A French Government agency is preparing itself
for mass suicides ahead of an Armageddon scenario
predicted by a cult that the world "is to
end on 21 December 2012". Miviludes the
French government agency that monitors cults
and suspicious spiritual activities has said
that France is at risk of mass suicides by converts
of prophesies of "imminent Armageddon".
The prediction that the world will end in 2012
has been made according to various cults who
follow the Mayan calendar which reaches 5,000
years at the end of 2012.
The French government is particularly worried
about this "apocalyptic scenario" unfolding
around France, with a rush of converts travelling
to Bugarach a town on a hilltop in the southwest
of France, that will survive according to rumours
on the internet.
Bugarach and its rocky outcrop, the Pic de Bugarach,
have attracted an influx of New Age visitors
in recent months, pushing up real estate values
and also raising the threat of financial scams
and psychological manipulation, according the
French government agency Miviludes.
Bugarach, with a population
of just 200, has long been considered magical,
partly due to what locals claim is an "upside-down
mountain" where the top layers of rock
are older than the lower ones. The Internet
rumours and myths about the place, that the
mountain is surrounded by a magnetic force,
that it is
the site of a concealed alien base, or even
contains an underground access to another world.
And now many have seized on it as the ultimate
refuge with Doomsday rapidly approaching.
"I think we need to be careful. We shouldn't
get paranoid, but when you see what happened
at Waco in the United States, we know this kind
of thinking can influence vulnerable people," Miviludes
president Georges Fenech told Reuters.
The Apocalyptic scenario is spreading across
France with a "mood of gloom" that
is engulfing the French. Opinion polls in France
regularly show the French as one of the most
pessimistic in the world, with the latest Fondapol
Foundation showing that 17 per cent of those
between 16 and 29 think "the outlook is
promising". In contrast in Britain 34 per
cent believed the future was promising.