Oct. 28: Today is the end of the world, stupid! – Bryony Gordon

All things going to plan, to[day] will be the end of the world. As the “plan” was set out by some looney tune who lives in a Swedish backwater, I wouldn’t count on it. But just in case Carl Johan Calleman has somehow alighted on the truth, I should at least mention his claims so that you can’t say I didn’t warn you (not that you’ll be able to say anything at all, it being the end of the world).

Carl Johan CallemanCalleman believes that the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar is October 28, 2011, and not, as was previously thought, December next year. If you are wondering what on earth – or any other planet, for that matter – qualifies Calleman to make such assertions, then let me enlighten you: in the Nineties, he quit his job as a scientist to concentrate full-time on solving the “age-old thought structures” of the Maya people.

“It seemed to me,” says Calleman on his website, “that it would be of greater value to humanity if I could solve the Mayan calendar, than if I could solve the riddle of cancer.”

I feel a tad sorry for the Mesoamerican Maya, an advanced civilisation who have, in recent years, been made to look as if they couldn’t organise a party in a brewery (or perhaps they could – they’d just send out invites for the wrong date).

Anyway, Calleman – who says that nobody can “sweep the end date question under the rug… with their intellectual integrity intact” – would perhaps like to hook up with Harold Camping, the American evangelist who preached to the world this year that Judgment Day was on May 21, with the Rapture promised for last Friday.

It was Camping’s third (failed) prediction. As a result, he is said to have retired. But he – we – should not be so downhearted. The Rapture Index is aHarold Camping: Bible failed, prediction failed! website which describes itself as a “Dow Jones Industrial Average of end-time activity” that “could act as a precursor to the Rapture”. It currently stands at 181, just three points below the record high recorded in August.

So concerned are some that the end is nigh, they are paying Eternal Earth-Bound Pets to look after the animals they leave behind when they’re taken up. Things possibly being a little tricky on Earth after the Rapture, I wonder how the new owners will find the time to walk the dog or feed the cat.

The trouble I have believing anyone who predicts the end of the world is that they are always a) wrong and b) deluded megalomaniacs. They think their presence at the apocalypse will make them somehow special, when in all likelihood it will just make them dead. Disappointingly, I predict that the only things we will see the end of in the next year or so are The X Factor and Silvio Berlusconi’s career. Otherwise, we’ll just keep plodding along. Sadly, the end is most probably not nigh. – The Telegraph, London, 28 Oct. 2011

Harold Camping

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