We've all heard of the 2012 end of the world, right? And we all believe that it's just crazy superstition, right? Think again. Maybe, after all this time, the Mayans weren't playing around when they ended their calendar on 21/12/2012. Here's what the people of Washingtonpost.com have to say.

Chapter 1

Is 2012 starting?

by: Nessie_
Dozens dead in Sweden, hundreds washed ashore in New Zealand. Is the world witnessing the end of days or is this just a case of coincidence fueled by wild speculation?

Ever since residents of Beebe, Ark., woke up on New Year's Day to thousands of blackbirds that had dropped mysteriously from the sky, other sudden animal deaths have been reported furiously around the world. In a nearby Arkansas town, thousands of fish washed ashore on Monday. On Tuesday, another 500 blackbirds were found dead in Baton Rouge, La.

Then the story went international. Sweden reported dozens of birds falling out of the sky and New Zealand reported hundreds of dead snapper washing ashore. The Chesapeake Bay has 2 million fish estimated dead. Around 40,000 crabs died on the coast of Kent in Britain.

Dr. Mike, a reader at BlogPost, writes that dead fish have also floated up on the Haiti/Dominican Republic border and in Sydney, Brazil and Wales.

Does this mean the Christian group spreading the word that the end is nigh -- very, very nigh -- is correct? The group's date for Judgment Day: May 21, 2011.

Conspiracy theorists start your engines. Only, first a word of caution:

It seems sudden bird deaths occur more often than one would think. About 500 million to 1 billion birds are killed every year and mass deaths have been noted about 16 times in the past 20 years, the PBS NewsHour reports.

Rather than a divine sign, the cause could be human: fireworks scaring the birds, toxic chemicals killing the fish or powerlines tangling up the birds. There are also reports that some of the deaths could be natural: The Chesapeake Bay carnage might be due to "cold-weather stress," NPR reports. Or the bird deaths could be related to the avian flu recently reported in Japan, as reader Bob worries (Reader Nashvillain suggests everyone go get their flu shot now).

Or is it a self-fulfilling prophecy: when one news report about dead birds becomes big news, a few dead birds anywhere in the world becomes big news.

Or is it? How about some guesses as to the real cause? The Post's Alexandra Petri offers up her opinion: "Angry Birds turns out to be a horrific, Enders Game-esque trick with sobering real-world consequences."

What's yours? Why are the animals dying?


Thousands of animals are dying everywhere, is it 2012 starting? Or natural causes? But, what if, those natural causes are the beginning of the end? Do YOU believe this is it? Or that everyone's a little jumpy with the apocolypse deadline so near? Make your choice now, because, before you know it, 2012 will be upon us, and who knows who's right and who's wrong?


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