MARCH 26 2012 02:09h

Hundred await apocalypse in French village

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BUGARACH, France, March 25 (UPI) -- Hundred of hippies have made their way to the French village of Bugarach to await aliens they say will emerge from inside a mountain when apocalypse strikes.

About 200 New Age believers have taken up residency at the base of the Pic de Bugarach mountain, The Independent reported Sunday.

Upward of 100,000 people are expected to visit the mountain before Dec. 21 when the group believes the world will come to an end. Already this year, about 20,000 people have made their way to the peak -- about twice the number of hikers all of last year.

The group believes that on its date for the apocalypse, aliens with come out of the mountain and take with them any nearby humans.

"The apocalypse we believe in is the end of a certain world and the beginning of another," said a man called Jean, who has lived in a wooded area near the forest for several years.

"A new spiritual world. The year 2012 is the end of a cycle of suffering. Bugarach is one of the major chakras [energy centers] of the Earth, a place devoted to welcoming the energies of tomorrow."

Bugarach Mayor Jean-Pierre Delord has alerted national authorities of the situation in fear of a mass suicide.

"We've seen a huge rise in visitors. Already this year more than 20,000 people have climbed right to the top and last year we had 10,000 hikers, which was a significant rise on the previous 12 months. They think Pic de Bugarach is 'un garage a ovnis' [an alien garage]. The villagers are exasperated: the exaggerated importance of something which they see as completely removed from reality is bewildering. After Dec. 21, this will surely return to normal," he said.