All right everyone: lock up the pregnant women and smash all your pottery. The world is about to end. That is, if you really believe all the hype.
In the type of media stunt that makes Hollywood millions and gives the conspiracy theorists something to shout about, people have been spreading rumors that this planet is nothing more than a ticking time bomb, set to go off on Dec. 21, 2012.
These “experts” are borrowing their predictions from the Mayans. All this reporter asks is that you take a moment to consider the source.
The Mayan calendars can be compared to a large complicated clock. The calendars are not one straight line from a violent beginning to an ominous end. These three calendars are actually interlocking cycles that periodically overlap and reset, like the gears in a clock.
The first calendar was the Tzolkin, or “sacred calendar.” It was comprised of a thirteen-day month (following the cycle of the moon) and a 20-day week.
It would restart every 260 days.
The second was the Mayan agricultural calendar, called the Haab. This calendar was created to keep track of the seasons and solar events. It would be reset every 365 days.
Every 52 years, the two calendars would coincide, and the world would end, or so the Mayans feared.
In order to prepare for that dark event, the Mayans locked up pregnant women to keep them from turning into animals, extinguished all the fires, broke all of their pottery and pinched the children to keep them awake all night and prevent them from turning into mice.
Isn’t it so annoying when your pesky kids keep turning into mice?
They would then follow their priests to the top of a volcano and wait for a sign. When a certain constellation passed through the center of the skies, they breathed a sigh of relief. The gods had spared them for another 52 years.
In celebration, they would perform human sacrifice, taking the heart from a victim’s chest and starting a fire in his rib cage. I kid you not.
However, it is the third Mayan calendar, “The Long Count,” that is causing all the commotion.
The Long Count lasts for approximately 4998 years. The current Long Count began 3114 BCE. You do the math.
The last piece of “evidence” is even less believable than the first.
Monument six is a stone tablet on which the Mayans wrote about something that would happen in 2012. It describes the Mayan god of war and creation coming down to earth and…AND…nothing.
There is a giant crack in the stone the makes the following glyphs illegible. For all we know, the Mayan god of war and creation could be coming down to earth to make a sandwich or catch a few episodes of “The Walking Dead.”
In addition, the Mayans made more predictions far beyond the year 2012. One even describes an event that might occur in 4772.
So, if you still believe that the world is about to end, go climb up a volcano somewhere and wait for a sign.
The rest of us will be inside, maybe wrapping a few last minute Christmas presents, and laughing quietly to ourselves.