Gimme Shelter: Homes for the Apocalypse

With the beginning of the end of the world scheduled for tomorrow, it behooves nonbelievers -- those who will languish here on Earth for the next five months as the chaos unfolds -- to at least try and do something to protect themselves, no?

Should the prophesy of Harold Camping, a self-taught biblical scholar who has determined that May 21, 2011 is Judgment Day, be correct, the world will end exactly 7,000 years after Noah's flood. Believers will be spared the Earthly mess as they will be transported to heaven just as a worldwide earthquake strikes, but nonbelievers will be left behind to endure five months of war, plagues and famine until the planet's total destruction in October. Lovely thoughts, all.

But it might explain why we've of late noticed a rash of home listings that advertise the fact that they have bomb shelters. Camping is silent on whether a well-equipped bomb shelter will be of any avail, although we suspect that he'd give the idea a big "Roger, that's a negative."

Nevertheless, for those who want to try (or who wouldn't mind having a safe haven during the next hurricane or tornado), here's a sampling for you:

1. "Be the only family on the block with your own bomb shelter," says this Fresno, Calif., listing for a home priced at $189,900. The four-bedroom house has a fully functional bomb shelter in its backyard (pictured at left). There's also plenty of room for a large RV, in case you need a quick getaway or plan to live on the road awhile. (Wait! Will there still be roads after The Rapture?) Guarantee Real Estate agent Linda Evans, who co-listed the property with Dick Williams of that office, says that the underground room is accessible through a hole in the ground and has a living space, bathroom, electricity and running water.

2. In this Fairmont City, Ill., house listed for $99,000, just 10 minutes outside St. Louis, the bomb shelter is in the basement. There's also a mechanic's pit in the garage, which, assuming it is not destroyed during the initial worldwide earthquake, might prove handy.

3. This Stanfield, Ore., home lists for $149,000, has 2,048 square feet and a 12-foot-by-12-foot bomb shelter that promises 2-inch thick walls and its own water and air supplies.

4. Safe rooms are, of course, in just as much demand among buyers of higher-priced homes. Take this $4.7 million listing in Alpharetta, Ga. It has imported hand-carved moldings and statues from Italy that are accented with 18-carat gold. And it has a bomb shelter.

Given the pace with which mortgage lenders have been crawling these days, you may have just run out of days to buy a bomb-shelter-equipped home or a prefab safe room. If that's the case, there's advice here about how to build and stock your own for under $5,000. That, or you could just spend the money on a nice vacation and go out in style.

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