11/20/2012 09:08 am ET

Bugarach, French Hamlet, Attracts Believers As Mayan Apocalypse Looms (PHOTOS)

A picture taken on November 4, 2012 shows Bugarach peak (R), the 1,231 meter high culminating point of the Corbieres range in
A picture taken on November 4, 2012 shows Bugarach peak (R), the 1,231 meter high culminating point of the Corbieres range in southwestern France. Some doomsday theories designate Bugarach peak as a sacred mountain that would be spared on December 21, 2012, when the Maya's Long Count calendar marks the end of a 5,126-year era -- a date some say marks the end of the world. Villagers in Bugarach fear an onslaught of visitors, trying to escape apocalypse. AFP PHOTO / ERIC CABANIS (Photo credit should read ERIC CABANIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The small French village of Bugarach, which sits in a particularly scenic and empty corner of the Pyrenees, is becoming a prominent attraction thanks to the calculations of New Agers and UFO chasers, who have concluded that the hamlet will be the only town saved from the destruction that will end the world on December 21 according to the Mayan calendar.

Der Spiegel reports rumors that the aliens dozing in Pic de Bugarach, the 1,230 meter-high mountain just outside of town, will awaken on December 21 and climb into the spaceships they apparently keep in the mountain's many caves. These extra-terrestrials will then save the locals before zipping off toward some less-destroyed planet. This sort of prediction is somewhat unsurprisingly making the town a desirable destination for people who go in for such things, who -- as it turns out -- aren't terribly popular with the locals.

"This is the 183rd end-of-the-world prophecy since antiquity," Bugarach Mayor Pierre Delord told The Guardian. "I can't take the risk of a lot of people coming here, trying to climb the mountain and getting hurt."

In fact, the eccentrics have already begun to arrive. The New York Times interviewed a man name Jean living in a yurt near town who told the paper of record that Bugarach is "one of the major chakras of the earth, a place devoted to welcome the energies of tomorrow."

Though some local businesspeople may not by too put off by the rumored looming influx of visitors, the French Government certainly is. The Mission for the Fight against Sects has been keeping a close eye on Bugarach, according to The Sun, out of concerns surrounding mass suicides and other potential PR disasters.

The British tabloid also reported that after a hippy died climbing the Pic earlier this year, Delord joked to the French media that "the end of the world came a bit earlier for him than he expected."



The Town At The End Of The World