A tiny village in the Pyrenees has been sealed off as police try to prevent an invasion by those seeking salvation from a predicted Doomsday.
The jagged mountain which dwarfs Bugarach is said to contain aliens, who plan to board a spacecraft and flee the Earth before the end of the world.
There are those, admittedly in a minority, who believe the ETs may take some humans for the ride, allowing them to perpetuate humanity.
About 500 gendarmes have blocked roads and paths leading to the mountain to prevent an unsightly, or even dangerous, stampede.
Potholes in the mountain have also been sealed, to prevent anyone trying to find any alien life in its depths.
The mountain has long been imbued with mystical powers, so many in the village are sympathetic to new-age philosophies.
The local baker Dominic Lemmens told : “Many people from this village see something in the sky, but they won’t speak (about it).
“I say, ‘Did you see yesterday the light on the peak,’ He says, ‘No’ – and I see an old guy from the village smile.”
At a local cafe, the owner has stored dozens of clips of UFOs he said were spotted flying to and from the mountain.
Patrice Etienne believes it merits further investigation, but doubts whether today’s prediction has anything to do with an alien shuttle bus.
He told me that the object could even be from another dimension.
“When we see the object go into the mountain it disappears. There is no door, no opening.”
“A lot of people are coming back from the mountain saying they heard strange noises like an earthquake, or they had a problem with their camera or their mobile phone.
“So they don’t know what it is.”
The prediction of the Earth’s imminent demise comes from the end today of the 13th baktun, a period in the Mayan civilisation’s “long calendar”, which lasts 392 solar years.
While some believe it signals a new beginning, others predict it will mean the end of days.
Sharing the same day as the winter solstice has led one in 10 people to worry about some sort of event, according to a Reuters worldwide poll.
In Bugarach they will be pleased when the invasion of accredited journalists finally leaves, whether it be on a plane, a spacecraft, or in a fiery meteor shower.