Ten percent of the global population believed that the world would end on December 21, 2012. But people have believed that the world was going to end before. What causes these apocalyptic crazes and what allows them to spread beyond the fringes of society? What role does popular religion play in creating or spreading apocalyptic hysteria? How do these prophets of doom react when the world still exists past its predicted date of expiration? What about the people who believed them? This paper examines historical instances of apocalyptic predictions, how these predictions were formed out of or shaped by popular religion, as well as the reactions \u2014 both internal and external \u2014 of those who either predicted or believed that the end was near. After building this historical context, I turn my focus to the pop culture phenomenon that is the end of the Mayan Calendar. I attempt to understand and explain what aspects of the current social, religious, and psychological climate have contributed to the cultural ubiquity of and fascination with the December 21, 2012 apocalypse, and what the date actually meant to the Classical Maya. Finally, I examine the existential, religious, and cultural factors that make Americans in particular so ready and willing to believe that the end of the earth is imminent.