Bugarach, a tiny farming village in the southwest of France, sits at the foot of Pic de Bugarach — the highest mountain in the Corbières wine-growing area. In many ways it is the quintessential French village, as and such has always seen its share of tourists looking for a quiet, ‘typically French’ holiday.
But in recent years the village, population: 200, has been inundated with New Agers and other gullible visitors who are convinced that it is the only place on Earth to be spared total destruction in December 2012.
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.
people had been coming to the village for the past 10 years or so in search of alien life following a post in an UFO review by a local man, who has since died.
“He claimed he had seen aliens and heard the humming of their spacecraft under the mountain,” he said.
The mayor also said that
online UFO websites, many in the US, [advise] people to seek shelter in Bugarach as the countdown to Armageddon commences.
“Many come and pray on the mountainside. I’ve even seen one man doing some ritual totally nude up there,” said Mr Delord.
Sigrid Benard, who runs the Maison de la Nature guesthouse, said UFO tourists were taking over. “At first, my clientele was 72 per cent ramblers. Today, I have 68 per cent ‘esoteric visitors’,” he said.
Several “Ufologists” have bought up properties in the small hamlet of Le Linas, in the mountain’s shadow for “extortionate” prices, and locals have complained they are being priced out of the market. Strange sect-like courses are held for up to €800 a week.
“For this price, you are introduced to a guru, made to go on a procession, offered a christening and other rubbish, all payable in cash,” said Mr Delord.
French officials have banned access to the Pic de Bugarach to avoid a rush of New Age fanatics, sightseers and, above all, journalists.
A hundred police and firefighters will also control approaches to the tiny village of the same name at the foot of the mountain, and if too many people turn up, they will block access there too.
— Religion News (@religionnews) December 3, 2012