Mayan apocalypse 21/12/12: 'The planets are aligned the sun will activate, let the deluge come'

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

An end-of-the-world party in Moscow was charging $1,000 for entry. Still, you can’t take it with you

If you are reading this after 11.12am, it’s likely that committed apocalypse theorists are now feeling rather silly.

Click here to view preparations for the end of days around the world

With any luck, the world hasn’t ended  – as some believe the Mayans predicted for today – and aliens haven’t emerged from space ships inside a French mountain to beam locals to safety.

Scientists have done their best over the past week to reassure us that the end was far from nigh, but last night a small number of survivalists and doomsday cultists prepared to take their final stands in forests and on mountain tops around the world.

The latest outpouring of apocalyptic angst mixed with fatalism and dark humour has been fuelled by internet rumours of interplanetary catastrophe and atavistic concerns that a milestone in the 5,000-year-old Mayan Long Count calendar meant 21 December 2012 would be the earth’s last.

But in some parts of the world the desire to believe the worst was proving unstoppable. In China the authorities arrested 1,000 members of an end-of-the-world cult called Almighty God which was predicting a global checkout later today. The crackdown came after weeks in which members had clashed with police across seven provinces following calls to rise up against the Communist Party.

In Russia, where a 24-hour party was being held in a Cold War-era nuclear bunker for Muscovites willing to spend $1,000 on a ticket, President Putin reassured the public that they had at least 4.5 billion years left before the sun ran out of fuel and destroyed the solar system.  And even this was not a source of concern. “Why be afraid if it’s inevitable,” he told reporters.

At Bugarach in southern France, where it was rumoured that aliens would land on the “sacred mountain” to save humans from the conflagration, the local mayor urged people to stay away. But while doomsdayists heeded his pleas, the village found itself overrun by 250 journalists who had been despatched from across the world to cover the “story” at first hand. In Argentina the authorities closed off a section of the Sierras Chicas mountain range in Cordoba fearing mass suicide attempts there following a Facebook posting.

Doomsday believers had been making their way to the Turkish village of Sirince, after claims that it would be the only place to be spared. Meanwhile, Dutchman Pieter Frank van der Meer made headlines around the world after converting a former lifeboat into an “ark” for 50 friends and relatives. Yesterday he was bracing himself for the flood. “The planets are aligned that day. That is unique. On that day, energy will be released and the sun will activate. A large solar flare can cause a tsunami or a second deluge,” he said.

But although the website Slooh.com said it would be live-streaming feeds from its telescopes in the Cayman Islands and Arizona just in case, Nasa scientists said there was no need for alarm. The agency was inundated with calls as the doomsday rumour took grip and the final day approached.

It has produced a four-minute video entitled Why The World Didn’t End Yesterday which has been viewed five million times. Spokesman Dwayne Brown said among the inquiries were callers saying they had “embraced it so much” that they wanted to hurt themselves. “We’re doing all that we can do to let the world know that as far as Nasa and science goes, 21 December will be another day,” he said. Elsewhere in the United States survival stores reported a surge in the sale of gas masks, duct tape and ready-to-eat-meals.

In London the end of the world offered the opportunity to party with a series of events, including a show at the Hammersmith Apollo by comedian Robin Ince and cosmologist Professor Brian Cox. All 3,600 tickets have already sold out. Druids said they expected larger crowds than normal at the annual winter solstice event at Stonehenge.

Mexico, home to important Mayan relics, welcomed new-agers who were gathering to proclaim not the end but a “new dawn”. Experts have pointed out that the Mayas measured time in 394-year periods known as baktuns. And while the 13th baktun concludes today, archaeologists have uncovered glyphs that refer to dates far into the future.

The country’s self-styled brujo mayor, or chief soothsayer, Antonio Vazquez Alba, however, warned of mass psychosis, stampedes or even mass suicides: “The best thing is to stay at home, at work, in school, and at some point do a relaxation exercise.”

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
filmsOculus Rift offers breathtakingly realistic simulation of zero gravity
News
news
News
peopleCampaign 'to help protect young people across the world'
Life and Style
tech

News
people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

News
i100
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: English Teachers with QTS nee...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + ?110 - 130: Randstad Education Reading: English Teacher ...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker