Where to Do Doomsday
The South of France and the Mexican Riviera! Obviously, “we will each be, where we are meant to be, when we need to be” and there will not be a “doomsday” but it’s nice to know some people are thinking ahead anyway. The good news for them is that they only have to pay for a one way ticket!
French Town Overrun With Doomsday Visitors
The picturesque town of Bugarach in southwest France has an unusual tourist problem: More visitors are preoccupied with witnessing UFO’s than soaking up the local culture.
The town of approximately 200 people at the base of the Pic of Bugarach mountain is at the center of a few odd predictions including one that prophesies that aliens will arrive at the mountain on “doomsday,” according to Reuters.
Jean-Pierre Delord, the town mayor, has become uneasy with the influx of visitors especially as he expects the number of visitors to increase exponentially around December 21, which is the date many online conspiracy theorists are predicting the “end of the world.”
“These blasted prophets from all over the world have turned our mountain into some sort of UFO garage,” Delord, who has asked the French army for help, told Reuters last year. “The end result is that all these fanatics are coming here to hide out.”
A report released last summer by Miviludes, the French sect watchdog, explained the potential dangers of “doomsday” groups congregating. The agency is concerned that the groups gathering for “the end of the world,” including those at Bugarach, could be involved in mass suicides.
According to The Independent, up to 100,000 people could visit the site by December 21. However, a few enterprising individuals have found that the end of the world can have a silver lining. American travel agents are offering one-way deals to the site, according The Independent, and a neighboring village has produced a wine for the occasion.
Wow … what’s with this town? What did those Cone Heads always say? “We’re from France.”
Expecting the End of the World? Run for the Hills … In the South of France
Its picturesque surroundings aside, what’s bringing crowds to the French village of Bugarach are rumors that it will survive world destruction. A craze that is pushing up property prices, annoying inhabitants, and worrying the authorities.
Could the idyllic French region of Aude be home to an Apocalypse-free-zone? (Photo by Surimage)
By Angélique Négroni
BUGARACH – On this rainy spring morning, the Pic de Bugarach in southern France is completely shrouded in mist. But though the 1,230 m (4,000 ft) high peak is invisible today, its rugged outline is known all over the world. Hundreds of websites are claiming that after an Apocalypse on December 21, 2012, only the small village of Bugarach, at the foot of this rocky citadel, will be left standing.
Apart from the free publicity, one of the first effects of the end-of-the-world prediction was a boost to the village’s real estate market. “Fifteen houses are currently on sale. I have been mayor of Bugarach for 34 years, and I have never seen this before,” says Jean Pierre Delord. The prices asked are four to five times higher than usual.
Not a day goes by without someone asking for information about Bugarach, located in the county of Aude, and about its capacities for accommodation and supplies. “Everyone knows that there might be snow and freezing temperatures in December, and that sleeping bags might not suffice. So people call us to rent rooms and ask us to stock food for them for the last two weeks of 2012,” says a local saleswoman from behind her stall filled with foie gras and sausages. “We always tell them no,” she says, visibly exasperated by all the “lies” circulating on the Internet.
The mayor of Bugarach is also worried about this planetary publicity, which has been attracting more than the usual number of esoteric workshop organizers (at exorbitant prices), therapists of all types, survivalists counting down the days left to go, or new age followers meditating to connect to the cosmos. Some of them stay in the youth hostel owned by Sigrid. Originally from Paris, she rather approves of the groups who discuss mysterious matters behind the closed doors of the conference room she provides. “They are very nice, calm clients. I have never had any problems with them,” she says.
Dressed in white, these peculiar tourists can be seen strolling around the town or taking refuge in the nearby caves for long contemplative retreats. Some of them gather in supposedly magical sites, and others attempt to climb the Pic de Bugarach. The automatic counters installed in the mountains are showing record numbers of hikers: 10,000 last year, and an estimated 20,000 this year. In some cases, lack of training has proved lethal. Two weeks ago, one of these hikers reached the peak only to succumb to a heart attack. “The end of the world came earlier for him,” says the mayor with a touch of irony.
But Mr Delord does not hide his concern about the possible consequences of his town’s extraordinary renown. Several months ago, he contacted the council, the police and Miviludes (the Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combatting Cultic Deviances), a French government agency that monitors potentially dangerous sects. The town is under guard.
This is because the Apocalyptic prediction is only the latest in a long line of crazy theories about Bugarach. “This place is bubbling with activity!” admits the mayor. It seems there are a hundred reasons to come to this town in the middle of nowhere. Ufologists often visit, convinced that the peak is a garage for UFOs. None has ever sighted a vessel here, but believers say this makes sense because they travel so fast. Other visitors are eager to benefit from the magnetic waves emitted by the “magic mountain,” and find its “vortex,” or the secret passage towards a lost civilization. And yet others come looking for a treasure that an abbot is supposed to have hidden more than a hundred years ago.
Around a year ago, yurts started springing up in the middle of the forest, inhabited by tree huggers wanting to go back to a more community-based way of life through Indian singing and non-violent communication. They don’t think that the end of the world is near… just the end of our world as we know it! Hippie clothes and dreadlocks now mix with perfectly white togas. But Bugarach is also attracting nature lovers who simply come to enjoy the great outdoors, and they have accessories of their own: back-packs and hiking boots.
Read the full article in French.
Photo by Surimage
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For more ...go where the Mayans went ... the Mexican Riveria ...continued: