Will the world really end on 21 Dec 2012?

Will the world really end on 21 Dec 2012?
November 12, 2009
The Sun

VAST tidal waves swamp cities, raging fires reduce forests to ashes and mankind is forced into the mountains.

The latest heart-stopping disaster movie pulls no punches in its depiction of the end of the world.

But then 2012 is just Hollywood mumbo-jumbo.

Worries ... flick could echo reality
Worries ... flick could
echo reality
© 2009 Columbia TriStar Marketing Group

Or is it?

The film, directed by Roland Emmerich, draws on the fact a calendar devised by the ancient Mayans stops in 2012. Many experts believe the precise date it runs out is December 21.

The Mayans, whose civilisation boomed from 250 to 900AD in Mexico and Guatemala, were noted for being highly advanced in fields including maths, astronomy and architecture.

But while their Long Count calendar stretches all the way back to 3114BC, it ends suddenly late in 2012.

Some claim this means the world will end when the calendar expires while others say it heralds the dawn of a new age - and in the run-up to the movie's launch tomorrow there has been a boom in groups, books and websites focused on the topic.

Disaster ... scene from film
Disaster ... scene from film
© 2009 Columbia TriStar Marketing Group

Retired Texaco worker Roy Lake, 70, from Barking, Essex, became interested in the subject a decade ago after attending a lecture on the Mayan calendar.

Theory ... Roy Lake
Theory ... Roy Lake

He said: "The speaker claimed the Mayans appeared to predict the world ending in 2012, and since then I've been fascinated by that possibility.

"Initially I found the concept alarming. I'm certain audiences of the new 2012 film will be unnerved too.

"The predictions it makes for 2012 are extremely unlikely, but we should keep them in the back of our minds.

"After all, the planet is in dire straits. It seems every week there are stories about tsunamis, earthquakes or forest fires somewhere in the world.

Belief ... Chris Martin
Belief ... Chris Martin

"And as if what's happening to nature isn't bad enough, mankind is also creating unrest through wars and fighting.

"We should take scaremongering with a pinch of salt, but it's a good idea to reflect on what might happen if the predictions did come true - and how we might take action to prevent such an awful fate befalling the planet."

Chris Martin, 49, a cameraman from Bow, East London, hopes 2012 will be a landmark year for humankind.

He said: "I've always had an interest in UFOs and the unexplained but I think it's important to study the facts and keep your feet on the ground.

"There was a Mayan prophet called Pacal Votan who foresaw the human race getting away from natural ways of living.

"Others say an asteroid will wipe us out in 2012. I've researched both theories and there is little evidence for either.

"But I think 2012 could bring a major announcement concerning UFOs and governments' knowledge about them.

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"This interests me more than half-baked theories about death and destruction. Thankfully we don't have long to wait to find out."

Support worker James Basil, 30, from Bristol, is also interested in the ancient Mayan calendar.

But while he believes the world is in peril, he is not convinced the end is two years away.

He said: "I believe we're being prompted to take action. In recent years I've become much more concerned about global warming and my carbon footprint.

"I've watched clips from 2012 and it will worry some.

"I don't think the world will end in two years but we do need to be careful."

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