All the hype about the Mayan End of the World is causing real fear, particularly in children.
In May, a 16-year-old UK girl by the name of Isabel Taylor hanged herself after she’d done extensive research on the Internet about Doomsday predictions, and convinced herself the world would end in 2012. According to her friend, Taylor had become obsessed with the world ending—constantly making comments to friends and family about a nuclear disaster caused by sunspots resulting in a reaction so big as to end the world.
According to the 200 inhabitants of a small town in France called Pic de Bugarach, 20,000 people have descended on their hamlet to wait out and possibly save themselves from the impending doom. At 1,230 meters (or 4,035 feet), it’s the highest peak in the Corbieres mountain range, and many believe that like Mount Sinai, it possesses mystical energies and magnetic waves. Many of the pilgrims or “New Agers” believe that on December 21st, aliens will come to the mountain and rescue them, taking them to the place of the “new age or era”. The French government is concerned that if nothing happens on the day, there could be mass suicides.
John Kenhe, web developer of the site December 21, 2012, a doomsday clearinghouse of sorts, says the site he created in 2005 wasn’t meant to scare people but be a place for all opinions. Although Kenhe is an admitted “prepper” —someone who is prepared for a disaster with food, water, and gas masks located in a bunker under his house— he doesn’t believe the world will end on 12/21.
“Whether we can witness it or not, something will happen on that day. No one can know for sure what will happen. I tell my kids there will be a Christmas this year. I feel positive that we’re headed for a more enlightened way of living on the planet,” Kehne says.
“When children are afraid or anxious by this doomsday stuff, it’s because they lack adult figures in their lives who aren’t reassuring them they’re safe,” said Dr. Saurabh Gupta, a researcher in the department of Psychiatry at UCSD. “Emotional safety is created by adults for children, kids can’t be held responsible for making themselves feel worry free—it’s not their job.”