Apocalypse soon: For some, ancient Mayan calculations indicate the world will end on December 21, 2012
If the world ends on December 21, blame a German butterfingers who dropped a volcanic rock skull once owned by SS overlord Heinrich Himmler in his laboratory this week.
According to legend, the Mayan skull, which was stolen from Tibet by the Nazis and imbued for believers with magical powers to enable mankind to survive an apocalypse, fell and chipped during a photo shoot.
For some, this is a catastrophe that foretells the end of the world, but others advise us to keep calm and carry on.
'It was probably put down somewhere a bit wobbly,' an eyewitness told a German newspaper.
'Suddenly it crashed to the floor. A big piece broke off the chin. It's really tragic.'
Thomas Ritter, an historian who owns the skull, said it was given to him by the family of a former British soldier present at the 1945 arrest of Himmler, who ran the Gestapo, the SS and the extermination programme which murdered six million Jews.
He added that he believed its accident wouldn't 'anger the Gods' and that the world will still be turning on December 22.
The skull is 1,000 years old and one of the legendary Mayan skulls that belonged to the lost, ancient race of Mexico, which were said to be infused with magical powers.
The 3lb skull is made of volcanic rock and, according to Ritter, was seized by SS men sent on an expedition to Tibet between 1937 and 1939 to look for the lost city of Shangri-La.
Ritter said: 'The Nazis were convinced that 13 such skulls existed and that whoever owned them would have control of the world.'
Himmler died on May 23, 1945 using a poison capsule hidden in his mouth to take his life.
MANY CONVINCED THE END IS NIGH
Some interpretations of the ancient Mayan calendar point to December 21, 2012 as the end of the world.
Mexico's tourism agency expects to draw 52 million visitors this year to the five states richest in Mayan heritage to see sights such as the Pyramid of Kukulcan in Chichen Itza (pictured above).
Other theorists have found evidence of a 2012 apocalypse in the Bible or the prophesies of Nostradamus.
The hamlet of Bugarach, in the south of France, has attracted the attention of a government watchdog monitoring cults and suspicious spiritual activities.
Bugarach - and the rocky outcrop of Pic de Bugarach - have had an influx of New Age visitors who believe it is the only place in the world which will survive an apocalypse.