Argentine Mountain Closed To Stop Doomsday Suicides

Published: December 20, 2012

Argentine Mountain Closed To Stop Doomsday Suicides, Another sign that folks are taking this Mayan-apocalypse thing way, way too seriously: Argentine officials have shut down access to a famed mountain called Uritorco because of a Facebook message exhorting people to commit “mass spiritual suicide” from its peak on Dec. 21. (Depending on your opinion about Mayan predictions, that day could be referred to as “the end of the world” or just simply “Friday.”) The 6,600-foot peak of Uritorco is a popular tourist destination in that part of Argentina, about 500 miles north of Buenos Aires. Tourism officials are hoping new agers who see Dec. 21 as the beginning of a new era will gather near the mountain to meditate.

As mountaintops go, this one is for meditating. And the odd UFO sighting. But now it is closing for a few days to avert a mass suicide by folks girding for the world’s end.

That doomsday is indeed upon us — with Christmas just around the corner, heaven forbid — is one gloomy interpretation of a Mayan India calendar.

To wit, December 21 marks the end of a 5,200-year cycle on the Mayan “Long Count” calendar. It’s a cause for celebration for many in Mexico and Central America, but spells doomsday for some believers.

In Argentina’s central Cordova province, fallout will be felt at a mountain called Uritorco, which was sacred for indigenous peoples when their numbers were still large in Argentina.

Authorities will shut down access to it from December 20 to 22 because an appeal has gone out on Facebook for people to climb the hill December 21 and commit “massive spiritual suicide,” said Gustavo Sez, mayor of the nearby town of Capilla del Monte. That name means chapel on a hill.

“It was a decision taken by consensus, to pre-empt any distortion of the Mayan prophecy,” he said.

The peak is about 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) high and located in a touristy area 750 kilometers (470 miles) north of Buenos Aires.

Young and not so young people climb up there to meditate and do esoteric stuff. In decades past, UFO sightings from its touchy-feely heights have been reported.

The tourism industry is fuming with the temporary shut down. Hotels and hostels nearby had been expected to house around 15,000 people just before Christmas. Tourism is the main source of revenue in the region.

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