The mayor of Bugarach, Jean-Pierre Delord, poses at the village entrance. Image Sources: Time / Pascal Pavani / AFP / Getty Images.
Time recently reported that a viral Web rumour claims that after the theoretical end of the world, or apocalypse, on 21 December 2012, the only place left standing will be the mountain village of Bugarach in France:
The tourists in the area have shifted radically in character from what locals call 'ramblers' to 'esoteric visitors,' many of whom occupy space around the town, chanting and meditating. The mayor has threatened to call in the army to protect Bugarach (population 200) through the last two weeks of 2012, in case 10,000+ people show up. The town has a long, peculiar history in this regard.Hundreds of websites are claiming that after an apocalypse on December 21, 2012, only the small village of Bugarach, at the foot of this rocky citadel, will be left standing. ... Apart from the free publicity, one of the first effects of the end-of-the-world prediction was a boost to the village's real estate market. "Fifteen houses are currently for sale. I have been mayor of Bugarach for 34 years, and I have never seen this before," says Jean-Pierre Delord. The prices asked are four to five times higher than usual.
The mountain inspired the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). Image Source: The Picture Show.
There are mysterious claims that aliens inhabit the miles of limestone and salt caves deep inside the 'magic mountain.' The mountain also harbours a huge underground river that is unexplored. Nostradamus reportedly found the region harboured 'positive vibrations.' Authors who wrote about the peak include: Maurice Leblanc, Gaston Leroux, George Sand, Andre Malraux, Louis Fédié, Henri Boudet, Daniel Réju, Serge Hutin, Luc Alberny - and Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, who coined the opening line, "It was a dark and stormy night." Jules Verne is suspected to have imagined the entrance to the centre of the Earth at the mountain. The Nazis conducted strange digs there during World War II. Rumours swirl that former President Mitterand was heliported to the Pic de Bugarach to examine the location, and that it has been visited by Mossad experts. The area's Cathar castles are suspected of being the hiding places of the Holy Grail or the Templars' treasures. The peak, perceived as an 'upside down mountain,' was a Hippie attraction in the 1960s and 1970s; it remains an attraction for the New Age movement. The mountain and town apparently inspired Steven Spielberg to make his movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. According to Wiki, France's sect watchdog, Miviludes, is scrutinizing the area to guard against mass suicides in 2012. Other reports: here, here, here, here and here.