What with the world due to end last week, Friday December 21 was a pretty big deal in the scheme of things.

So didn't we feel silly on December 22 as we sheepishly crawled out of our underground bunkers, took off our tinfoil hats and got on with, well, living.

However, it looks like those pessimistic Mayans may have been a couple of days out on their calculations - for the apocalypse could be occurring on Christmas Eve.

mayan temple

The Mayan calendar's 14th baktun may not be until December 24

Yep, better open those presents early, for German researcher Nikoali Grube tells Spiegel Online that matching up modern calendars with Mayan predictions is not an exact science.

Grube, who is an expert on the interpretation of Mayan artefacts, says the end of the calendar's 14th baktun may not actually be until December 24.

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Nevertheless, Grube emphasizes that whatever the exact date, the end of the baktun -- a period of time lasting 144,000 days -- represents the end of a era, not the end of the world. The change is comparable to the turn of a millennium.

In fact, Grube says, Mayan artefacts include many references to dates that stem far beyond December 2012.

"You find dates in Mayan texts that are thousands or millions of years into the future," he said.

Hope that bunker is still well stocked.

Take a look at some past predictions from around the world here:

1806
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As the Christian Science Monitor reports, the "Prophet Hen of Leeds," a domesticated fowl in England, began laying eggs that bore the message "Christ is coming" in 1806, leading locals to believe the end of the world was upon them.

Charles Mackay's 1841 book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, describes it thus:

"Great numbers visited the spot, and examined these wondrous eggs, convinced that the day of judgment was near at hand. Like sailors in a storm, expecting every instant to go to the bottom, the believers suddenly became religious, prayed violently, and flattered themselves that they repented them of their evil courses. But a plain tale soon put them down, and quenched their religion entirely. Some gentlemen, hearing of the matter, went one fine morning, and caught the poor hen in the act of laying one of her miraculous eggs. They soon ascertained beyond doubt that the egg had been inscribed with some corrosive ink, and cruelly forced up again into the bird's body. At this explanation, those who had prayed, now laughed, and the world wagged as merrily as of yore."
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