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Catholic Shrine or Devil's Den? FEMA 'Cover' Poses Questions

  • A pair if investigators were shocked to find not all of the bunkers near Gettysburg date from the Civil War.
By John J. Kettler

Emmitsburg, Maryland is much more than a scenic, historic town through with armies one tramped en route to the decisive Civil War battle of Gettysburg. It is a town on whose outskirts sits a convert government training center, much of it cleverly disguised as religious installations belonging to the Catholic Church.

A small green metal sign on the roadside explains this church is actually a "National Emergency Training Center.' It rests on Highway 15 headed toward Gettysburg from Maryland.

The sign could mean only one thing for a team of investigative journalists on vacation: the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an organization which is decidedly devoted not just to disaster relief. Its primary purpose is to take over the country and run it upon declaration of a national emergency.

Once the president declares a national emergency, a series of Executive Orders would be implemented, among them seizure of the media, nationwide registration of all people, takeover of all means of production, seizure of food stockpiles, farms, etc. families could be broken up while the government shipped various family members to civilian labor brigades. Those identified as "patriots," "tax protesters" or simply labeled "violence-prone" could be swept up in massive dragnets and placed in "detention cramps."


Roadside reconnaissance by the team of investigative journalists shortly before dusk disclosed modern brick structures, protected by extensive security, housing the United States Fire Administration, the National Fire Academy and the Emergency Management Institute, all prominently listed on a sign.

But as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Below the sign a team member spotted a faint something written on the sign's pedestal: "Federal Emergency Management Agency,' and in the line below that, "National Emergency Training Center." Inside the compound, another team member photographed the buildings, numerous FEMA vans, a helipad and windsock, plus several security signs.

Running out of daylight, team members decided to return the next day and resume their investigation from the safety of an adjacent religious facility.

Returning from Gettysburg the next afternoon, they took Main Street through Emmitsburg and came to Saint Joseph's Provincial House and the Saint Elizabeth Seton Shrine. posing as tourists, they strolled leisurely toward the FEMA buildings. Then the team spotted a "church" where multiple security vehicles patrolled the grounds.

The team's photographer, Scott Steinmann, took pictures of the left side and rear of the FEMA complex while approaching the shrine. Then he turned left and strolled right up to the "church,' his camera clicking rhythmically. At that moment the "church bells" played Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, then more pop music.


The secular music told the team that they were in unmarked federal property, the "church" was a cover -- the building was actually the National Emergency Training Center. The proof was in the small signs near the portico, the big gold letters over the transom but in deep shadow from the portico, and the American flag and FEMA's dread navy blue flag the team viewed through the lass door to the lobby.

The team tried to drive behind the complete complex, which is how they found the underground FEMA facility, evidenced by a half-mile-long row of large pipes topped by box ventilators, in an open field behind the entire aboveground FEMA complex. This whole installation, including a purported teaching hospital, sits just a few miles away from the presidential retreat at Camp David.