People described variously as “hippies” and “New Agers” apparently view a mountain in the French Pyrenees as some sort of a refuge from the upcoming apocalypse (you do have that on your calendar, don’t you?).
A rapidly increasing stream of New Age believers – or esoterics, as locals call them – have descended in their camper van-loads on the usually picturesque and tranquil Pyrenean village of Bugarach. They believe that when apocalypse strikes on 21 December this year, the aliens waiting in their spacecraft inside Pic de Bugarach will save all the humans near by and beam them off to the next age.
Of course, no one actually interviews any of them. That would require work, and this is just one Oliver Pickup of The Independent free-associating at his keyboard.
For decades, there has been a belief that Pic de Bugarach, which, at 1,230 metres, is the highest in the Corbières mountain range, possesses an eery power. Often called the “upside-down mountain” – geologists think that it exploded after its formation and the top landed the wrong way up – it is thought to have inspired Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Since the 1960s, it has attracted New Agers, who insist that it emits special magnetic waves.
Let’s see, the travelers in Journey to the Centre of the Earth enter lava tubes in an Icelandic volcano, and Close Encounters is set at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, but hey, when you’re Oliver Pickup, one mountain is as good as the next.
There should be something here for researchers into new religious movements though.