This weekend's blood moon is influencing some families to stock up
Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty

Jodi Hansen knows that she’ll probably still find bills in her mailbox on Sept. 28, and she doesn’t anticipate that her house will end up in Australia after a massive polar shift. But the Salt Lake City mother of three isn’t taking any chances.

What if the doomsday experts are right and Sunday’s “blood moon” eclipse triggers catastrophic events around the world, including her normally sedate neighborhood?

At the very least, the 34-year-old homemaker tells PEOPLE, “Whether it happens or not, we’ll have enough freeze-dried food to last for a year. My kids aren’t too happy about that, but if they’re hungry, they will be. Some people laugh that I rushed out to buy this stuff. But I figure, ‘Why not be prepared?’ ”

A total supermoon lunar eclipse, which is also known as a blood moon, appears larger and brighter than other full moons because it’s at the closest point in its orbit around the Earth. The rare lunar event – a supermoon coupled with a lunar eclipse – hasn’t happened since 1982.

Hansen, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is among many Mormons who have stockpiled food, water, propane, batteries and tents in case “doomsday” is imminent. Utah emergency supply stores have seen a sharp increase in sales the last several months, with some customers believing that a “super moon” combined with a “blood moon” (the fourth lunar eclipse in 18 months) might trigger a Utah earthquake or worse.

“We’ve definitely seen a steady rise in sales since June,” Kevan Allbee, 57, marketing director for Emergency Essentials in Orem, Utah, tells PEOPLE. “It’s not a panic spike like we saw with the Mayan calendar ending or Y2K. But I’d say we’ve had a 100 percent increase.”

This weekend’s blood moon is influencing some families to stock up, he says, “but global events right now are probably having more of an impact.”

“The earthquake in Nepal, the turmoil in the Greek and Chinese economies and our stock market are honestly more of an influence,” he says. “People are saying, ‘If the blood moon means the end of the earth, we’d better prepare. And if the world doesn’t end, it’s probably best to prepare anyway, because something else may come up.'”

Some “preppers” have apparently been influenced by Mormon blogger Julie Rowe, a Tucson, Arizona, mother of three who claims she saw the world’s cataclysmic future after a near-death experience in 2004. She wrote two books, A Greater Tomorrow: My Journey Beyond the Veil, and The Time is Now, showing visions of plagues, famines, tented cities and massive global catastrophes.

For more than a year, Rowe, 42, has been a popular speaker nationwide, prompting leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to issue a rare memo, saying, “Although Sister Rowe is an active member of the (LDS Church), her book is not endorsed by the church and should not be recommended to students or used as a resource in teaching them. The experiences she shares are her own personal experiences and do not necessarily reflect church doctrine, or they may distort doctrine.”

Rowe, who is now declining interviews, told Fox News Radio in January that she decided to speak up about her visions to “wake more of us up.”

“We need each other as we unify in righteousness and continue to build a righteous army,” she said. “When we need to defend the (U.S.) Constitution, we will be ready.”

Although emergency supply specialists in Utah are enjoying a windfall over Rowe’s predictions and the arrival of the blood moon, some are also cautioning people not to “buy into hysteria.”

“It makes more sense to prepare for an emergency like a job loss than for the end of the world,” Steve Palmer, cofounder of Thrive Life emergency preparedness supplies in American Fork, Utah, tells PEOPLE.

“If you really believe the world is going to be ending,” says Palmer, 39, “then there are a lot better things you could be spending your money on. My advice is to go out and buy that Corvette you’ve always dreamed about instead of stocking up on food.”

Kevan Albee says that while his own family has a basement full of supplies, they don’t anticipate having to break into a case of freeze-dried beef brisket or dehydrated carrots anytime soon.

On Sunday night, Albee, his children and grandkids plan to climb onto the roof of their house – and not to escape rising floodwaters.

“We’re going to sit up there with our binoculars and watch the blood moon,” Albee tells PEOPLE. “We plan to enjoy ourselves. And when Monday morning rolls around, I’m pretty sure the Earth will still be here.”