Most of you know that the world is scheduled to end on 21 December 2012. Wikipedia summarizes all of the information in this article: 2012 phenomenon. This Countdown Clock is a handy reference which you can consult to determine how much time remains.
You may think this is far from our usual concerns about The Controversy between evolution and creationism, but we disagree Those who believe in Noah’s Ark and those who believe that it’s all going to end on 21 December aren’t too far apart at all. They all believe in one myth or another telling them that for supernatural reasons, this is the Planet of Doom.
We kept a faithful countdown for Harold Camping’s end of the world prophesy, and now we begin our latest End of the World series with an article from the website of Der Spiegel, one of Europe’s largest publications. Their story is titled French Village Offers Refuge from Apocalypse. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
At the foot of the French Pyrenees, among twiggy bushes and dusty rocks, lies Bugarach. Just getting there alone is torture. … There are many reasons why the village, population 200, is a popular travel destination these days. Some come to go hiking, others to relax. And some come for a reason that lies completely beyond the earthly sphere.
They believe that Bugarach is special because, according to the calculations, the village is supposed to be saved from the hellfire — at least that’s the story in Internet forums on the topic, which have selected the spot as a modern-day Noah’s Ark.
That’s good to know. But it’s not just wild speculation. Get this:
The village has its local 1,230 meter-high mountain, Pic de Bugarach, to thank for the attention. In the mountain, according to the conspiracy theorists, are slumbering extra-terrestrials, who will come to life on December 21. For them, Bugarach is actually a garage for UFOs, because they believe alien spaceships are parked in caves in the mountain. The aliens will rescue the chosen few — that is, anyone in the town — from the apocalypse. To prove their theories, hikers film their supposed encounters with the extra-terrestrials and post them on the Internet.
It seems like that’s the place to be on 21 December. Let’s read on:
So will the pilgrims of the apocalypse descend on the town in droves? At least the town’s mayor, Jean-Pierre Delord, is afraid they will. For two years the Socialist politician has warned about the forces threatening his hometown: invasion by New Agers, sect meetings and collective suicide.
He’s probably right. We continue:
Because apocalypse types have bought up all the land in the area in the last years, real estate prices in the area have already risen substantially, he [the mayor] says. Recently, he witnessed a type of procession happening in the forest. “They were all dressed in white,” he says. “I hope that they don’t all take their lives together at some point.”
It’s gonna get worse. Here’s more:
The French agency, the Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combatting Cultic Deviances (Miviludes) is just as alarmed. [BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What a bureaucracy!] “Until now, more than anything else, the topic has been exploited for commercial reasons,” officials at the agency wrote in their 2010 annual report. The report was referring to postcards, magic wands and “eternity stones,” which can all be ordered especially for the apocalypse.
We gotta get one of those magic wands! Moving along:
Still, the report said that the risks cannot be underestimated, especially in light of the collective suicide of the Sun Temple sect in the 1990s, in which 74 people died. The authorities say that they currently do not have any new insights into what might happen in Bugarach. “But we’re observing the development very closely,” says Miviludes spokesperson Claire Barbereau.
It’s comforting to know that the bureaucrats are keeping an eye on things. One more excerpt:
Meanwhile, the phenomenon at play in the French village is nothing new. “As far as end-of-the-world scenarios are concerned, there’s a centuries-old supply closet full of recurring themes,” says Eberhard Bauer from the Freiburg Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health (IGPP). Bauer and his colleagues counsel, among others, people who are afraid of the end of the world. A “spiritual refuge, in which only the chosen few are able to escape,” such as Bugarach, is one of the common themes, he says. “It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that some people are taken advantage with these ideas of redemption.”
There’s much more to the article, and we get the impression that whoever wrote it thinks the whole thing is a joke. Skeptics can try to downplay things — unbelievers always do — but we’re taking it all very seriously. Let’s see if they’re still laughing on 21 December. We plan to keep you updated on all developments, so stay tuned to this blog.
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