Driving through the Ozark Mountains near Highlandville, Missouri, you might come across a curious site perched up among some hills and half hidden by the trees. There towering over the landscape you might see sitting a massive, castle-like structure like something out of a fantasy film, completely unexpected and outlandish in contrast to its surroundings and what you would expect to see there, and so unbelievably enormous and imposing that you might rub your eyes thinking this is your imagination playing tricks on you. Don’t worry, you’re not seeing things, you are looking upon the Château Pensmore, also called the Pensmore Mansion or just simply Pensmore, a mysterious building that is one of the largest homes in the United States, and which is surrounded by a strange history, an eccentric creator, and plenty of conspiracies.
Construction on the mammoth structure began in 2008, when astrophysicist, former Army Intelligence officer and CIA agent, expert on analysis of satellite imagery, and founder of Sensor Systems, Steven T. Huff, began having his own designs brought to life. It was an ambitious undertaking to say the least, with the building eventually covering a whopping 72,000 square feet, but what makes it really unusual is its curious materials and design. Pensmore was built with an innovative insulated concrete form structure reinforced with a new form of high tensile steel fiber called Helix, all of which is thick and strong enough to supposedly withstand pretty much anything you or nature can throw at it, including bombs, fires, tornadoes as strong as an F5, massive earthquakes, the strongest hurricanes, and pretty much any other natural catastrophe. It is bulletproof, blast proof, fireproof, insect proof, age proof, and is supposedly more or less indestructible, with Huff himself confidently stating that “This house will be standing 2,000 years from now. Even then it would be hard to knock down.”
Construction would last 8 years, and would face difficulties when it all fell into a sinkhole and was almost destroyed, but building continued and the result is rather impressive. It isn’t just its size, materials, and impervious structure that make Pensmore unique. Upon its completion in 2016, the vast structure would be five stories tall, featuring 12-inch solid concrete and Helix walls, 5 suites with kitchens as big as a normal house, 14 bathrooms, 13 bedrooms, a music room, telescope observatory, grand ballroom, movie theater, museum, and numerous other rooms for all purposes, the whole of which is completely state-of-the-art and all topped off by 4,000 solar panels, 9 tons of batteries, and the property roamed by herds of exotic wild Ossabaw Island pigs kept as a sort of livestock. No expense was spared making his place. It is energy efficient, self-staining, and well-nigh indestructible, and all of this, plus its size, remote location in the Ozarks, and the fact that is was made with new age materials by an ex-intelligence operative have made a lot of people wonder why it was built in the first place.
The official reason given by Huff is that this is an experiment to show the feasibility of creating energy efficient, self-sustaining structures that can withstand natural disasters, with the technology applicable to any climate and able to be used as homes, schools, hospitals, and other buildings in disaster prone areas. It was also designed to demonstrate and test the efficiency and durability of the new materials and construction techniques being used. As to why it was made in the Ozarks, it has been explained that this kept it secluded, allowed them to test out the materials, as the region experiences extremes of temperature between cold and hot as well as tornadoes and storms, and also allowed them to experiment with innovative building techniques because the area is not subject to usual government building inspections or regulations. It all sounds reasonable enough, even noble and altruistic, but of course places like this attract conspiracy theories like flies, and Pensmore is no exception.
Almost as soon as construction began on the site there were rumors going around, which only intensified with time. The most popular theory is that Pensmore is a base of operations for the New World Order shadow government after some upcoming apocalypse that they either know about or are planning on causing themselves. There is also the idea that this is some sort of secret military installation for the purpose of, well, you name it, housing alien bodies, a center for weather control equipment, an emergency bunker, a lab for experimenting with opening interdimensional portals, secret weapons research, pretty much every military conspiracy trope you can think of has been suggested. Supporting all of this is that there is supposedly a vast network of tunnels and facilities underneath the area, with quite a few witnesses claiming to have seen these tunnels, or to at least have seen people or vehicles entering or leaving them.
Other odd reports abound. Some locals have claimed to have heard a train rumbling through the area, despite the fact that there is no railroad that goes through there, unmarked black vehicles or helicopters, as well as mysterious security personnel with no insignias who chase people away, and there have even been UFO sightings near the compound. One witness says when he tried to investigate Pensmore with a drone it experienced anomalous technical difficulties. The list goes on and on, ranging from the weird to the absurd. As far as conspiracies go, you name it Pensmore has got it, it would seem. The facility was almost torn down in 2016 due to a lawsuit in which was claimed the structure had faulty construction, but this has been worked out and the monolithic building still stands.
So what is Chateau Pensmore really? Here we have an indestructible, totally self-sufficient massive building built out in the middle of nowhere, with tons of facilities and built with new age materials by an Ex-Army Intelligence and CIA astrophysicist, so it almost writes its own conspiracy theories, but what is it really? Is this some sort of Illuminati base? Is it some secret military installation, and if so, for what? Or is this just as Huff claims, merely an experiment in building design for the future? Whatever the answer may be, considering its eccentric history and details, there is probably no way the conspiracies orbiting it will go away any time soon.