EDMOND — An Edmond woman is planning what could be the birthday party of a lifetime.
Felicite Moorman will turn 39 Friday — a day that might be her last, according to various predictions based on the ancient Mayan calendar.
Moorman said she's not worried, though.
In fact, she's planning to have a great time at a big bash her friends are throwing for her called “The End of the World (And Felicite's Best Birthday Party Ever!)”
“Obviously, none of us put any weight in the prophecy, but it's an excellent excuse for a party,” she said, and laughed.
For the past several years, doomsday predictions have focused on Dec. 21, 2012 — the day the ancient Mayans' Long Count calendar ends. Because the Mayans were known for their timekeeping, some people have said they were foretelling the end of the world.
Some think the Mayans might have been privy to knowledge about impending astronomical disasters that would coincide with 2012, ranging from storms on the surface of the sun that could knock out power grids to a galactic alignment that could trigger a reversal in Earth's magnetic field.
Websites, social media, cable TV shows and science fiction movies such as “2012” have helped fuel the hoopla about the end-times prophecy. Astronomers and biblical prophecy experts, even NASA, have tried to debunk the predictions.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the space agency has been flooded with calls and emails from people asking about the purported end of the world.
Dwayne Brown, an agency spokesman, told the Times NASA typically receives about 90 calls or emails per week.
In recent weeks, he said, 200 to 300 people per day have been asking about the end of the world.
Two Oklahoma observers said the Mayan prophecy has no merit.
The Rev. Mark Hitchcock, a biblical prophecy expert and author of the books “2012: The Bible and the End of the Word” and “The End: A Complete Overview of Biblical Prophecy and the End of Days” said the Mayans knew a lot about time and astronomy but they didn't know the future.
“Only God knows the future,” said Hitchcock, senior pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond.
Hitchcock said people ask him questions because he did extensive research on the Mayan calendar for his book “2012.” On Friday, he said, the day the Mayan cyclic calendar ends, the sun and the Earth will be directly aligned with the center of the equator of the galaxy for the first time in 26,000 years.
“So, the center of our galaxy and the sun and the Earth will be lined up, which means on that day, supposedly, the energy that comes from the center of our galaxy will be interrupted to the Earth because the sun will be in the way.” He said people have predicted that natural disasters will result.
Wayne Harris-Wyrick, director of the Kirkpatrick Planetarium at Science Museum Oklahoma, said he gets peppered every day with questions.
He said he is unsure how people have made the jump from the carved-stone calendar's end to the end-of-the-world prophecy.
“It's simply a gross exaggeration or it's just plain wrong,” Harris-Wyrick said.
Harris-Wyrick said people have told him they heard that there will be an alignment of the sun with the center of the Milky Way galaxy which will cause the end of the world. He also said he has heard the Mayan doomsday prophecy connected to a predicted alignment of planets.
Harris-Wyrick said the prediction that the world will end when the sun aligns with the Milky Way galaxy is interesting. He said there is a time when the sun is closest to the galaxy's equator or aligned but it happens every year — not on Dec. 21 but about Dec. 19.
He said, historically, the sun goes through an 11-year cycle when solar storms could cause overload of electrical circuits and grids on Earth. He said this is called “solar max” but it is about two years away and many things have been done to prevent problems with electrical grids.
Harris-Wyrick said planets never line up in the sense that they are going to be in a straight line. He said what will happen is Venus, Mercury and Saturn will form, more or less, a line at sunrise, but it is a line when viewed from Earth, not an actual alignment.
Harris-Wyrick said historical records indicate the Mayans themselves did not predict the end of the world when one of their Long Count calendars ended. Instead, they viewed the calendar's end as a time of renewal.
“From their point of view, it wasn't an end, it was a beginning, so I've never understood why people thought was going to be an apocalypse,” Harris-Wyrick said.
Hitchcock said he encourages people to look to the Bible for answers and God does not reveal the date for the end of the world. “I think part of the reason for that is He wants us always to be ready,” he said.
Moorman said her friends and family members have been teasing her for about two years now about her birthday coinciding with “doomsday.”
She said she has taken it in stride and sees some good in it even if the world were to end on her birthday.
“If it happens, I never turn 40,” she said.