French cult predicts end of the world December 21, 2012

The London Daily News/June 16, 2011

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 is full 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 that it 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.

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