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SALT LAKE CITY — Despite the fact that scientists and political leaders continue to explain the world will not in fact end come Dec. 21, people around the world continue to prepare for the worst, sometimes sparking hysteria and even mass detentions. Though for some, the preparations involve more partying than stockpiling.
Across seven provinces in China, roughly 100 people were detained by Chinese authorities for stoking fears of the oncoming apocalypse supposedly predicted by a version of the Maya calendar, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
They said 37 were members of the "Almighty God" Christian group, also known as Eastern Lightning. The group has been widely described as a cult and has been known to use aggressive tactics in gaining converts, even going so far as to kidnap other Christian leaders. Lately, the group has taken up the Mayan doomsday idea and has been harassing people, according to the Chinese government.
The crackdown may also be related to the group's calls for the downfall of the Chinese Communist Party, which they call the "red dragon."
There was also a tragic incident last week in which a man "psychologically affected" by doomsday predictions injured 22 schoolchildren with a knife in Guangshan county. No children were killed.
In Russia, leaders have called for calm while many Russians have been stockpiling emergency supplies and food. The Guardian reports that the coal-mining town of Novokuznetsk nearly sold out of salt, with about 60 tons bought up in a single week.
Around Russia, citizens have been buying up matches, candles, flashlights and food in an effort to prepare for the end. One can even find doomsday kits which contain food, vodka and other supplies.
One rumor floating around is that the small French village of Bugarach - population 200 - will be one of the few places spared, according to the Telegraph. The mayor of Bugarach has pleaded with people not to come to the town. 150 police will reportedly be there to turn away would-be seekers of sanctuary.
Meanwhile, NASA has been campaigning against the rumors, trying to explain to people that the doomsday predictions didn't even originate with the Maya, as is supposed by most of the rumors. It released a video - intended to be watched on Dec. 22 when the world will remain mostly as it is - explaining the Mayan calendar system and explaining why the world didn't explode or disappear.
Others have been approaching the end of everything that has ever been with a little more humor. Ripley's Odditoriums throughout the world are offering free admission if the world ends. The only stipulations are that to get the discount, you have to prove the world ended. And of course the apocalypse is a downside.
In Salt Lake City, you can cross over into nothingness all to the beats of Snoop Dogg, who will perform Dec. 21 at the Depot. Totem's bar will also host a party, as well as the Deerhunter Pub in Spanish Fork. That's not counting the dozens of private get-togethers happening.
Alex Lindsey, a Salt lake City resident who intends to host a party that night, said she just thought the occasion would be a fun time, but didn't put any stock in the theories.
"I am more or less mocking the swhole scare of the world ending," she said.
But just in case it does, she thinks it will be a fitting end.
"At least we'd be going out having a good time."