There has been many end of the World prophecies. Most famous is probably Nostradamus who divided his time between growing rich inventing fake plague prevention pills and predicting the end of the World.
Ironically, his wife and children all died from the Plague later so although nobody would take his medicinal advice very seriously, many do take heed of his 'The End is Nigh' prophecies even if they have to rewrite them every time we wake up the morning after and find ourselves still here.
Now thanks to the film, 2012, we can prepare ourselves for the end because as the trailer's voice over solemnly instructs 'mankind's earliest civilisation warned us this day would come'.
The theory that we may as well cancel any plans for Christmas 2012 comes from the discovery that according to a partially deciphered, and half missing, hieroglyohic, Mayan calendars, things come to an abrupt end in 2012.
The bit of the inscription left foretells the descent to earth of the God Bolon Yokte on the Long Count date of 184.108.40.206.0 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk'u which is interpreted as December 21st or 23rd, 2012.
The next part which describes what this Yokte fellow will do when he gets here has been destroyed, but since this is a deity associated with war, who plays a key role in the ending of one world and the beginning of the next, most analysts have assumed it didn't outline a plan for the handing out of cuddly toys.
Coupling the story of Maya with its intriguing sudden collapse and strange prophecies written in an ancient language is guaranteed to catch our imagination but don't worry if the 2012 date for the end of the world by the headless poultry waving Deity pictured above isn't convenient for you because Pope Leo XI in 1514 predicted it will end in 2014 and he was a Pope so he must have had inside information so you still have plenty of time to buy up tins of beans, torch batteries and anti-plague pills for that underground shelter.