Seismologists are certain that a catastrophic earthquake will hit California, USA, within the next 30 years, yet only one in five Californians say they’re prepared for a disaster in their area. Doug Huffman, lead instructor at Pilot Hill’s Sierra School of Survival, is one of them.
“In any natural disaster you have the ‘honeymoon period’ where everybody helps each other. That can last for two, three, four days. Then people realize, ‘This is my last gallon of water for my family.’ And they no longer share. There are no more rules at that point. There are those who survive, and there are the zombies†, who are taking everything they need.
“Eighteen months ago, here in North Town, there was a snowstorm. The town went crazy. After six hours, people were fighting over the last propane can, the last can of water, the last piece of food left in the store. Fights to the death. Over a snowstorm. These people should have been slightly prepared. Just imagine going from a snowstorm to a multi-week event like we saw in [Hurricane] Katrina. It could be a tsunami, an earthquake, floods– worst-case scenarios. Prepare for those and the rest of life should be an adventure.
“Food is everybody’s first priority, but it shouldn’t be. Food is your last priority. You must have 24/7 security in harsh environments. A spiderhole can be anything; anywhere that allows you to disappear off the grid for one day or six months. It can be a room in a tall high-rise or a tornado shed in Kansas. We found Saddam Hussein in a spiderhole, 35 feet [11 meters] underground in a sandpit. I just make them out in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, in places where nobody can find them. I’m a specialist.”
† Canadian researchers have mathematically modeled a zombie attack on humans. Using infectious disease statistics and popular films, they concluded that the only way to survive would be to “hit [the undead] hard and hit them often.”
How to be the grey man
Desert, woodland, snow or the city: wherever you are, Doug Huffman, main instructor of the Sierra School of Survival, Pilot Hill, California, can teach you how to disappear in minutes. “The human mind dismisses 80 percent of what’s coming in through the eyes,” says Doug. “Your goal is to understand what that 80 percent is and merge into it. Become the grey man.”
Paint long pieces of ripped fabric a deep camouflage green, then sew them onto your clothes. Repeat many, many times. Add twigs, leaves and foliage from your surroundings. Your eyes will stand out, so use mud to darken your face and eyelids. “The shoulders and necks of humans have a particularly distinct shape,” says Doug. “You want to break up that line.”
“By simply purchasing two items –skin toner and mascara– in any store, I have the ability to change my entire look within eight minutes, and, of course, I can stuff tissuepaper in my jawlines to change my facial structure. On just visual inspection, within six feet [1.8m] or more, you will pass as one of the locals. It could be all that you need to get to the us Embassy.”
Take a sapling about three meters long, make a hoop from it and secure it by tying the ends together with your shoelaces. Then interweave branches through the hoop to make what looks like a circular chessboard. Fill the gaps with whatever vegetation you have at hand, then hide behind the shield for escape and evasion in any natural environment, “even Central Park, New York.”
How to hideClick to enlarge
Human eyes cannot peer into dark areas while looking at bright light. Jordan’s Bedouin Desert Police unit exploits this by crouching in shadows created by rock piles in the desert sun, waiting to catch smugglers by surprise.
Find a dead camel, skin it, slice into its belly, drag out its guts, then climb in. A dead camel can be a spacious hideout, and its skin will keep you warm during stakeouts.
If chasing a dictator, go to his hometown and peer into some holes. In 2003, Saddam Hussein was found in one near Tikrit, Iraq, and in 2011, Muammar el-Qaddafi was dragged out of a storm drain in Sirte, Libya.
Polar bears prefer seals, but as global warming has reduced their hunting territories by 40 percent over the past 30 years, they might come looking for you. Get them first, by hiding behind a snow screen with a high-powered rifle, Inuit-style.
To infiltrate a community of crocodiles in Egypt, US zoologist Brady Barr disguised himself with a prosthetic crocodile head and a canvas-covered body. If imitating his daring disguise, remember to slap on some hippo dung to cover up your human smell.
Dig a shoulder-deep hole, get in and cover the opening with twigs. As used by Viet Cong guerrillas in Vietnam, mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan, and Doug Huffman on his ranch in Pilot Hill, California, USA.
“We have to learn to be like birds,” says André Luís Augusto Rodrigues, a shoeshine man from the shantytowns around São Paulo, Brazil. Every night for the past six years, he has slept in trees to escape the violent city streets.
In February 2009, 10 would-be immigrants from Eritrea and Afghanistan tried to reach the UK illegally in wheelie bins loaded onto a truck. They were stopped at the French port of Calais, sniffed out by a springer spaniel called Lois.
From the pages of COLORS #84 - APOCALYPSE.