On the lookout for doomsday
Sure, the skies are blue, the air is crisp and the sun is shining bright.
But that doesn't mean that a rogue planet can't suddenly emerge from behind the sun and take out earth like a cheap pinata.
We've been on the lookout for signs of Armageddon here and around the world today as the Mayan calendar spins down to zero.
Reporter Christina Elmore is out in the field right now keeping tabs on the planet's heralded demise.
Other than brisk ticket sales for the upcoming Justin Bieber concert in Columbia, no clear sign has emerged that we have reached the end-days. But stay tuned and we'll keep you updated.
One man's view
The Rev. Peter Edward Lanzillotta, chairman of the Coastal Interfaith Community, wrote book that explored the Mayan calendar and its deeper meanings for the solstice. The book, published last year, is titled “Spirit, Time and The Future.”
Lanzillotta, a West Ashley resident, had this prediction for the day:
“We are going to have a lot of people making an excuse for a party, and we will have a lot of New Agers trying to understand the whole mystery of energy. We will also have a lot of people realize the higher wisdom of tuning into nature and its cycles at any time of the year.”
To learn more about Lanzillotta and his book, visit his website.
NASA manager says no threat exists
CBS News reports that Donald Yeomans, manager of the NASA Near Object Program, has definitively declared that the earth is not coming to an end. “There is no evidence whatsoever for that,” he told the Tiffany network.
Wheeewwww. Let us pause for a collective sigh of relief.
Still, CBS reports, not everyone is buying Yeomans' prediction. Outside Moscow, some people are riding out today in a Cold War-era bunker, about 185 feet underground, at a price equivalent to $1,000 per person, CBS reports.
Not the first to get it wrong
If all the end-of-the-world predictions turn out to be a bust, it certainly wouldn't be the first time.
Geoffrey Braswell, an anthropologist and Mayan scholar at the University of California-San Diego, relayed the story of a national religious movement known as Millerism that predicted doomsday on Oct. 22, 1844. Some followers dumped their belongings and joined many others to wait for the second coming of Christ. It turned out to be a bust, resulting in the event being dubbed “The Great Disappointment,” Braswell said.
Descendants of the Millerites predicted the end of the world at least a half-dozen times after that incident, but we guess you already know how that worked out.
What she's found
Christina stopped by Charleston International Airport to see if anyone was looking to hop a plane to Bugarach, France. That's where a squadron of UFOs is rumored to be docked beneath a mountain peak waiting to spirit the faithful to safety when the world calls it a day. Sounds plausible enough, no?
As of Thursday, media crews reportedly outnumbered pilgrims in the village by about 200 to 1, though a strange man with a large head and pan pipes did show up to offer his take on things.
Christina hasn't found any ticket-holders yet locally but she did overhear a dad reassuring his daughter that the world was going to be around for a while anyway. ”No, no end of the world today. That would have happened a long time ago.”
Earlier, Christina learned that sales of the Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide were a hot item at the Barnes & Noble on Sam Rittenberg. And the Camo Bunker on Rivers Avenue reported an uptick in sales of survival attire.
But Camo Bunker manager Jake Jacobs told her people have come to the shop to prepare for end of the world parties, not the apocalypse.
More from the airport
Christina spoke with Charleston International Airport spokeswoman Becky Beaman, who told her she hasn't heard of many local folks looking to hitch a ride on a UFO in Bugarach. “I don't think Charleston has that many crazies,” Beaman said.
As for Beaman, she's not worried about the end. “We've been so busy, I haven't had time to think about the end of the world,” she said between laughs.
Christina also spoke with Paul and Rachel Bonazzi, who are headed back home to New Jersey for the holidays. Here's a sample of their conversation:
Paul: “I know there are several dates that are supposed to symbolize the end of the world”
Christina: “Did you know one of those dates was today?”
Paul: :What? The world was supposed to end today?”
Christina: “Yes, that's what some say.”
Paul: “No, I didn't know that...Hopefully life carries on.”
Around the world
People around the world drank, prayed, dressed in funny suits and exhibited other odd behavior to mark the end that hasn't come. The Denver Post was kind enough to round up a photo montage of this exquisitely quirky stuff. It can be found here.
Other random thoughts
Local artist Amanda Rose said she's not convinced the world would end today, “but I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried about it.”
It's not zombies or aliens that frighten her, though. “I think the sun would explode and wipe us all out,” Amanda Rose said.
Another guy told Christina he's held back from punching several people in the face, but if the world is going to end he can go ahead and do it. She didn't get his name though, so watch your backs.
Paula Watts said she laughed with her daughter this morning about whether school would be canceled due to the world ending. Watts said she's content with how she's lived her life, and would have no regrets if the world came to an end today.
Besides, Watts said, “Only one person can determine if the world is going to end, and that person is God.”
At The Tattoed Moose in Charleston, patrons and staff were still recovering today from An End of the World Party held the previous night. Event organizer Valerie Hammond quipped that she almost wished for doomsday to avoid cleaning up all spilled glitter that accompanied a midnight balloon drop.
Still the party was a success, from the tarot card readings and cardboard Mayan temple to the fake Jesus who showed up as Friday arrived with the new day.
“Oh my God, it was crazy,” daytime manager Sarah Rozar said. “People drank like there was no tomorrow.”
Follow Christina Elmore on Twitter at @celmorepc