Well, some people think that will happen but I remain a bit suspicious this won't happen. After all, people have been predicting the end of the world on various dates for centuries and, so far, all have been wrong.
The present-day Mayans don't even expect a day of doom. They simply believe December 21, 2012 will be the beginning of a new, and better, era of enlightenment. However, many psychics, religious leaders, authors, and others continue to claim they have knowledge of the date the world will end. Looking back through history shows dozens of such predictions. Here are a few:
Self-proclaimed Baptist preacher William Miller, leader of the Millerite movement of the 1840s in upstate New York, attracted as many as 100,000 followers. Miller boldly predicted that Christ would return and engulf the world in fire some time between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. When that didn't happen, he changed the date to October 22. When the second date also proved to be inaccurate, most of Miller's followers disbanded and returned to their original churches. Some of his followers later created the 7th Day Adventist Church.As for me, I am delaying payment of my monthly bills until December 22, "just in case." On the 21st, I expect to re-read my copy of Chicken Little's story.
The Jehovah's Witnesses believed that 1914 would be the year of the Second Coming, when Christ would free the world from Satan's domination through national governments. Charles Taze Russell, founder of the movement, had predicted Christ's invisible return in 1874, followed by his Second Coming in 1914, which would mark the end of "the time of the Gentiles." In 1884 he founded the Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society, which produced books and pamphlets explaining his system.
Charles Manson predicted that an apocalyptic race war would occur in 1969 and ordered the Tate-LaBianca murders in an attempt to bring it about.
Pat Robertson once predicted that the end of the world was coming in October or November 1982.
Noah Hutchings, president of the Southwest Radio Church suggested that the Rapture would take place "possibly in 1987 or 1988."
Edgar C. Whisenant predicted in his book 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be in 1988 that the Rapture of the Christian Church would occur between 11 and 13 September 1988. After his September predictions failed to come true, Whisenant revised his prediction date to October 3. He later changed the prediction again to September 30, 1989. He dropped from sight shortly after that last date and apparently made no further predictions.
Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam declared that the Gulf War of 1991 would be the "War of Armageddon which is the final war."
Marshall Applewhite, leader of the Heaven's Gate cult, claimed that a spacecraft was trailing the Comet Hale-Bopp and argued that suicide was "the only way to evacuate this Earth" so that the cult members' souls could board the supposed craft and be taken to another "level of existence above human". Applewhite and 38 of his followers committed mass suicide on March 26, 1997.
Charles Berlitz, well known for the Berlitz method of teaching new languages, predicted the world would end in 1999. He did not predict how it would occur, stating it may involve nuclear devastation, asteroid impact, polar shift or other earth changes.
Nostradamus predicted the "King of Terror" would come from the sky in "1999 and seven months." This has since been interpreted as meaning July of 1999.
The psychic known as "The Amazing Criswell" predicted the end of the world would occur on August 18, 1999.
Many religious leaders, including Jerry Falwell, predicted the world would end on January 1, 2000, the date of "Y2K." Psychic Edgar Cayce predicted the Second Coming would occur sometime in the year 2000. Isaac Newton predicted that Christ's Millennium would begin in the year 2000 in his book Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John.
A Japanese cult, Aum Shinrikyo, predicted the world would be destroyed by a nuclear war between October 30 and November 29, 2003.
In his 1990 book, The New Millennium, religious leader Pat Robertson suggests April 29, 2007 would be the day of Earth's destruction.
Harold Camping is an American Christian radio broadcaster with a large following on Family Radio, a network of religious radio stations. He reportedly raised millions of dollars in contributions from believers. He owned 55 radio stations himself and his recorded programs were also broadcast on other stations as well. Camping is famous for using numerology in his interpretations of Bible passages, resulting in multiple failed predictions of dates for the End Times. He first predicted that the Rapture and devastating earthquakes would occur on May 21, 2011 with God taking approximately 3% of the world's population into Heaven. When nothing happened on that date, he changed his prediction to October 21, 2011. Again, nothing happened and Camping has now retired and has almost disappeared from public view. His radio stations continue to broadcast predictions of the end of the word occurring "real soon now."
You can learn a lot more about the history of apocalypticism on the PBS web site at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/apocalypse/.