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December 22, 2010 10:21 AM   Subscribe

Deep in Cathar country lies Bugarach and it's Magic Mountain. As reported in UK Daily Telegraph, The mayor of the picturesque French village has threatened to call in the army to seal it off from a tide of New Age fanatics and UFO watchers, who are convinced it is the only place on Earth to be spared Armageddon in 2012.
posted by adamvasco (25 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I like to think this is the Cathars getting their revenge for being wiped out cause they had all the really good land and wouldn't share it with the church.
posted by The Whelk at 10:23 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Money quote, from a Bugarach inkeeper:

"At first, my clientele was 72 per cent ramblers. Today, I have 68 per cent 'esoteric visitors'."
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 10:24 AM on December 22, 2010


You don't need an army to protect yourself from New Agers.

A dozen 12 year olds with sticks should do the trick.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 10:28 AM on December 22, 2010


A homeopathic army works even better and costs less because the fewer guns you own the more effective it is.
posted by DU at 10:30 AM on December 22, 2010 [19 favorites]


"Homeopathic supervillain puts nothing in town water supply."
posted by mhoye at 10:32 AM on December 22, 2010 [34 favorites]


"At first, my clientele was 72 per cent ramblers. Today, I have 68 per cent 'esoteric visitors'."

I'd like to see the guest book there. "Reason for visit? Rambling"
posted by adamdschneider at 10:33 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder:

-whether they self-identified as ramblers, and as esoteric visitors, or whether the inkeeper identified them as ramblers / esoteric visitors.

-whether, if the latter, the inkeeper has started misidentifying ramblers as esoteric visitors since he found out about this 2012 thing, and whether he misidentified previous esoteric visitors as ramblers.

-whether there's really that clear of a distinction between ramblers and esoteric visitors.

-whether some of the ramblers were themselves aliens.

-whether his inn has 25 rooms.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 10:37 AM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm guessing 99% of his esoteric visitors (and maybe 10% of his ramblers) are Americans.
posted by DU at 10:39 AM on December 22, 2010


Call in the army? Why can't you just make your fortune selling overpriced tat to tourists, like every other town with 15 minutes of fame?
posted by -harlequin- at 10:49 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Made of limestone with galleries of caves beneath it, the peak is a geological oddity, since its top layers are millions of years older than its bottom ones, making it an "upside down mountain". How'd that happen? Oh Aliens of course... But seriously I'd be interested to know how that happened.
posted by Capricorn13 at 10:54 AM on December 22, 2010


> I'm guessing 99% of his esoteric visitors (and maybe 10% of his ramblers) are Americans.

Yes, but how many are Rambler Americans?
posted by mmrtnt at 10:55 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


So southern France is where Europe's version of Sedona, Arizona is located? Why am I somehow not surprised.

I lived in Sedona for about 2 years in the mid-90s. Such a strange place. The old-timers mixing with the artist colonials mixing with the new agers mixing with the rich hollywood types... I've never seen so many groups intent on bending the character of a town in their favor and everyone hoping to be the last one in and to be able to close the gate behind them.

Beautiful place to live, horribly expensive, and way too full of itself.

And yes, there were more than a few days when I would have been glad to see the army arrive to control all the new age types. They were so rich with woo-woo that it was impossible to avoid.

I can only wish Bugarach the best of luck as it takes its turn at being the center of the known universe.
posted by hippybear at 10:57 AM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm guessing 99% of his esoteric visitors (and maybe 10% of his ramblers) are Americans.

Nah. There are lots of places where Americans go for this stuff--Sedona, various magical spots in Mexico and Guatemala--but the Cathar obsession is really part of the European New Age phenomenon.

I bet they're mostly Germans and Swiss.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:05 AM on December 22, 2010


I'd love to go to Cathar country but mostly to visit the historical sites (some of which may also be new age, but hey! castles!). I wonder whether I'd count as a rambler or an esoteric visitor.
posted by immlass at 11:08 AM on December 22, 2010


I wonder whether I'd count as a rambler or an esoteric visitor.

Would you be wearing any crystals?


I have been researching a novel about the Cathars off and on for the last few years, and my encounters with the people who are obsessed with the Cathars not as a fascinating historical moment, but as the Keepers of Great Wisdom and Prophets of the Future, might actually make for the more interesting book.

If I were Jon Ronson instead of me, that is.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:12 AM on December 22, 2010


I'd be interested to know how that happened

I'm not a geologist and I'm sure one will be along shortly, but my guess would be that it's a dormant volcano that never blew, so the chamber underneath grew pushing the top up while adding newer rock below. This may well explain the galleries of caves too.
posted by IanMorr at 11:31 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think his collaboration with aretha franklin produced some of the finest pop music of our time.
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:39 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I drove through Bugarach last year. It's not big. There was a very polite, very French sign asking people to watch for children and slow down, since the only highway is also the main street of the village. The mayor has a point, they really don't have the infrastructure there to handle a crush of people.

Rennes-le-Château is not far to the west, if you want the full web-of-conspiracies experience. If you want impressive architecture, Quéribus is by Cucugnan to the east, it's a marvelous old restored fortification perched on top of a high mountain with great views all around.

And yes, I was the only American around while I was there, but I got to practice my German a lot.
posted by gimonca at 11:40 AM on December 22, 2010


"I like to think this is the Cathars getting their revenge for being wiped out cause they had all the really good land and wouldn't share it with the church Mandalorians."
posted by Rangeboy at 2:54 PM on December 22, 2010


The "magic mountain" looks just like Nutters' Knoll from the Goodies' Close Encounters of the Third Kind parody.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:28 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I were Jon Ronson instead of me, that is.

I assume he's already there, researching.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:36 PM on December 22, 2010


Its gonna be so sweet in 2012 when the world really does end and all you naysayers are gonna have egg on your face...
posted by jcworth at 7:13 PM on December 22, 2010


anyone rambling there for the (verifiable) history or geography gets a pass from being new agey. I adore glastonbury, but I wish all the crystal shops would close, leaving just the medieval ruins, the stunning construction of nature (the Tor) and good fish & chips for me to enjoy.
posted by jb at 8:13 PM on December 22, 2010


I have been researching a novel about the Cathars off and on for the last few years, and my encounters with the people who are obsessed with the Cathars not as a fascinating historical moment, but as the Keepers of Great Wisdom and Prophets of the Future, might actually make for the more interesting book.

Why not do a Michener and intercut between the real Cathars and the obsessives, kind of like The Source?
posted by rodgerd at 11:15 PM on December 22, 2010


Cathars are sort of Northern European Dobri Krisijani, so are there any stecci? Stecci are cool! I brought a tiny one home from Sarajevo.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:01 PM on December 23, 2010


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