French village bemused by Apocalyptic strangers
By Nicolas Fichot
BUGARACH, France (Reuters) - Residents of the tiny southern French hamlet of Bugarach, population 194, are up in arms at a rising influx of Doomsday believers convinced it is the only place that will survive judgement day in 2012.
Apocalypse devotees dressed in white are now a familiar sight in this picturesque village, drawn here by various New Age theories including claims that a nearby rocky outcrop, the Pic de Bugarach, harbours an alien technical base.
"These blasted prophets from all over the world have turned our mountain into some sort of UFO garage," Jean-Pierre Delord, mayor of Bugarach, told Reuters.
"You may think it's funny, but they're deadly serious... The end result is that all these fanatics are coming here to hide out," he said.
The Internet is awash with predictions that the world will come to an end next year, based in part on an interpretation of the ancient Mayan calendar which claims December 21, 2012, marks the end of the current era.
Surrounded in legend for centuries, Bugarach has become a focal point for many Apocalypse believers as rumours have circulated that its mountain contains doors into other worlds, or that extraterrestrials will return here on Judgement day to take refuge at their base.
"The aliens will get here soon, we need to prepare for their arrival," said 42-year-old Kean, who travelled here from the Netherlands to witness the return of the otherworldly beings.
Dressed in a white tunic symbolising the purity of his quest, he had just finished telling three new arrivals they would be building a bread oven at the settlement, and that those participating would get a 50 percent discount on their stay. Continued...