A mountain in the south west of France has been closed off to the public following reports it is the safest place to be tomorrow when the world will supposedly end.
Rumours have been circulating for years about what has become known colloquially as "Doomsday Mountain", an isolated peak above the Bucharach Valley between Perpignan and Carcasonne.
Speculation that the mountain's caverns were connected with the centre of the Earth and that a community of aliens lives buried in its bowels, poised to help humans waiting for them on December 21, has already brought an estimated 20,000 believers to the tiny village.
The Mayan prophecy predicts December 21 as the day the world will cease to exist.
But the mayor of Bucharach, Jean-Pierre DeLord, doesn't point to the indigenous Americans for the story.
"There are groups who have latched on to this," he told Public Radio International.
"And believe that one of the only places on earth to be saved is here on the Bugarach Peak."
People have been showing up at the spot throughout the year, he said, some dressed all in white.
They had been carrying out ceremonies on the peak, said DeLord.
France correspondent Catherine Field said locals were getting fed up with tourists and journalists coming to see the mountain.
"Apparently this mountain, it will open up and aliens will emerge with their spaceships and they'll save whatever human beings are in that area at that time.'"
The mountain will reopen on December 22.
- Newstalk ZB with nzherald.co.nz