…or is it?  The world is abuzz with theories of impending doom scheduled for December 21, 2012.  Schoolchildren are expressing fear to their teachers and doomsday preppers have spent tens of thousands of dollars stockpiling supplies and fortifying shelters in anticipation of an apocalyptic event.  So what’s going to happen, and why would it?
Believers cite countless ways they think the world is gonna end in a couple weeks.  Their theories come from countless sources. I thought it’d be a good idea to take a look at them and see if we should all  be running scared.

Mayan Prophecy

The most commonly cited reference to the world (or world as we know it) ending specifically on Dec. 21 comes form the ancient Mayan calendar.  The Mayans were a civilization that lived in Central America from about  250 to 900 AD and were very advanced for their time in the fields of astronomy and mathematics.  Their record keeping was ahead of it’s time.  They developed an intricate system for keeping track of time.  For a more thorough explanation than I can offer, follow this link.
The Mayan doomsday “prophecy” comes from a stone carving found in Guatemala.  They actually used several different calenders to keep track of time, and the all coincided with one another like interlocking gears.  The calendar that kept track of the longest period of time was called the Long Count Calendar, which lasted for a period of 5,125.36 and they called a Great Cycle.  The current Great Cycle comes to an end on Dec. 21 which happens to coincide with the winter solstice.  According to some on this day an alignment between the sun and the center of the Milky Way will also occur. While many have interpreted this to mean the end of the world, Mayan scholars and natives believe that the Great Cycle will end quietly, with the next Great Cycle simply starting.  They view it as a super New Year’s-like time for celebration. In actuality the Mayan calendar does not run out on Dec. 21, as references by them have been found to dates all the way through 4772 A.D.  The fact of the matter is there is no actual prophecy, just an ancient calendar that seems to rollover at it’s end like the mileage on your car and begin anew.


Another popular source for the belief that the end is near is from the 16th century French seer Michel de Nostradamus.  A little research tells us that while he did write quite a bit about the end of the world, he didn’t specifically predict a date.  Actually, he didn’t SPECIFICALLY predict anything.  Nostradamus wrote his predictions in poetic lines of four called quatrains.  The ambiguous prophecies have been interpreted as having predicting everything from the rise of Hitler and the Third Reich to the 9/11 attacks. 
In his writings Nostradamus predicted that three different Antichrists would each take us closer to the destruction of the world, with the 3rd one heralding the actual end.  Nostradamus scholars contend that the first two have already came, the first being Napoleon and the second being Hitler.  They are on the lookout for the third and everyone from Sadam Hussein and Osama bin Laden to Barack Obama have been contenders for the title.  He even gives us a name for him, Mabus.  They claim he spoke of Hitler by name too, citing a reference to “Hister.”  Close enough? Who knows.  What we do know is that the prophecies of Nostradamus in no way says the world is going to end on Dec. 21.
WebBot predictions
The WebBot program was developed in the 1990s to predict stock market trends.  The software monitors keywords mentioned all over the internet.  The program’s creators, Clif High and George Ure, soon began to claim their program could actually predict the future.  They claim a world-changing event was predicted for 2001, and the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks would seem to match up to this.  Since then they’ve claimed it’s predicted events ranging from Hurricane Katrina to Dick Cheney accidentally shooting his hunting buddy.  

The bots seem to predict a cataclysmic event for our Dec. 21 date.  Claims are made that after the date there is simply no more information.  As the program monitors internet chatter, could it be possible that all the hype over Dec. 21 could be responsible?  The problem with the WebBot program is that all of their claims of predictions weren’t made until after the fact.  When they tell us beforehand that a major disaster is going to occur and it actually does, I may start to put some store in it.

Planet X Collision

Some fringe astronomers believe that a previously hidden planet, known as Planet X or Niburu is on a direct collision course with the earth and the impact is scheduled for, when else, Dec. 21.  The Planet X hypothesis goes back to the mid 20th century.  Astronomers were having problems accounting for discrepancies in the orbits of Neptune and Pluto, and theorized that there could be a previously undiscovered planet to blame.  Turns out they were overestimating Neptune’s mass.   
Nancy Leider founded the website ZetaTalk and based on the Planet X theory predicted the end of the world in 2003. When that date came and went with no apocalypse she changed her prediction to coincide with the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar.

Geomagnetic Reversal

Others believe the end of the world will come as a result of a shifting in the earth’s magnetic poles.  Scientists agree that the poles WILL shift, but assure that it is a process that happens over thousands of years and has no effect on humans.  This last happened 780,000 years ago.  Experts agree that it is impossible to predict changes in the earth’s magnetic field and that it is impossible for the earth to reverse its rotation.
Solar Flares
When none of the above possible doomsday scenarios convince them, some doomsdayers look to solar flares as bringing an end to the world.  It is true that the sun operates on a 11-year cycle and 2012 is when its at its solar maximum.  Some believe this means that a huge solar flare unlike any we’ve ever seen will occur causing unparalleled havoc and possibly the end.  It is true that in 1859  a strong solar flare caused telegraph wires to short out.  Other solar storms in 1989 and 2003 caused failures in the power grid for large sections of the US and Canada.  Solar flares have been happening forever and scientists say the worst that could happen as a result of a particularly powerful one is an interruption in satellites orbiting the earth.  

Hopi Blue Star Prophecy

The Hopi Indians have a 9-step prophecy that seems to almost be at it’s conclusion.  It states that the world (as we know it) will end when the 9 prophecies have been fulfilled and the Hopi people will be transported to other planets in ships without wings.  While open to interpretation, a lot of people agree that it would seem that at least 8 of the prophecies have already come to pass.

The first one involves men who strike their enemies with thunder.  This has been interpreted as guns coming to America.  Secondly, they would witness spinning wheels filled with voices.  Most agree this refers to the covered wagons that transported settlers across the country.  Third is the introduction of strange beasts like buffalo but with long horns.  This could be the introduction of longhorn cattle into the land the Hopi’s called home.  The fourth prophecy says the land will be crisscrossed by snakes of iron.  This could be the railroads that were laid across the country.  The fifth one talks about a giant spider’s web covering the land.  This has been interpreted as both telephone lines and the internet.  Sixth is that the land will be crisscrossed by rivers of stone that make pictures in the sun.  Is this paved roads and the mirage effects?  The seventh prophecy says that the sea will turn black and many living things will die.  This has been interpreted as oil spills in the waters surrounding the US.  The eighth prophecy is the least convincing for me personally.  It says that youth will wear their hair long like the Hopi people and come to learn their ways.  Some believe this represents the hippie movement of the 1960s. 

The ninth and final prophecy that marks the end of the world happens when you hear of a dwelling place in the heavens that will appear as a blue star.  It will fall with a great crash and very soon after the ceremonies of the Hopi will cease.  The prophecy goes on to say that the world will rock to and fro (recent earthquakes here in Appalachia and Japan?), and the white people will battle against those in other lands who possessed the first knowledge (war in the middle east?).  

What will you be doing on December 21?  I can’t wait to see the social network status’ of everyone, some sure the end is coming and others berating them for it.  After diving in and finding out as much as I could about various doomsday scenarios, I now feel relatively safer.  However, I don’t think few drinks would hurt anything.  Should the world (or world as we know it) come to an end, I suppose the medicine show will too.  Barring an apocalypse, we’ll be bringing you more so stay tuned!!!

To make yourself feel safer, visit this link to read about other end of the world prophecies that didn't come to pass.