Crazy Woman Creates New Suburban Survivalist Trend

Though I found it thorough and immensely helpful, I guess The Ultimate Zombie Survival Guide just wasn't enough. A new book called Just in Case: How to Be Self-Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens has just been published that exhaustively maps out how the typical homeowner can achieve ultimate disaster preparedness. This manual wasn't written by some salty former Marine or wild Alaskan adventurer, it was written by a 56-year-old woman named Kathy Harrison from the small (and regrettably named) Western Mass town of Cummington. And she's kind of a nut!

She says of her passion for survivalism: "I don't expect someone to drop a nuke on me, but after 9/11 - and certainly after Hurricane Katrina - I realized that, holy smoke, the cavalry doesn't always charge in to rescue you." Which, OK, fine. That's sort of on the plane of reason. But then she gives a tour of her house-full of sewing kits and cans and bottles of water and six months worth of freeze dried food-and you begin to see where her edges have frayed a bit.

When asked what she would do if the family had to suddenly evacuate the house, Mrs. Harrison walked to the mudroom, where backpacks hung on pegs, one for each family member, each containing a variety of supplies like water, tinder and flashlights. If the packs are combined with another, larger pack kept in the car, they form a kind of family survival superpack.

Scanning the pegs, Mrs. Harrison's brow furrowed. "Karen, where's your pack?" she said to her daughter.

Karen looked sheepish. "Um, up in my room."

"You know your pack belongs here," Mrs. Harrison said kindly but firmly.

I mean it's one thing to keep extra batteries in your junk drawer or whatever, but Mrs. Harrison says she's spent thousands of dollars on apocalypse kits in the past couple of years. Her 5-year-old daughter, Phoebe, probably doesn't live in a constant state of terror and anxiety or anything. There's nothing to worry about, dear. Other than THE SKY FALLING AND EATING YOUR PARENTS AT ANY SECOND.

[NYT, photo too]