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Widespread panic greets purported Mayan Apocalypse

By Greg Goodsell
December 9th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

For some, there is no need to buy Christmas presents this year. This December 21 marks the conclusion of the 5,125-year "Long Count" Mayan calendar. People the world over are stocking up on doomsday supplies as they did in the year 2000. There are reports of panic shopping in China and Russia, along with an explosion in sales of survival shelters in America.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The fact that the Mayans NEVER predicted the end of the world falls on deaf ears to the frightened faithful. As such, the cause of Armageddon remains especially vague. Some predict a celestial collision between Earth and the mythical planet Nibiru, a.k.a. "Planet X."

NASA has been aggressively seeking to dispel doomsday fears. It says there is no evidence Nibiru exists, and rumors it could be hiding behind the sun are unfounded.

"It can't hide behind the sun forever, and we would've seen it years ago," a NASA scientist said.

Other predictions include a crash with a comet or the annihilation of civilization by a giant solar storm.

"We've gone from one a month to one a day," Ron Hubbard, an American manufacturer of hi-tech underground survival shelters. "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."

In the French Pyrenees, in the tiny town of Bugarach, population 179, has attempted to prevent pandemonium by banning UFO watchers and light aircraft from the flat topped mount Pic de Bugarach. According to New Age lore, the area is an "alien garage" where extraterrestrials are waiting to abandon Earth, taking a lucky few humans with them.

In Russia, in Omutninsk, in Kirov region, people are rushing to buy kerosene and supplies after a newspaper article, supposedly written by a Tibetan monk, confirmed the end of the world.

"I don't believe in the end of the world," Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian Prime Minister declared. Then he added, "At least, not this year."

Even in China, which has no history of preoccupation with doomsday, a wave of paranoia about the apocalypse can be traced to the 2009 Hollywood blockbuster "2012." The film was a smash hit in China, as viewers were seduced by a plot that saw the Chinese military building arks to save humanity.

A post on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter, predicted that there will be three days of darkness when the apocalypse arrives. Thusly, a wave of panic buying of candles has been reported in Sichuan province.

"At first, we had no idea why. But then we heard someone muttering about the continuous darkness," one grocery store owner said.

In Mexico, where the ancient Mayan civilization at onetime flourished, the end time has been seen as an opportunity. The country has organized hundreds of Maya-themed events, and tourism is expected to have doubled this year.

While viewed by some as wacky, many are taking the hysteria very seriously.

NASA astronomer David Morrison is among those who are not amused. "At least once a week I get a message from a young person, as young as 11, who says they are ill and/or contemplating suicide because of the coming doomsday. I think its evil for people to propagate rumors on the internet to frighten children."

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