Blackheart International

Echoes from gunfire ripple over the hills in Newman’s Bottom,…

Echoes from gunfire ripple over the hills in Newman’s Bottom, West Virginia. The shooting, however, doesn’t come from hunters taking aim at the area’s numerous deer, or even a moonshiner warding off unwelcome visitors near a hidden still. These shots are far more intense and purposeful, reminiscent of battle. Combat veterans might even recognize the chatter of Kalashnikovs.

In nearby Philippi, West Virginia, a stark brick structure dominates the little country town. Framed by the thickly wooded hillside rising behind it, the building, once known as the Myers Clinic, casts an eerie, third world image, like something frozen in time. Suddenly, a man clad in black emerges on the roof of the old structure’s five-story tower and rappels quickly down its face, disappearing through a window.

Up the road, a nondescript warehouse contains, like many others, a large inventory of equipment and supplies, but nearly everything in the facility focuses on war-fighting or training. After a trip through the storage racks to select gear, a visitor would be ready for just about any contingency and able to master training requirements with uniquely effective manuals and other aids.

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