'Apocalypse' Village to Media: You're the Problem

People in Bugarach can't wait for the 'end of the world' to end

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 24, 2012 4:07 PM CST
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(Newser) – A mysterious online rumor has brought immense fame to a village in France—but for locals and visitors the biggest annoyance seems to be reporters who keep asking about it, the Guardian reports. The sleepy village of Bugarach is known as the one place destined to survive the Mayan "apocalypse" of December 21. Yet the predicted onslaught of tourists, hippies, and doomsayers has never materialized. In their place are TV crews from around the world who ask confused villagers for their opinion on Armageddon. "People who wanted a quiet holiday were put off by the media buzz," sighs the manager of a holiday cottage who dismisses the end times. "The Mayans couldn't even predict their own downfall, could they?"

Ironically many tourists visit the region for other esoteric reasons—like nearby Rennes-Le-Chateau, a medieval sect called the Cathars, and an oddly shaped mountain outside Bugarach that some say is a UFO landing pad. Few villagers seem to believe it, however, and the mayor finds the Mayans to be nothing more than an annoyance: "The Bugarach sign at the entrance to the village has been stolen for the third time—that costs a lot of money, you know," he says. "The village has always attracted people with esoteric beliefs, they were here before and they will come afterwards, but this is something quite different."

The peak of Bugarach, which some say inspired the mountain in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
The peak of Bugarach, which some say inspired the mountain in Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."   (Shutterstock)
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