Posted: Feb 7, 2013 4:37 PM by Tim McGonigal - MTN News
Updated: Feb 7, 2013 4:51 PM
HELENA - Janet Spencer is better known by some as Calamity Janet.
She's not a survivalist.
"A survivalist is someone who's got an AK-47 and is going to shoot down anyone who steals their Ramen noodles and that does not describe me," Spencer said.
She's not a hoarder.
"And a hoarder is someone who stacks up their canned goods from floor to ceiling and you have to sidle sideways through their house and that's not me either," she added.
Janet considers herself a "prepper."
"A prepper is one who is prepared and that describes me. I want to be prepared for anything that disrupts the flow of goods or the state of normality."
Janet began prepping almost 25 years ago. Just before 5 a.m. on Feb. 2, 1989, a train exploded in Helena.
"It was huge. Fire, toxic cloud of smoke and all the power went out at 29 below zero and that's the moment I realized how utterly unprepared I was to deal with that on my own," she said.
Since then, Spencer has been gradually collecting food and supplies to store in her historic home, aptly called the Armageddon Inn.
"This bed is the waterbed, because this is where I store the water. Over time, I go to Albertson's or Safeway, I come home with one of these and I just stick it under here," she explained. "One tiny space at a time, one dollar at a time and 10 minutes at a time I have been filling this spaces."
Inconspicuously, she has hidden 40 pounds of rice in a grandfather clock.
"(It) doesn't affect the working of the clock at all," she said.
A bookshelf masquerades as a macaroni stash. A bathroom door doubles as a soup kitchen.
"There's enough soup to fill 280 bellies in this bathroom door," she pointed out.
Spencer's hobby was featured on National Geographic's Doomsday Preppers after she questioned the program's depiction of preppers.
"And I invited them to come to my house to see what a sane and sensible person does in order to prepare for disaster," she said.
"If the people calling me crazy are not prepared to take care of themselves, then they are far more crazy than I am," she added.