Residents of a tiny French village say it is being overwhelmed by outsiders who are intrigued by reports of aliens in the area and believe that the peak looming above may be a sacred mountain that will be a shelter at the end of human civilization.
Villagers in Bugarach, population 189, told The Daily Telegraph these visitors believe that the end of the world corresponds with the conclusion of the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21, 2012, and that the Pic de Bugarach, highest mountain in the Corbieres wine region, could provide some sort of sanctuary.
Mayor Jean-Pierre Delord told the Telegraph he's asked regional authorities to provide military assistance if the numbers of visitors become unsupportable.
Only on NBCNews.com
- From belief to betrayal: How America fell for Armstrong
- US to Syria neighbors: Be ready to act on WMDs
- China: One-child policy is here to stay
- New 'Practice Range' shooter game says it’s from NRA
- 'Gifted' priest indicted in crystal meth case
- China's state media admits to air pollution crisis
- French to send 1,000 more troops to Mali
Delord said people had been coming to the village for the past 10 years or so after a UFO report by a local man who has since died.
"He claimed he had seen aliens and heard the humming of their spacecraft under the mountain," he said.
Now, villagers told the newspaper, some visitors believe that extraterrestials are waiting in a massive cavity under the rock and might take a few lucky people with them when the world ends.
The Telegraph said there were tales of the late President François Mitterrand being heliported onto the peak, of mysterious digs by the Nazis and later Mossad, the Israeli secret service.
The peak was said have been inspiration for Jules Verne's book "A Journey to the Center of the Earth" and Steven Spielberg's film "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."
Now, locals complained to the paper, "ufologists" are driving up property prices and bringing other unwanted changes to the place.
"Many come and pray on the mountainside. I've even seen one man doing some ritual totally nude up there," Mayor Delord said.
"I'm worried because the population of our village is only 200 people and... we risk having a flood from all the corners of the earth," he told RTL radio, BBC News reported.
© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints