Once upon a time, people thought December 21, 2012 was The End of the World as We Know It. Silly, right? Well, a surprising number of people took this seriously. Where did this date come from, you ask? Well, let's sort out fact and fiction:
- Myth: The Mayans predicted December 21, 2012 would be the end of the world.
- Fact: Conspiracy theorists pulled a significant date from the Mayan calendar and reappropriated it as the end of the world. The actual Mayans had nothing to do with it. Also, whenever the "Mayan" calendar is shown, expect it to actually be the more visually appealing Aztec calendar.
- Myth: Nostradamus also predicted something would happen in 2012.
- Fact: The only years Nostradamus mentions by name in his quatrains are 1999 and 3797. Of course, he could be talking about 2012 in some of his other quatrains. Or he could not. That's the magic of Nostradamus -- he was so vague that you can interpret him however you like, which is where his "correct" predictions come from.
- Myth: Lots of other ancient civilizations also cited the year 2012.
- Fact: Yeah, no. Conspiracy theorists just took every doomsday prediction under the sun and attached it to December 21, 2012 because why not.
- Nibiru, a.k.a. Planet X: A planet about as real as Tatooine which was supposed to hit the Earth in May of 2003. For some reason, the theory was later dusted off and applied to -- you guessed it -- December 21, 2012.
- Polar shift: Supposedly, the magnetic poles were going to reverse in 2012. Didn't happen and wouldn't have caused disaster if it had.
- Solar flares: Solar flares happen all the time, but obviously solar flares happening on December 21, 2012 would be evil, world-ending, magic solar flares.
- Planetary alignments: When the planets line up, you know it's bad! Except there were no planetary alignments in 2012 and planetary alignments have happened many times before without any effect on the Earth.
- The Rapture: Naturally.
- New World Order: Presumably, the Illuminati thought it would be fun to start their New World Order on December 21, 2012 since people were expecting something to happen anyway.
- Three days of darkness: A theory which got lots of traction in China, leading to huge sales of candles there.
- Pic de Bugarach: A mountain in France associated with UFO's. New Agers flocked to the mountain in December of 2012, believing they would be spared from the apocalypse and also get to reenact Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
- The Roland Emmerich film 2012, of course.
- Various mockbusters ripping off the Roland Emmerich film. The Asylum has created three.
- The Go On episode "The World Ain't Over 'Till It's Over" (aired December 4, 2012) takes place on December 21, 2012. Mr. K believes the world will end, but nothing happens.
- 2 Broke Girls: "And The High Holidays" makes commets referencing this.
- Penn & Teller: Bullshit! tackles this in the episode "The Apocalypse".
- According to The X-Files, December 21, 2012 is the date of a future Alien Invasion.
- A Saturday Night Live skit featured two Mayans showing their newly completed calender to their countrymen. They say the calender ends in 2012 because the world will end, but eventually admit they just ran out of space.
- "A Certain Shade of Green" by Incubus
- "2012 (It Ain't the End)" by Jay Sean
- "Till the World Ends" by Britney Spears (the song doesn't mention 2012, but the official music video does)
- Some comics referenced the supposed doomsday in their strip for December 21, 2012:
- The Shadowrun universe backstory has the fifth (our) world end on December 24th, 2011 according to the Maya calendar, and the sixth world begins, bringing with it magic, dragons, new types of humans that resemble the legendary dwarves, orks, elves and trolls, among others.
- Debunked by SciShow here and here.
- Jib Jab's 2012 year-in-review video is themed around this. It's also briefly mentioned in their 2011 video.
- Spoofed on the 2012 "Treehouse of Terror" episode of The Simpsons.
- On Futurama, a Martian calendar predicts a sunflare that will destroy the planet in 3012. Later it is revealed that the planet in question is Mars, and the calendar was sent to Earth as a warning to not visit Mars, but by then the Earth's people had already relocated to there.
- Some major event has to take place on this date in The Secret World but I am not playing it myself, so I cannot tell you more.
- A bulk of the Assassin's Creed series takes place in 2012, with the Myth Arc concerning the giant solar flare that is supposed to reach Earth and eradicate all life on December 21, 2012.
- Dikembe Mutombo's 4½ Weeks to Save the World centered around Dikembe helping Science the Bear stop possible threats that could end the world and construct a new Mayan Calendar before the old one finishes and the world ends. It was completed on December 20, 2012.
- Oracle of Tao uses this as a checklist. All of the possible occurrences happen in rapid succession as a possible cause for the end of the world.
Textbook:Ancient legends speak of Belial as the cause of the first Earth being destroyed. But I know the real truth.
Ambrosia: Yes, what is it?
Textbook:On Dec 21, 2012, ancient Mayan sorcerers caused a the planets to line up, sending a giant planet to crash into Earth. This powerful ritual combined with the massive collision knocked Earth off its orbit, and caused the poles to shift, causing deadly solar flare radiation. Naturally, this in turn caused The Rapture, as well as three days of darkness, before UFO s came and simply wiped the Earth out of existence.
Ambrosia: Suddenly, I think a demon coming from another dimension and destroying everything before getting sealed away sounds more plausible.
Hello, Unknown Troper. You'll need to get known to lend a hand here.