2012 doomsday predictions were irrational fears fueled by certain booksellers, fearmongers, moviemakers and other hucksters to encourage public panic for the purpose of making money. The hoax used dubious claims about astronomy and ancient Mayan calendars to promote nonsensical predictions regarding apocalyptic events supposed to occur on December 21st or 23rd of 2012. Doomsayers suggested there will be destruction caused by global floods, solar flares, exploding sun, reversals of the magnetic field, or planetary collisions. Many people are scared.
The 2012 doomsday pop culture phenomenon was similar in many respects to the "Y2K" phenomenon which marked New Year's Eve in 1999, when the new millennium happened. The hysteria has also been compared to the panic created by Orson Welles radio program War of the Worlds. But the "2012 apocalypse business is booming", according to the Huffington Post. The 2012 doomsday prediction was one more example of a patten repeated over the centuries; for example, Baptist preacher William Miller convinced perhaps a hundred thousand Americans that the second coming of Jesus Christ would happen in 1843; it didn't. Doomsday predictions tend to be within the span of about ten years from the present, according to University of Wisconsin historian Paul Boyer, since the sense of "imminence" and that it will "happen soon" is necessary for these hysterias to catch the public imagination.