Don't come to my village for
the end of the world, says mayor
Henry Samuel, The Daily Telegraph; With Files
From News Services
The mayor of a French village has threatened
to call in the army to seal it off from an influx
of New Age fanatics and UFO watchers, who are
convinced it is the only place on Earth that
will be spared Armageddon in 2012.
Bugarach, population 189, is a peaceful, picturesque
farming community in the Aude region of southwestern
France and sits at the foot of the Pic de Bugarach,
the highest mountain in the Corbieres wine-growing
But in the past few months, the quiet village
has been inundated by groups of esoteric outsiders
who believe the peak is an "alien garage".
According to them, extraterrestrials are quietly
waiting in a massive cavity beneath the rock
for the world to end, at which point they will
leave, taking, it is hoped, a lucky few humans
Most believe Armageddon will take place on December
21 2012, the end date of the ancient Maya calendar,
at which point they predict human civilization
will come to an end. Another favourite date mentioned
is December 12 2012. They see Bugarach as one
of perhaps several "sacred mountains" that
will be sheltered from the cataclysm.
"This is no laughing matter," Jean-Pierre
Delord, the mayor, told The Daily Telegraph.
"If tomorrow 10,000 people turn up, as
a village of 200 people we will not be able to
cope. I have informed the regional authorities
of our concerns and want the army to be at hand
if necessary come December 2012."
Mr Delord said people had been coming to the
village for the past 10 years or so in search
of alien life following a post in an UFO review
by a local man, who has since died. "He
claimed he had seen aliens and heard the humming
of their spacecraft under the mountain," he
The Internet abounds with tales of the late
President Francois Mitterrand being heliported
on to the peak and mysterious digs conducted
by the Nazis and later Mossad, the Israeli secret
Recently, however, interest in the site had
skyrocketed, said the mayor, with online UFO
websites advising people to seek shelter in Bugarach
as the countdown to Armageddon commences.
Sigrid Benard, who runs a local guesthouse,
said UFO tourists were taking over. "At
first, my clientele was 72 per cent ramblers.
Today, I have 68 per cent 'esoteric visitors'," he
Several "Ufologists" have bought properties
in the hamlet of Le Linas, in the mountain's
shadow, for "extortionate" prices and
locals have complained they are being priced
out of the market. Strange sect-like courses
are held for up to euros 800 a week. "For
this price, you are introduced to a guru, made
to go on a procession, offered a christening
and other rubbish, all payable in cash," said
Valerie Austin, who is originally from Newcastle
upon Tyne but settled in Bugarach 22 years ago,
said the alien watchers were spoiling the village
"You can't go for a peaceful walk any more.
It's a beautiful area, but now you find people
chanting and lying around meditating."
Although she described the alien claims as "total
rubbish", she said there was nevertheless "something
special" about the area.
"It has a magnetic force in the scientific
sense of the word. There is a special feeling
here, but if I really believed the world were
about to end, I'd have a whale of a time over
the next two years rather than look for salvation," she
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