6 Incredible Real-World Supervillain Lairs
Who among us hasn't dreamed of having a sprawling control center, with huge mechanical vault doors and secret passage ways? If any of us become billionaires, the first thing we're going to do is build a Batcave.
Well, some guys out there had the money, desire and imagination to live that dream.
If Bond Villains Grew Weed...
So you're the kind of guy who wants a sprawling, secure underground lair. But you still enjoy the simple things in life, like fine marijuana and quiet time with the neighbors. So how about this secret underground cavern, built right under a quiet town in Tennessee?
Some enterprising drug dealers apparently got tired of having to drive to some secret location to tend to their plants, so they built a massive underground complex large enough to house a full pot farm. And the neighbors, who apparently didn't want to pry, never noticed.
If you look closely there is also a little chain lock at the top.
The weed lair was built right underneath a normal-looking house with a hydraulic door in the garage that led to a concrete ramp 50-yards long. Inside the lair there was enough room for about 1,000 marijuana plants and the whole thing was climate controlled so the weed could grow in comfort.
There were even living quarters--or a prison, depending on how you look at it--inside the cave to "house" the migrant workers they would bring in to tend to the plants. If you are like us you probably wonder about the logic of hiring temp workers to staff your drug empire in your super secret cave; but we've never made $6-8 million dollars a year doing anything so what the fuck do we know?
The cave even had an escape tunnel that led up to an exit covered by a fake hydraulic rock which we find both awesome and supremely ridiculous at the same time.
While we like the idea of an escape hatch we question how much villain street cred you can really retain after crawling out from underneath a fake rock Hogan's Heroes style.
Cops eventually busted the pot growers and the cave was sold to a "cheese maker." The sale included the land, the remains of the house, the cave and, amazingly enough, most of the pot growing equipment. We expect that there is going to be some truly bitching "cheese" coming out of Tennessee real soon.
Sweden's High Tech Data Fortress
Sweden, apparently a haven for both supervillains and delicious meatballs, is home to this supposed "ISP Data Center" that is built in an old nuclear bunker with 16-inch-thick doors, and refurbished with a total supervillain makeover, complete with triple redundancy cables and fiber optic network and a soothing greenhouse and waterfalls.
Worried that your power is going to be cut right in the middle of executing your world takeover? You can rest easy because the site also comes with two German submarine engines that provide back up power.
Our history isn't great but we're pretty sure this isn't the first time German submarine engines were used to try and take over the world.
The designers also installed the warning alarms from the submarines, but claim that was "just for fun" and not at all to give them enough time to launch a counterattack.
If you needed any more evidence as to why they built this place, look no further than the CEO of this company who freely admits that he wanted to get the same outfit as the villain Blofeld from James Bond, complete with the white cat.
Now, we know what you're thinking. "Sure, that's cool and all, but how can I, a supervillain, build my own? It's not like people are selling abandoned nuclear missile silos out there."
Well, you're in luck...
The Abandoned Nuclear Missile Silo Home
As many of you know, people get suspicious when you apply for a permit to build something called "Underground Armored Missile Silo" in the neighborhood, as those things tend to seriously drive down property values. The good news is that the U.S. government has a few of these things sitting empty because those damn hippies finally convinced Russia and the U.S. that one million missiles could end the world just as well as two million.
Among the prime property for sale is this Titan 1 missile site in Denver if you want a fixer-upper...
... and this one in upstate New York, if you want one ready to move into.
In case you have some henchmen along for the ride, no worries, because the silos boast more than 40,000 square feet of underground floor space for them. Although the site doesn't specify what you'll be using all that space for, we suspect you could have some great dodgeball games after you deliver your ultimatum to the world leaders and wait for money to start rolling in.
Of course, you can't expect the authorities to just stay out while you start building your WMDs. Fortunately, the underground bunkers were built to give you the best chance of surviving any attacks, including 14-foot-thick walls and 150-ton steel doors over the silos. Plus there is a chain link fence which you can totally lock.
The video below gives you a tour of a yet another such site for sale in Washington, so feel free to comparison shop before you buy.
Saddam's Bunker (Slightly Damaged)
One thing you can be sure about is that if you are going to be a villain and a huge dick like Saddam Hussein, then you better make sure you build a lair that will protect you from your enemies while you sleep.
Whether he had a flair for the dramatic or he just got an awesome deal, Saddam had his palace bunker designed by the grandson of the woman who built Hitler's bunker.
Apparently grandma knew her stuff when it came to building lairs to protect evil scum because after the war was over it was discovered that despite the palace being hit by seven bunker-busters and 20 cruise missiles, the bunker was apparently not even scratched. Though as you can see from the picture, it's, uh, been scratched quite a bit since then.
Bomb proof, yes. Looter proof, no.
The lair was found underneath gold statues of naked pole dancers and porn-on-black velvet paintings, and was built with layers of thick concrete floors. An expert said that all the layers tricked the bombs by making them explode too early as they "counted" the number of floors they passed. In your face stupid robotic counting bombs! The designer said that the bunker was built to hold up against anything short of a direct hit by a nuclear bomb and we all know those things weren't really built for accuracy.
It also had three-ton Swiss-made steel doors because everyone knows that three-ton steel doors made by anyone else pretty much suck ass.
Of course all that protection would be useless without something to do, so the lair also came with generators, air filters, a command center and something called an electromagnetic pulse defense system. Although, we're inclined to think that last one was just some useless bullshit, like those neon lights kids put underneath their cars.
There was even a TV editing room where you could make your own propaganda videos... or watch porn. In the event that the bunker was actually breached though, there were two tunnels you could use to escape while swearing revenge. Of course a lair like this only works if you actually decide to stay inside it instead of hiding in something called a spirderhole dug in some guy's back yard.
Saddam totally got screwed on the "Free Backup Bunker" included in the deal.
Some of you outdoorsy types are probably thinking it's no fun to rule the world if you're stuck in a huge glorified basement the whole time. Well, there is another way.
Just take the example of drug kingpin Carlos Lehder, who simply took over an entire tropical island and used it as a base of operations for his empire.
Sure, Lehder could have just bought himself some uninhabited island, but in true supervillain style, he took over an established island in the Bahamas called Norman's Cay. He started off by buying a lot of the property including an airstrip. But when the other people started complaining about loud parties, uncut grass and the literal tons of cocaine he was flying in everyday, he figured he would help keep the peace by running them off. It's unclear if he tried putting up the usual "No Trespassing" signs first, but soon enough dead bodies were showing up on yachts.
He might have been stopped by the Bahamian government but he took care of this by allegedly bribing the Prime Minister. Lehder then had doberman attack dogs and armed guards roam his properties and the airstrip to make sure nothing would interfere with his drug running business, which included radar and a fleet of aircraft.
During the good years, Lehder was flying in 300 kilograms of cocaine... an hour.
All right, so you've got the ocean to protect you and your own air force. But does a place like this give you time to unwind? Well, a Ledher associate describes how he would be picked up at the airstrip in a Land Rover driven by naked women--which is so awesome because Land Rovers are quality vehicles. So we know he had naked women, gorgeous beaches and mountains of cocaine at his disposal. You can probably paint a picture of the average Saturday night.
Pictured: Ledher's patent cocaine bazooka.
Then again, considering he was eventually taken down by the Bahamian government after the U.S. complained he was flooding the country with cheap coke, you'd have to think he should have spent less time on the coke parties and more time building a death ray.
NORAD's Hollowed-Out Mountain Headquarters
And now, we get to the granddaddy of all high-tech subterranean headquarters.
Probably on the wish list of every would-be villain is the super secure mountain lair, preferably in an active volcano, though that part isn't really practical. The U.S. government took this path when it was looking for a place to house its NORAD defense system. This system is extremely important because it will tell us that the world is going to end in a fiery nuclear war in about 30 minutes.
The lair--or facility, as government types like to call it--was built by hollowing out Cheyenne Mountain. It took three years and over a million pounds of dynamite to carve out the 7 million cubic feet of space required.
To make sure the ultimate lair doesn't become the world's biggest grave after getting hit by a nuclear bomb, the designers also reinforced the bunker with 115,000 rock bolts. There are two employees whose actual full time jobs are to tighten the bolts with what we have to believe are hilarious giant wrenches. The buildings inside the bunker are built on 1316 huge springs, each weighing half a ton, to absorb the shockwave from a nuclear bomb. The buildings include six battle stations, a dentist office and barbershop. Because the end of the world does not have to mean the end of good hygiene.
"I should get a haircut."
The entrance to the bunker is protected by 25 ton steel blast doors that you only reach after driving a few hundred feet into the mountain itself. We especially like how the government also built a wooden guard booth next to the doors.
"Damn it, we can't get in! The wooden arm is down!"
The bunker has enough supplies and equipment to let you and your cronies live underground in the shelter for a few weeks after the bombs drop. Emergency exits located throughout the mountain give you ample opportunity to get out. Though you'll probably be escaping to a post apocalyptic Mad Max-style waste land, making the exits the least useful feature in the place.
Once you've outfitted your lair, find out how you'll soon be able to have super powers, in 5 Superpowers Science Will Give Us in Our Lifetime. And then learn how to use them like a dick by checking out 5 Real World Criminals Who Were Certified Supervillians.
And visit Cracked.com's Top Picks, a.k.a. our virtual supervillian lair.