End of the World Predictions: Myth or Final Countdown?

FRESNO, Calif.

The latest doomsday prediction has something bad happening on December 21st, the date the calendar created by the Mayans ends it's 12th 400 hundred year cycle, or baktun, and starts the 14th.

Astronomer Carloyn Summers knows how the Mayans followed the sun, stars and planets and says many Mayans consider the start of a new baktun as a time to party.

"Some Maya feel the end of a baktun is the end of time," Summers said. "But most treat it as a celebration, like we do, celebrate the rolling over of the calendar."

Her museum in Houston is using the attention about the Mayans to host a special display about their culture.

So where did the doom and gloom come from?

We'll, numbers seem to scare folks. The year 1000 was an expected doomsday, just like 2000 was. But most doomsday predictions have come from religious beliefs.

From the first century to the present day, disciples, monks, popes, astrologers, prophets, preachers and televangelists have been setting dates for the end of time, which never came.

Oakland radio Minister Harold Camping picked several dates... in 2010 he told us what he expected on May 21st of 2011.

"There's gonna be a great earthquake such as never been," Camping said. "It will open up the tombs of the dead all over the world."

Camping and many other Christians based their failed predictions on the last book of the New Testament. Revelations.

Professor Honora Chapman chairs the honor program at Fresno State and teaches the book as part of a class on ancient Greek literature.

"It's a very satisfying text and at the end of time those believers in Jesus Christ will ascend to heaven and live eternity in happiness and those who were the forces of evil will perish in the lake of fire, so you've got a satisfying end to an incredibly vivid account of these dreams and nightmares."

Chapman notes the book was written in response to the war between the Jews and the Romans, but the message continues to find an audience.

"Every time people suffer a horrible war and horrible loss they look to revelation for consolation because the book offers hope about eternal life," Chapman said.

It's not just the bible or the Mayan calendar that some see forecasts of the end. Doug Huffman sees it in the headlines.

Huffman said, "I can tell you better be prepared for a financial reset this country has not seen before that's gonna happen here it is starting now it's gonna happen in 13, no later than 2014."

Doug is being prepared by being self-sufficient. Raising chickens, rabbits pigs and turkeys, storing grains and vegetables underground, and getting plenty of target practice to protect it all from those who aren't prepared.

Doug runs Sierra Survival and makes a living teaching others to get ready, for whatever comes along.

"So, your options are hoping somebody else comes along to take care of you, or if you guarantee it by getting ready right now," Doug said.

Whatever your beliefs, remember, no one has gotten their doomsday predictions right so far. But just in case, some last minute advice.

"Those who believe the end of time is coming they are prepared because they've read their scripture and they believe Jesus is coming," Chapman said. "That's one way to live."

Huffman added, "Get yourself prepared now because nobody's going to help you."

"So you can make up your own mind," Summers said. "Is it the end, or a night to go out and celebrate."

December 21st, 2012, will it be a time to celebrate, or pray. Or will it be, just another day.

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