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Vivos is a corporation marketing huge underground shelters (Terra Vivos) claimed to help alleviate the effects of natural or man-made disasters, such as environmental catastrophe, comet impact, earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis, solar flares, nuclear war, terrorist attacks, financial and social breakdown, or 2012 2016 JUST YOU WAIT, IT'LL BE SOON![note 1]

The shelters[edit]

Survivalists and paranoiacs can buy themselves a space in the shelters, for when the time comes, at the bargain price of $25,000 to $50,000 per person ($5,000 deposit now, with the rest due on completion of the shelter). Children pay half rate and pets stay for free.[1][2]

Twenty shelters are planned in the USA, as well as four in Europe.[3] The first one is a Cold War era AT&T telecommunications bunker at an undisclosed location in the Mojave Desert.[1] Vivos is now selling spaces at their Rocky Mountains and Indiana shelters.[4] The exact locations of the bunkers are kept secret until the disaster occurs. Including, apparently, from the paying customers.

As well as buying shelter space, members can opt to have their "seed" (sperm or eggs) frozen in the Vivos Cryovault,[5] or even that of their pets.[6]


The company's marketing is heavily fear-based and includes mention of some potentially real threats along with many imaginary ones based on appeals to a mixed bundle of pseudoscience and woo. These include Mayan prophecies about 2012, the pole shift hypothesis, conspiracy theories (that the governments of the world have already built their own network of bunkers to protect "the elite", leaving the wider population to suffer) and, implicitly, apocalyptic fears, although expressed in secular language.

Millions of people believe that we are living in the “end times”. Many are looking for a viable solution to survive potential future Earth devastating events ... The accepted solution to most of the threat scenarios is to find underground shelter. . . . . The governments of the world have been busy building vast underground shelter complexes for the elite. What do they know? The rest of us are on our own, without a long-term survival solution.

... Vivos will provide a life assurance solution for those that wish to be prepared to survive these potential events, whether they occur now, in 2012, or in decades to come.[7]

A series of alarmist videos can be found around the site, covering possibilities such as "nuclear terrorism", "surviving anarchy" and "2012 scenarios".[8] All the while a timer on the left-hand side of the screen counts down the seconds to zero hour. Apparently we don't know exactly what's going to happen, but we know to the second exactly when it's going to kick off.

Vivos's fear-based marketing also appears on many a 2012 apocalypse-related web forum.[9]

Member selection[edit]

In addition to stumping up the required funds, those who wish to reserve a place in a shelter must undergo a screening process to determines whether they are able to offer a meaningful contribution to the continuation of the human race.[10] The company claims it has already received 1,000 applications.

Vivos will then look for those individuals who may best contribute to each Vivos shelter community, for the greatest chance of long-term survival of the entire group. Each candidate will be 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.[2]

The company markets this with bizarre rhetoric about survivors who act alone for their own interests being the "chosen few",[11] which seems an odd contrast to the supposed anti-elitism of their comments about governments' alleged secret bunkers.


The company was founded by San Diego real estate and time-share salesman[12] Robert Vicino. He's selling them for general disaster-related survivalism:

“I don’t believe in 2012.” Robert Vicino doesn’t buy into those end time predictions based on misinterpretations of the Mayan calendar. But then he corrects himself, perhaps remembering that his company’s website highlights the whole Mayan calendar end-of-the-world thing.

“I don’t, uh, I’m 50-50 on that. But I do believe that even before then we might see anarchy with economic meltdowns that many are forecasting will happen this year.”[1]

In popular culture[edit]

The bunker plan is remarkably similar to the "Vaults" in the Fallout series of computer games. Surely Vicino didn't play the game and think, "business plan!" ... ? Though given their first bunker is in the Mojave...

The Colbert Report did a short bit on Vivos. "The menu says that they serve Sloppy Joes. Which will take on new meaning when the food runs out."[13]


According to one Observer commenter, "in Spanish vivos doesn't mean only 'alive (plural)'. It also means 'sharpies', 'wide boys', swindlers if you wish."[14]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. As of early 2013, some 2012-related content remains on Vivos's website, though the company acknowledges that "the envisioned catastrophic events can happen without notice" at any point in future decades. "It's not a question of if, but when!"