Gabriel Romero, a Los-Angeles based practitioner of crystal skull channeling, was so sure it wasn’t the end of the world that he planned a welcome ceremony for the new age at dawn on Saturday, when he would erect a stele, a stone monument used by the Mayans to commemorate important dates or events.
The Maya, who invented an amazingly accurate calendar almost 2,000 years ago, measured time in 394-year periods known as baktuns. Some anthropologists believe the 13th baktun ends Dec. 21. Still, archaeologists have uncovered Mayan glyphs that refer to dates far, far in the future, long beyond Dec. 21.
Yucatan Gov. Rolando Zapata, whose state is home to Mexico’s largest Mayan population and has benefited from a boom in tourism, said he, too, felt the good vibes.
‘‘We believe that the beginning of a new baktun means the beginning of a new era, and we’re receiving it with great optimism,’’ Zapata said.
He said thousands of tourists and spiritualists are expected for Friday’s once-in-5,125-years event. ‘‘All the flights to the city are completely full,’’ Zapata said.
The Yucatan state government has even invited a scientist to speak about the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, to debunk the idea it could produce world-ending rogue particles, a concept popularized by author Steve Alten in his recent book ‘‘Phobos, Mayan Fear.’’
Alten suggests the rogue particles — ‘‘tiny black holes’’ — could unleash earthquakes that might cause a huge tsunami, but acknowledges that linking such events to Dec. 21 ‘‘is author’s license.’’
‘‘It’s science fiction theory, I'm a science fiction writer,’’ he told The Associated Press.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, however, has listed a number of odd subatomic phenomena — ‘‘magnetic monopoles,’’ ‘'vacuum bubbles’’ and ‘‘strangelets’’ — that could play a role in the next apocalypse scare.
All of it amused Deyanira de Alvarez, a tourist from Mexico City, as she snapped a photo of the countdown clock mounted in the Merida international airport showing just over two days left to ‘‘the galactic alignment.’’
‘‘My grandmother says that people have been talking about (the world ending) ever since she was a little girl,’’ De Alvarez said. ‘‘And look, grandma is still here.’’