Bugarach – The Upside Down Mountain

As I write this post I realize that it will be already obsolete in 3 months, that it, if we – the earth inhabitants – are going to survive the fateful date of December 21, 1012.
If indeed the end of the Mayan calendar means the end of the world – as the New Age believers that flock to Bugarach think – then well, at least we have been there!
Taken at its face value Bugarach is a quiet charming little village at the feet of the peak with the same name, in heart of the Corbières region.
The Bugarach Mountain – that with its 1231 meters height dominates the region – is believed by some geologists to be an “upside down” mountain, which means that millions of years ago, at the time of the Pyreneean chain formation, a powerful explosion propelled its tip that landed afterwards the wrong way up.
The calcareous mountain with its uncounted number of caves, some of them not even yet explored, is also believed to have been the inspiration of Jules Verne’s books “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” and “Clovis Dardentor” where one of the characters is called Captain Bugarch.
The myth of the esoteric mountain resurfaced more recently in the ’60 when a certain Daniel Bettex started exploring the numerous cavities and, it seems, found a strange graffiti looking like the “Ark of the Testimony” – the chest containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments are inscribed – on a stretcher as well as the beginning of downward tunnel whose entrance was destroyed apparently intentionally.
In his correspondence with his friends Bettex reveled that he believed that he found in fact a road to a mysterious underground world.
Whatever the truth of his findings Bettex died one day unexpectedly in Bugarach.
Some other folk tales have the peak as a UFO landing patch, the place where the equally mysterious priest Saunier from the near by Rennes-le-Chateau village hid his treasure, a former nazi secret military base or, simpler, a point with a strong magnetic field that planes avoid (statement denied by the Civil Aviation Board)
These days the legends surrounding the mountain are again in overdrive with the arrival of the December 21, 2012 date when, some believe, Bugarach will be the only place left intact by the Armageddon.
Fact is that not only in the recent years the prices of land and houses have skyrocketed here but the little town of 200 people prepares for the arrival in December of around 100,000 visitors!

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