The end of the world is coming again—just as it was before Y2K and the Mayan Doomsday Calendar back to the calculations of Bishop Gregory of Tours, showing it would be all over sometimes between 799 and 806 and Christopher Columbus (yes, that Christopher Columbus) who it was ending in 1658.
“It’s something that people have believed all through history,” says Tea Krulos author of the just released Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers. “There have been different takes on the end times throughout our culture. In 1844, people followed Father Miller and believed so very strongly that the world was going to end that they sold their property, gave away things in preparing for it.”
Curious and somewhat amused about those who believe in end times and take steps to get ready, Krulos decided to explore the subject,
“I have a strong interest in Utopian fiction like such classics as 1984,” says Krulos, a Milwaukee journalist. “And I’ve always wondered, if there was a huge disaster, how long I’d be able to survive. Not very long, I think. I also wanted to get some answers about who these people were and to find out what prepping was about as well as to get out in the field, to experience some things and learn some things.”
But Preppers, the term used for those who are preparing for the ultimate catastrophe, were definitely not interested in talking to Krulos.
“I found out almost immediately it was going to be a challenge,” he says. “It’s a secretive group that distrusts media. So, I signed up for a prepper forum and attended a survival camp where I learned to build a fire, filter water and other simple things that might be helpful if something happens.”
Prepping, in turns out, is a billion dollar industry and it’s not only isolated rural dwellers who are buying into the need to prep. Krulos also talked to preppers in New York City and says that Chicago has a chapter of the Zombie Squad.
“They don’t really believe in a zombie apocalypse but think if you learn how to prepare to survive on, then you can survive hurricanes, mass rioting and other disasters,” he says.
What apocalyptic scenario should we fear the most? Krulos says it’s climate change. And he also thinks we need to pay attention to why the Doomsday Clock is now just three seconds before midnight.
“That’s the closest it’s been since they invented the hydrogen bomb,” he says.
So, what sorts of items does Krulos think are important when prepping for the apocalypse?
“A good water filter is a very good thing to have,” he says. “Food, comfortable gear for hiking, tools, a renewable food supply like extra seeds and books. I’ve always wanted to read War and Peace, I just haven’t had time.”
What: Tea Krulos book signing
When: Friday, June 21 at 7 p.m.
Where: The Book Cellar, 4736-38 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL
FYI: 773-293-2665; firstname.lastname@example.org