Fears that the end of the world as we know it may be just around the corner with just days until the end of the Mayan calendarCubans participate in a Mayan ritual at Bacuranao beach in eastern Havana. Photo: AFP/Getty
Updated Dec. 21, 2012 – Hicksville NY (Moriches Daily) — A rash of panic buying of candles and essentials in Russia and China, and a surge in sales of survival shelters in the United States, doomsday panic is in full swing. Meanwhile, in France, believers in the doomsday prophecies are preparing to converge on a mountaintop where they believe aliens will rescue them.
December 21, 2012, marks the conclusion of the 5,125-year “Long Count” Maya calendar, which many have interpreted as meaning that is the date that the Earth, and its inhabitants, will be annihilated.
If you were worried about Dec. 21, 2012 bringing the end of the world, government officials, the Vatican, and even NASA wants to calm you down by calling it “just rumors”.
It is not clear exactly how Armageddon is supposed to unfold, and there are a number of theories that range from a disastrous crash with a comet, a catastrophic collision with a mythical planet known as Nibiru (or Planet X), or even the annihilation of civilization by a giant solar storm.
In America, manufacturers of high-tech underground shelters have seen their sales explode, which can only be due to fears about the apocalypse occurring later this month. Ron Hubbard, a manufacturer of hi-tech underground survival shelters, has seen his business explode.
“We’ve gone from one a month to one a day,” he said. “I don’t have an opinion on the Mayan calendar but, when astrophysicists come to me, buy my shelters and tell me to be prepared for solar flares, radiation, EMPs (electromagnetic pulses) … I’m going underground on the 19th and coming out on the 23rd. It’s just in case anybody’s right.”
NASA, however, has been working to dispel fears, insisting that there is no evidence that Nibiru exists and that rumors that it could be hiding behind the sun are unfounded because they would have seen it by now. NASA also rejects theories about unusual alignments of the planets and the idea that the Earth’s magnetic poles could sudden “flip.” Conspiracy theorist contend that NASA is a part of an elaborate cover-up designed to prevent panic.
In Russia, people in Omutninsk, in Kirov region, were rushing out to buy up kerosene and supplies following the publication of a newspaper article that was supposedly written by a Tibetan monk and confirms the end of the world. In Novokuznetsk, there was a run on salt and in Barnaui, which is close to the Altai Mountains, buyers bought up all the torches and Thermos flasks.
The panic in Russia even prompted prime minister Dmitry Medvedev to address the situation, commenting:
“I don’t believe in the end of the world. At least, not this year.”
In the French Pyrenees, the mayor of Bugarach has attempted to stop chaos from ensuing by banning UFO watchers and light aircraft from the flat-topped mount Pic de Bugarach. According to new age stories, this is the location of an “alien garage” where extraterrestrials are waiting to abandon Earth, and will take a few lucky humans along with them.
In China, a country that has no history of a preoccupation with the end of the world, panic has also broken out. Here, however, the paranoia can be traced to the 2009 film “2012” which starred John Cusack and was a hit in China. In the film, the Chinese military built arcs to save humanity. Panic buying was reported in Sichuan province after a post on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, predicted that there would be three days of darkness when the apocalypse arrives. Police in Shanghai also report that scam artists have been targeting the elderly to hand over their savings in one final act of charity before the end of the world.
In Mexico, however, where the ancient Mayan civilization once flourished, it’s a decidedly different atmosphere. Mexico has organized hundreds of Maya themed events, and tourism in the country is expected to have doubled this year. Mayans themselves reject any notion that the world will actually end, instead explaining the end of the Long Count calendar as simply the end of one cycle, and the start of a new one.