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Hysteria brought by the account of the end of the world

Don't Play A four-day Uplift festival celebrating the event fell into in complete silence with a mass group meditation. Only the snoring of a young boy and the rain on the roof could be heard in the auditorium. But for those on the brink of the mother of all come-downs, there was an expert on hand certified to administer cheer and first aid: Advertisement It was a remarkably sedate end to the hysteria about the so-called doomsday.

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Despite academics and even NASA dismissing the armageddon, paranoia had been widespread in several communities, and many notably environmentalists, spiritualists and the media flocked to hotspots around the world and to witness the world's end. At Mayan ruins, thousands of mystics, hippies, druids and pagans beat drums and blew conches around ceremonial fires as the sun came up.

Earlier, Oxlaljuj Ajpop, a Mayan activist group in Guatemala, told reporters there that they objected to the commercialisation of the date.

In Mexico, ageing New Agers from the United States, dressed in white and carrying yoga mats, raised their hands into the air at the Mayan pyramid at Chichen Itza, while a dude with dreadlocks played a didgeridoo. Locals cashed in on the hype in Bugarach, in the French Pyrenees - where journalists almost outnumbered villagers - by selling end of the world wine and apocalypse pizza.

A global online conspiracy theory had suggested that the town's mountain was a vast hysteria brought by the account of the end of the world car park for UFOs, but few true believers made it close enough to hitch a ride if the aliens did appear: In Byron Bay, the apocalypse heralded a new era for festival goers, with speakers suggesting we are at the cusp of a ''consciousness revolution''.

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In the preceding hours, speakers including stem cell biologist and New York Times best selling author, Bruce Lipton, Patch Adams, Australia's poetry Slam champion, Luka Lesson and respected Aboriginal elder, Uncle Bob Randall, all called for a change in our current approach - to ourselves and to the earth.

Patch Adams, of movie fame, said people shouldn't feel depressed and powerless in the face of negative world news.

The talks were punctuated with live music and dancing. At 10pm American musician Jonathan Goldman took the stage.

Hysteria, then silence, marked the end of the world

He began by leading a chant, ''connecting through sound'' before guiding the audience into the silent meditation to mark the supposed moment the world, as we know it, would be wiped out. Loading The reflective mood lifted the following morning with the new dawn.

Aboriginal elders performed ceremonies and spoke again about the importance of people coming together to create change. Accompanied by didgeridoos, they then led the crowd in dance, which continued, barefoot on the beach, throughout the morning. The world did not end and people, it seemed, were in the mood to celebrate.