The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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December 20, 2012

VIDEO | 12/21/12: Doomsday? ... or just another day

(Continued)

JOHNSTOWN —

‘No man knows the day or the hour’

While molten magma, three-story-tall tsunamis and falling space rocks may make a great Steven Spielberg flick, it does little to faze most Johnstowners, who continue to lean on strong faith in these “end times.”

“The Bible says that no man will know ... and that’s what I believe. I have faith,” said Jack Bahorik of Johnstown.

“I think some dude just got bored of filling out the calendar, so he was done,” he said with a laugh.

According to a recently commissioned Reuters poll, only 12 percent of Americans believe the world will end today and 22 percent believe the world will end in our lifetime. Eight percent of people worldwide admitted to feelings of anxiety or fear in relation to the Mayan “prophecy.”

While Brandon Strenko of Lancaster said he was concerned by the dire year-end predictions plastered all over the Web, he said he wasn’t going to quit school, “just in case.”

“With the riots that could happen because of people thinking like this, it could really affect us,” he said.

But wait, haven’t we done this “Judgment Day Jitterbug” once or twice already?

“I’ve lived through three (“end of the world” scenarios) now, so I don’t think the fourth will be any different,” said Bahorik, referencing 1999’s “Y2K” hysteria and Harold Camping’s expensive yet anti-climactic May 2011 prediction.

It seems everyone wants a piece of the 2012 phenomenon. Between The History Channel’s glut of 2012-themed series, which includes “Ancient Aliens” and “Decoding the Past,” and Roland Emmerich’s box office bomb “2012,” there’s plenty of material in the mainstream to thrill audiences. But most feel this pop culture craze also opens the door to rampant sensationalism and far more bad information than good.

“Now that we have the Internet, you can find all kinds of doomsday theories,” said Melody Barkhimer of Johnstown. “There’s one every year. Why’s this one special?”

For at least one local woman, the “ancient astronaut” theory that frames the 2012 mythos bridges the gap between the mystical and the scientific, creating a fresh spiritual worldview centered around a higher cosmic power that isn’t the traditional Judeo-Christian God.

“Something just clicked in my head,” said Karen DiFlauro of Richland Township. “It’s the answer I’ve been looking for all my life. I can’t get enough of it now. It’s just so interesting.”

DiFlauro said she “constantly” watches the educational channels with “ancient astronaut” or 2012-themed programming – The History Channel, Discovery Channel or National Geographic – and subscribes to their premium channel offerings as well.

“I hope this all happens before I die – I just want to know that I’m right,” she said.

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