Published: November 18, 2009
By Mike Conley | The McDowell News
Will the world come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012?
A new movie now playing in theaters vividly depicts a cataclysmic event that destroys entire countries. The trailer for the movie "2012" urges viewers to "find out the truth."
To help promote the new movie, the studio has created a Web site that is operated by the fictional Institute for Human Continuity. On this fictional but realistic looking Web site, people can register for a lottery number so that they can be among the small group to be rescued from the global destruction.
A NASA official said his agency has received over 1,000 inquiries from people who thought the Web site was genuine. NASA has even gotten emails from teenagers who are contemplating suicide because they don't want to see the world end.
But what is really going on?
What has become known as the 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of different beliefs and proposals, all of which predict that cataclysmic or world-changing events will occur in the year 2012. This could occur on or around Dec. 21, which is said to be the end-date of the 5,125-year-long ancient Mayan calendar.
This idea has been derived from various theories about "ancient astronauts," speculative interpretations of mythology and beliefs in numerology.
Many folks believe that on Dec. 21, 2012, the Earth and its inhabitants will undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation and that 2012 could mark the beginning of a new era of enlightenment or existance.
Others believe that the 2012 year will mark the beginning of the dreaded apocalypse and the world will come to an end. Both ideas have been spread around the world in numerous books, TV documentaries, Web sites and other groups.
Although it is a hot topic now, none of this is new. In 1975, the movie "The Outer Space Connection" was playing in theaters. Narrated by Rod Serling, this documentary dared "to prove the unthinkable. We are not alone in the universe!" The film explored different ideas about how aliens from outer space helped the Egyptians, Mayans and other ancient civilizations build their awesome pyramids and temples. It covered such subjects as UFO sightings and the aura that eminates from people's bodies.
The film also speculated that the Mayans got their long calendar from these extraterrestrials.
In addition, the book version of "The Outer Space Connection" states that aliens would return to Earth on Dec. 24, 2011, a year before the 2012 date. This too is based on the long Mayan calendar.
"The Mayan calendar operates on a 5,000-year cycle," reads one section. "The most recent cycle will end Dec. 24, 2011. We believe that is when the space colonists will return."
I assume that this kind of "return" would not consist of some UFO hovering over a lonely field or road in the middle of the night. This time, the aliens would park their craft in front of the White House or just outside the United Nations building in broad daylight and in front of TV cameras. There would be no doubt about it.
However, various scholars dispute the idea of a worldwide catastrophe happening in 2012 or aliens returning to Earth in 2011. Experts on the Mayan civilization state that the idea of the Mayan calendar ending in 2012 or 2011 is not an accurate version of history. To the modern Mayan people, the year 2012 is largely irrelevant, according to a Web site.
Scientists state that the world will not come to an end in 2012. NASA officials compare the current phenomenon to the fears about Y2K (remember that?). In 1999, many people, even our local officials, were making preparations for what might happen when 1999 switches over to 2000. Nothing dramatic happened then and nothing dramatic should take place in 2012, say scholars and scientists.
Contact Mike Conley at 652-3313, ext. 3422 or e-mail email@example.com.