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.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself with remarkable success
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
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

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower