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The 2012 prophesies: Fact or fantasy?

By Jonathan Fox
March 22, 2012

Doomsday is a strong word. Merely uttering it aloud conjures up all sorts of scenarios in one’s head, but ultimately it leads to the same conclusion. No matter how you slice it, and regardless of the language, dictionaries around the globe agree that doomsday is defined as “the last day of the world’s existence.”

The 2012 phenomenon started innocently enough, half way ‘round the world, comprising a wide range of beliefs according to which “transformative events will occur on December 21st, 2012. This date is regarded as the end of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count (Mayan) Calendar. Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae have been proposed as pertaining to this date, though none have been accepted by mainstream scholarship” (www.wikipedia.org).

And yet, the prophesy has gathered steam over recent years, cresting in popularity just as 2011 drew to a close, as millions gathered around their television sets, while literally billions of internet searches were conducted during the same period. A devotee of all things that go bump in the night, I also found myself drawn to the subject matter, and avidly looking for information, real or imagined—while constantly scanning the nighttime skies for signs of planetary mayhem.

The media has spared no expense in its devotion to the subject. The History Channel (www.history.com) has aired several hours, including “Decoding the Past,” “Last Days on Earth,” and “Nostradamus—2012.” Not to be outdone, the Discovery Channel (www.discovery.com) produced “2012 Apocalypse,” which suggested that earthquakes, magnetic storms, solar flares and volcanic eruptions could be triggered by dates predicted (if not misunderstood) by the Mayans. I watched them all, eating it up with a spoon.