Doomsday castle built to survive apocalypse

By GABRIELLE LEVY,  |  Aug. 13, 2013 at 1:44 PM
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When retired Army officer Brent Sr. hatched a plan to protect his family from mass havoc wrought by Y2K, reality television was mostly the provenance of the likes of "The Real World" and "Survivor."

Brent Sr., who refuses to give his family name or their location more specific than the Carolina Mountains to protect their location, decided to construct a castle -- complete with drawbridge, portcullis and underground bunker -- to prepare for doomsday.

Brent Sr. and some of his 10 children are the stars of a new show on National Geographic, "Doomsday Castle," a spinoff of "Doomsday Preppers," premiering on Tuesday at 10 p.m.

Their motives may seem a little extreme, and while they may be the latest in a long string of strange families featured for reality shows -- think Honey Boo Boo, Jon and Kate, or the Duck Dynasty guys -- Brent and his family are really living this off-the-grid lifestyle.

When a computer glitch didn't bring on chaos on Jan. 1, 2001, Brent Sr. said his fears calmed for a bit, but then he decided an electromagnetic pulse could knock out the world's computers.

The castle, he says, would be to protect against marauders, stock supplies, and even wait out hurricanes.

"Most people have enough food for about 10 days," Brent Sr. said. "If there are no trucks to replenish the food supply, though, that's a major problem.

"If the government isn't there to help them out, fighting and looting will eventually start -- like you saw during Hurricane Katrina -- and could eventually reach the countryside."

"The calmest person in the world will turn into a savage if he sees his baby crying and his children go hungry. I built the castle to defend against marauders and to have a place that could function without electricity."

"When immorality gets to the point where we are at in our society, if God doesn't bring wrath, he removes his hand and [lets bad things happen]," Brent Sr. explains. "But there will be a time, I do believe, when the wrath will come and the end will come, and the Book of Revelation will come true."

Brent II, Brent Sr.'s son, was estranged from his family and was the one to call National Geographic for "Doomsday Preppers." He said that, while he doesn't buy into his dad's fear of a disaster, the lifestyle is healthy and it's helping him reconnect to his family.

"When I first told my dad [about calling the casting directors], he nearly disowned me," Brent II said. "But I kept working on him, and he eventually agreed that it'd be good to get this message about prepping out there."

"I think it's a very pessimistic view," he added. "But I do think it's a good idea to have a place to wait out hurricanes."

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