As the apocalyptic hour came and went on Saturday (May 21st), hundreds of people Twitpic'd photos of random piles of clothing as proof that 'The Rapture' did indeed occur. They were, of course, joking. But the only people who weren't laughing were the true believers of eccentric California evangelist Harold Camping. Some of Camping's faithful followers lost their life savings believing in the millionaire's faulty prophetic predictions.
The 86-year-old apocalyptic preacher was nowhere to be found at the appointed hour on Saturday. About a hundred reporters gathered outside his home and his Family Radio ministry headquarters, but Camping was ghost (pun intended).
Reporters were lucky to find the few loyal Camping followers who didn't go into hiding after 6 p.m. on Saturday.
So confident was Family Radio special events coordinator Michael Garcia that he spent months travelling the country putting up Judgement Day billboards and handing out Bible tracts warning that the end was near.
In an interview before the arrival of The Rapture, Garcia said:
"We know the end will begin in New Zealand and will follow the sun and roll on from there. 'That's why God raised up all the technology and the satellites so everyone can see it happen at the same time.
Garcia spent the hours before the rapture at home in Alameda, CA with his wife and six children. He now believes the delay was a further test from God to persevere in their faith. "When you say something and it doesn't happen, your pride is what's hurt," he said.
Another dejected believer, 60-year-old ex-MTA worker Robert Fitzpatrick, awaited the start of the Rapture in Times Square with a crowd of reporters and dozens of curious onlookers. Fitzpatrick spent $140,000 of his life savings on subway advertising to warn his fellow New Yorkers of the 2nd coming of Christ.
"I don't understand why nothing has happened," Fitzpatrick said as he gazed at his watch in New York's Times Square just after 6 pm.
"I did what I had to do. I did what the Bible said. I obviously haven't understood it properly, because we're still here," said Fitzpatrick as the growing crowd leaned in and jeered behind him.
Images source: DM