“We were looking for an area that we liked,” says Jesse Starnes on finding his south Charlotte home.
He told us right off the bat, when he and his wife were house hunting, they weren’t looking for a house with a bomb shelter.
“No, but it was a selling point because we thought it was so fun. Made the house stand out in the crowd. We came and checked it out and thought it was super funky and cool.”
That’s one way to describe it.
Behind what looks like it could be the door to a linen closet is a long, thin tube with a ladder that leads you twenty feet underground.
There is a fairly small hole, big enough for a grown man with a camera or a reporter to squeeze through, and on the other side: a 50-foot room.
There is a space that looks like there’s room for a bed, and not much else.
There is electricity (thank goodness) because, never mind funky, this tight underground squeeze would be a little freaky without a light.
They bought the house from the original owners, and they're guessing this bomb shelter was made when the original owners built it in the 60s.
“It looks like the folks that were here ahead of us were - and we have evidence of this in other places of the house - I don’t know if 'preppers' is the right word. Ready for anything.”
Kind of like some people in South Dakota who are buying bunkers that were originally built in the 40s and are now being repurposed.
A company there has been building shelters in a few places across the country since 2007, and thinks demand is only going to go up amongst 'doomsday preppers.'
Kenneth Young is a possible bunker buyer. "I know something crazy is going to happen with the political climate, and they've been dealing with the aliens since the beginning of World War II."
While Vivos, the company designing the South Dakota bunkers, claims they’re for “almost any catastrophe," they admit they wouldn’t work against a nuclear attack. Nor would the charlotte one.
So Starnes doesn’t actually expect to use it, except for show and tell. “I’m guessing you have people over and they want to see it?" we asked.
"Everybody," he replied.
Could it protect you from zombies?
"I think that’s what my wife imagines it as. From thieves. [We] could see it as a panic room. It’s just sort of this cool funky thing."
So how long could you survive in a bunker? That depends on how elaborate it is.
The one in Charlotte will likely only gain you a few weeks, but there are some that could sustain you indefinitely.