THE hour of the apocalypse came quietly and went the same way — leaving those who believed that Saturday evening would mark the world’s end confused, or more faithful, or just philosophical.
Believers had spent months warning the world of the pending cataclysm. Some had given away earthly belongings. Others took long journeys to be with loved ones.
And there were those who drained their savings accounts.
All were responding to the May 21 doomsday message by Harold Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer who has built a multi-million-dollar Christian media empire that publicises his apocalyptic prediction.
“I had some scepticism but I was trying to push the scepticism away because I believe in God,” said Keith Bauer — who hopped in his minivan in Maryland and drove his family 3,000 miles to California for the Rapture.
“I was hoping for it because I think heaven would be a lot better than this earth,” said Bauer, a tractor-trailer driver.
Camping had been projecting the apocalyptic prediction for years far and wide via broadcasts and websites.
In New York’s Times Square, Robert Fitzpatrick, of Staten Island, said he was surprised when nothing happened. He had spent his own money to put up advertising about the end of the world.
“I can’t tell you what I feel right now,” he said, surrounded by tourists. “Obviously, I haven’t understood it correctly because we’re still here.”
Many followers said the delay was a further test from God to persevere in their faith.
The internet was alive with discussion, humorous or not, about the end of the world and its failure to occur on cue. Many tweets declared shared, tongue-in-cheek, their relief at not having to do weekend chores or take a shower.
The top trends on Twitter at midday included, at No 1, “endofworldconfessions,” followed by “myraptureplaylist”.
Camping has preached that some 200 million people would be saved, and that those left behind would die in a series of scourges visiting Earth until the globe is consumed by a fireball on October 21.
Camping has been unavailable for comment since Saturday evening.
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