TORONTO – Though the Mayans never really predicted that the world would end on Friday, some New Agers are convinced that humanity will meet its demise this December 21st.
Believers are flocking to spots where they think their chances of survival will be better, such as the Bugarach mountain peak in France.
Sun rises in Bugarach, a small village in the foothills of the Pyrenees on December 20, 2012 in France. The French government’s sect watchdog are investigating the likelihood of apocalyptic sect activity or ritualised suicides due to the prophecy of an ancient Mayan calendar, which also claims that Burgarach is the only place on Earth which will be saved from the apocalypse on the evening of December 21, 2012. Credit: Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images
According to one Doomsday theory, the rocky mountain in the French Pyrenees will be the sole place on Earth to escape destruction. A giant UFO and aliens are said to be waiting under the mountain, ready to burst through and spirit those nearby to safety.
But there is bad news for those seeking salvation: French gendarmes, some on horseback, are blocking outsiders from reaching the Bugarach peak and its village of some 200 people.
The gendarmes, some on horseback, control Bugarach, France. Credit: Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images
One believer, Ludovic Broquet, a 30-year-old plumber, made his way to the mountain after a year of preparation, hoping to find a “gateway, the vortex that will open up here (at) the end of the world.”
Local residents, instead, are skeptical – and angry at having their peace disturbed. “What is going on here is the creation of an urban legend,” fumed resident Michele Pous, who blamed those who spread Internet rumours. “They created a media frenzy, they created a false event, they manipulated people.”
A sign reading ‘The end of the world is here’ advertises a restaurant in Bugarach on December 20, 2012. Credit: Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images
The Toronto Star spoke with the owner of Bugarach’s only store, Patrice Etienne, who said he’d been bombarded with media requests.
“It’s all journalists – CNN, BBC, CBS News,” said Etienne. “People from Sweden, England, Germany… It’s the first time we have 200 journalists from all around the world coming for nothing. It’s incredible.”
Members of the world’s media descend on Bugarach on December 20, 2012 in France. Credit: Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images
The Star reports the origin of the tale is a mystery. Parisian journalist Nicolas d’Estienne d’Orves said it started online.
“The Internet was the first birthplace of this rumour and then the media started to just talk about it,” he told the Star.
Journalists film the 1,231 metre-high peak of Bugarach – one of the few places on Earth some believe will be spared when the world allegedly ends, according to claims regarding the ancient Mayan calendar. French authorities have pleaded with New Age fanatics, sightseers and media crews not to converge on the tiny village. Credit: Eric Cabanis/AFP/Getty Images
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France 24, based in Paris, said journalists from around the world replaced the “new agers in beat-up vans, stoned hippies in white togas walking barefoot, and doomsayers seeking refuges in caves beneath the now famous Pic de Bugarach” who were expected to arrive.
The international news organization described TV crews “roaming helplessly in the otherwise empty streets,” until a “pan-flute player with his oversized head and very articulate speech” appeared to describe his personal version of the end of the world to the camera crews.
Sylvain Durif provided “eyewitness descriptions of massive spaceships chartered by the Virgin Mary” and prevented the journalists “from lynching the Bugarach mayor when he finally stepped out of his town hall,” reports France 24.
The current mayor of Bugarach, Jean-Pierre Delord, poses on December 14, 2010 in front of a road sign, marking the entrance of the village of 200 under the peak of Bugarach, the culminating point of the Corbieres range in southwestern France. Some doomsday theories designate Bugarach peak as a sacred mountain that would be spared on December 21, 2012, when the Maya’s Long Count calendar marks the end of a 5,126-year era — a date some say marks the end of the world. Credit: Pascal Pavani/AFP/Getty Images
With files from The Associated Press