The villagers at Bugarach, with a population of just over 200, are bewildered at the steady stream of New Agers ("esoterics") arriving daily in vans with camping equipment. The motley collection of esoteric New Age groups converging on Pic de Bugarach all share the belief derived from the Mayan apocalypse theory that the Mesoamerican Long Count calender
predicts, in connection with special astrological alignments, the end of a 5,125-year cycle of history on December 21, 2012.
According to The Inquisitr
, the pilgrims, already over 20,000, believe that when Doomsday comes on December 21, aliens will appear in UFO ships at Pic de Bugarach to rescue all people awaiting them in the area and fly them off safely to a place of dawn of a new age and era. BBC
reports that for years, there have been rumors circulated on Internet that Pic de Bugarach is home to powerful aliens and that on apocalypse day, December 21, the top of the mountain will open and the UFOs will emerge to rescue those gathered in the area.
UFO cults and the mystery of Pic de Bugarach
The Pic de Bugarach
at 1,230 metres, is the highest in the Corbieres mountain range and many believe that mystical forces, energies and powers are resident at the mountain, like the biblical Mount Sinai. According to The Independent
, "New Agers" have been making pilgrimages to the mountain because they believe it has special mystical "magnetic waves." Rumors authenticating the sacredness of the site also claim that the late French president Francois Mitterrand flew to the peak by helicopter. Other rumors claim the Nazis and later Israel's Mossad have carried out mysterious digging rituals at the peak.
The mountain is called the "upside-down mountain"
because, according to geologists, its top layer is an overthrust from the Iberian plate, and is older than the bottom ones. According to French tradition, the mountain inspired Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind
reports that a man called Jean, who set up residence in the forest at the foot of the mountain a few ago, in preparation for the end of the world, said: “The apocalypse we believe in is the end of a certain world and the beginning of another. A new spiritual world. The year 2012 is the end of a cycle of suffering. Bugarach is one of the major chakras of the earth, a place devoted to welcoming the energies of tomorrow.”
French authorities jittery
The local authorities have grown nervous about the goings-on in the area, fearing the possibility of a mass action such as suicide. They have asked the French government to move troops into the area for security. According to The Independent
, more than 100,000 are expected to come to the mountain in time for the 21 December "beaming up" of believers aboard UFOs. BBC
reports that a special parliamentary committee has warned that the sects may commit mass suicides in 2012 if the spaceships do not come to save them. A report alleges some people have bought land in the mountains and are planning to building bunkers where they may survive the expected catastrophe at the end of the world. The Independent
also says there have been reports of strange "rituals" at the site, with "esoterics" climbing to the top of the mountain, some naked, carrying a strange ball with a golden ring strung together by a thread.
reports the local mayor, Jean-Pierre Delord, confirmed that sect members have been ascending the mountain to conduct secret rituals and strange ceremonies in outlandish white outfits. Others have been holding secret meetings in the forest near the village.
reports a wall painting depicting the expectation of the "esoterics" at Bugarach. The painting shows a UFO picking a man off a mountain top.
The mayor says the villagers are worried about these goings-on: “We’ve seen a huge rise in visitors. Already this year more than 20,000 people have climbed right to the top, and last year we had 10,000 hikers, which was a significant rise on the previous 12 months. They think Pic de Bugarach is ‘un garage à ovnis’
[an alien garage]. The villagers are exasperated: the exaggerated importance of something which they see as completely removed from reality is bewildering. After 21 December, this will surely return to normal.”
And of course, entrepreneurs are busy making profits, with American travel agents offering special one-way deals to Armageddon, The Independent