Most governments have their fair share of vaults and covert bunkers, but there are a whole slew of other, privately-owned, depositories that are as equally protected as any military base. While we’re sure those in the doomsday or “prepper” crowd have some pretty impressive bunkers of their own, here are some of the most highly guarded vaults we actually know about.
The Mormon Vault, a.k.a the Granite Mountain Records Vault, is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and is built 600-feet into the side of a giant rock in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. Although surrounded by rock (technically quartz—not granite), don’t think you can go dynamiting your way in there as it was constructed to withstand a nuclear blast and has steel, bank-safe type doors designed to seal tighter under impact. There are some administrative offices inside the complex, but it is not open to the public or even church members.
So, what kind of top secret stuff is a religious group squirreling away in an underground lair? Supposedly, just some humdrum genealogy records and other church documents. Still, a cavern capable of surviving the apocalypse does seem a little overkill for storing paperwork, which has led some to assume there are more mysterious things being kept in the bunker. For instance, Mormon detractors believe the vaultcontains discrepant church historical documents that are being suppressed to avoid making the church look bad or possibly prove the whole religion was fabricated.
Mormon leaders dismiss the conspiracy theories and say the reserve holds nothing more than microfilm and microfiche that the church is restoring and converting to digital media. They even have a “behind the scenes video tour” of Granite Mountain Records on YouTube.
We tend to think of poison as a Shakespearean agent of drama, torn from the pages of Agatha Christie novels. But the truth is, death is all around us, in neat little bottles under the kitchen sink, in our drinking water, and in our bloodstreams. Below are ten of the world’s most insidious poisons, some exotic and others frighteningly common.
Although it carries with it a terrifying stigma, cyanide has a rich and fruitful history. Some scientists even believe it may have been one of the chemicals responsible for producing life on earth. Today it is better known as an agent of death, the active ingredient in the Zyklon-B the Nazis used to exterminate the Jews in shower rooms. Cyanide is the chemical used as capital punishment in the gas chambers of the United States. Those who have come into contact with it describe it smelling sweetly of almonds. Cyanide kills by binding to the iron in our blood cells and choking them off, removing their ability to transfer oxygen throughout the body. Most states in the US have discontinued the use of the gas chamber as unnecessarily inhumane. Death can take several minutes and is often gruesome to witness, with the condemned flailing and drooling in an attempt to stave off death.