy Kreme doughnuts as the bun.

Still, the fact that you are reading means you’re at least willing to ask, “What if …?”

Vivos officials say they have the answer to that question.

Vivos is a network of massive, hardened shelters that the company says are built to withstand whatever disaster you can name: nuclear war, biological weapons, terrorism, anarchy, an electromagnetic pulse, solar flares, a shift of the Earth’s magnetic poles, killer comets, global tsunamis, a collision with a rogue planet and a super volcano.

“We are on the cusp of great changes that will change the world as we know it,” the Vivos website says. “Vivos is your solution to ride out these events, so you may survive to be a part of the birth of a new world!”

Forget the backyard shelter stocked with canned goods: This is a blast-proof, underground community built to survive the apocalypse. If there is one.

“Our self-contained shelter complexes comfortably accommodate community groups from 50 to 1,000 people, in spacious living quarters, outfitted and stocked for a minimum of one year of autonomous survival to ride out the potential events,” says

“Every detail has been considered and planned for. Members need to only arrive before their facility is locked down and secured from the chaos above.”

As an objective news source, we’re not making predictions either way on whether there will be chaos above or anywhere else.

And neither were the Mayans, some experts say.

The doomsday prediction is based on this: Friday is the end of a major cycle in the 5,125-year Mayan Long Count calendar. Some believe the Mayans who created the calendar – Indians native to what is now Mexico – knew something we don’t during the New Stone Age, and that when their calendar ends, so does our life of Walmart, iPhones and Snooki.

Even the Mayans don’t believe that, The Associated Press reports.

“The world is going to end, but we don’t know when it will end, nobody ever gave a date,” said Acevedo Pena, a Mayan farmer and priest. “They said it would be in 2000, but nothing happened.”

Believing the world ends Friday because of the Mayan calendar is like believing the world ends every New Year’s Eve, according to NASA scientists.

“Just as the calendar you have on your kitchen wall does not cease to exist after Dec. 31, the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on Dec. 21, 2012,” says a NASA Web page dedicated to debunking end-of-the-world rumors. “This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then – just as your calendar begins again on Jan. 1 – another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.”

If you think NASA is just trying to keep people from panicking, then you’ll want to know that one of the three Vivos shelters is in Indiana, though officials won’t say exactly where. That information is restricted to Vivos members.

Yes, “members” – to get into a Vivos shelter, you first apply for membership.

“Vivos evaluates applications to determine those individuals who may best contribute to each Vivos shelter community, for the greatest chance of long-term survival of the entire group,” Robert Vicino, founder and CEO of The Vivos Group, said in an email interview with The Journal Gazette.

“Each candidate is reviewed based upon a number of criteria and psychographic information, including: their profession, education, expertise, skills, benefit to the Vivos community, proximity to a Vivos location, current health, and desired family or group ownership.”

If you get in, you then have the option to buy a share of one of the shelters: The Indiana shelter costs $50,000 for each adult and $35,000 a child.

“Every member is equally important from doctors to plumbers, both of whom we wouldn’t want to be without,” Vicino said.

That does not mean, however, that your unique skills will get you in for free: “Limited space is available in our completed shelters for paid co-owners only,” the website warns. “There are no free spaces available in Vivos, regardless of your skills, background, education or experience.”

And though the Vivos website is filled with apocalyptic warnings, Vicino is careful not to take a stance on any of them.

He was unavailable for a telephone interview because he’s spending this week and next – assuming there is one – touring Vivos shelters.

“Each member has a different view of the significance of (Dec. 21),” Vicino said by email.

“Some will be in the shelter, just in case, while others are waiting to see if there are any signs. Either way, this date and most of the catastrophic events that Vivos is prepared for will provide many advance signals, alerting our members that it is time to go to their respective shelters.”

Vivos officials say their shelters are not about having a place to dive into on 20 minutes warning. Rather, they are a choice for those who want to be here to rebuild after it all comes crashing down.

“(Members are) middle-class conservatives who do not believe the government will be there to save everyone from the epic disasters that Vivos is prepared for,” Vicino said.

“They are self-reliant individuals, concerned about the well-being of their loved ones. They are unanimously willing to act now to prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best.”

The worst, some believe, is Planet X, or Nibiru, a rogue planet hidden behind the sun that will collide with Earth on – you guessed it – Friday.

David Morrison, a Harvard-trained astrophysicist and the senior scientist at the Astrobiology Institute at NASA Ames Research Center told the Daily Democrat in Woodland, Calif., that’s baloney.

“Impossible,” Morrison told the Daily Democrat. “Earth goes around the sun. We see all sides of the sun. We’d see it.”

And by now, he was quoted as saying, it would be impossible not to see it.

“It would look like the moon in the sky,” he said. “You’d see it in the daytime. You wouldn’t have to ask the government.”

So who are these people buying time shares not on a beach, but underground?

“Vivos members are not wealthy, nor the elite,” Vicino said. “They are small-business people, from doctors to engineers and even ex-military. The cost is about the same as a midsized Mercedes that virtually any middle-class person can afford. At the end of the day, Vivos is really just a choice of what is more important – a life assurance solution, or more toys!”

A newspaper’s job is not to take a position, but to present the information and let the readers decide. So if you think these are the end times, Vivos is one available option. If not, then continue on as you were.

But either way, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure your subscription is paid up.

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