Category: Media & Culture / December 19, 2012 4:29 PM EST
Days before the world is allegedly coming to an end on December 21, the Austrian manufacturer of bunkers and foods which last up to 20 years said his business had not increased.
Worldwide media attention to theories on doomsday is based on the Mayan calendar but experts who want to dispel any belief that the ancient Mayans predicted a world apocalypse say the end of time is still far off.
The Mayan calendar marks the end of a 5,126 year old cycle around December 12, 2012 which should bring the return of Bolon Yokte, a Mayan god associated with war and creation.
Karl Hillinger manages a company named "Seba selb shtutz centrum Selbstschutzzentrum (Seba self protection centre) in the Austrian town of Gmunden, some 80 km from Salzburg.
His company specializes in bunkers and long lasting foods which can be stored for up to 20 years, Hillinger said.
"If someone calls us to order food parcels I don't ask them why they are ordering them. However, there are people calling who ask us whether the shipment will reach them by the 21st or 22nd (of December) once we tell them that there is a delivery time of between two and three weeks."
"So with them, we know what the background is," Hillinger said in reference to the doomsday theories.
Hillinger too owns a bunker in his house, a converted wine cellar.
Germany's Society for Scientific Research on Para Science (GWUP), also known as "the sceptics," criticized the "panic spreading" in regard to doomsday.
Book author Bernd Harder has worked on supernatural and mysterious topics for 20 years and said "during times like these, wheeler-dealers pop up and sell people the means against fear."
"That's a very old pattern: first you create fear, then you sell the goods such as bunkers, amulets, horoscopes or survival guides."
"Luckily, I think the majority of the population does not believe in the end of the world. Rather, my impression is that people look towards this date with a kind of party atmosphere," Harder said who wrote "2012 - How I learned to love the end of the world."
In the eastern German city of Dresden in the state of Saxony, the state library boasts what it says is the "oldest Maya book of the highest quality."
The library's spokesperson Katrin Nitzschke quite simply said "you can definitely not find the end of the world in the calendar."
"We know that December 21 is an important date for the Mayans, especially this year because one period -- a Baktun -- ends and a new one begins. Why so many people fear the end of the world, I don't know," said Nitzschke, smiling.
In the Mayan calendar, the long calendar count begins in 3,114 BC and is divided into roughly 394-year periods called Baktuns. Mayans held the number 13 sacred and the 13th Baktun ends this year.