If you hadn't noticed, the world didn't end Saturday, despite predictions by radio host Harold Camping, who spread the world via a multimillion dollar campaign, funded by donations from other believers. But while many were "celebrating" the Earth's continued existence at "Rapture Parties," for Camping's believers, the noticeable lack of earthquakes, brimstone, famine, and death was deeply disappointing.
In New York, retired transportation agency worker Robert Fitzpatrick, who spent "over $140,000 of his savings on subway posters and outdoor advertisements," stood in Times Square at 6 p.m., Reuters reports.
When the hour came and went, he said: "I do not understand why ...," as his speech broke off and he looked at his watch.
"I do not understand why nothing has happened."
New York Magazine reports the story of Jeff, a Long Island firefighter, who ordered a pizza shortly before 5 p.m. on rush delivery, thinking he might not have time to eat it.
Rosana, Jeff’s wife, who had been out at a friend's birthday party, comes home a little after 6. “What, nothing happened?” she asks with no small amount of contempt.
Meanwhile, Jeff is checking his text messages. “There are a bunch of friends here who are mocking me,” he says. “And that’s all right! I just put on my spiritual shield and endure.”
Keith Bauer hopped in his minivan in Maryland and drove his family 3,000 miles to California for the Rapture, reports the Los Angeles Times.
If it was his last week on Earth, he wanted to see parts of it he'd always heard about but missed, such as the Grand Canyon. With maxed-out credit cards and a growing mountain of bills, he said, the rapture would have been a relief.
Tom Evans, who acted as Camping's PR aide, took his family to Ohio to await the rapture. Early next week, he told the Times, he would be returning to California.
"You can imagine we're pretty disappointed, but the word of God is still true," he said. "We obviously went too far, and that's something we need to learn from."
"As bad as it appears—and there's no getting around it, it is bad, flat-out—I have not found anything close to the faithfulness of Family Radio," he said.
As for Harold Camping, no word has been heard from him. His daughter Sue Espinoza received a call from him Saturday morning, according to the Times.
"He just said, 'I'm a little bewildered that it didn't happen, but it's still May 21 [in the United States],'" Espinoza said, standing in the doorway of her Alameda home. "It's going to be May 21 from now until midnight."
The shades were drawn at his Alameda home and no one answered the door, though neighbors said he was there.
Sheila Doan, 65, who has lived next door to Camping since 1971, said he is a good neighbor and that she is concerned about Camping and his wife, because of the attention his pronouncement has received.
"I'm concerned for them, that somebody would possibly do something stupid, you just don't know in this world what's going to happen," she said.
Camping's believers would do well to follow that piece of advice instead.