Harold Camping, the Family Radio evangelist who wrongly predicted doomsday back in May, thinks the real end of the world could be Friday, October 21, 2011.
But if doomsday doesn’t come today, Camping might explain it away just as he did his May prediction mistake. In another post on his site, Camping wrote that May 21 was the “spiritual” end of the world.
As for the earthquakes he predicted, he says they came in the form of “man-quakes,” since mankind shook with fear from the Rapture and the book of Genesis describes man as made from dirt.
Catherine Wessinger, who studies doomsday groups and is the editor of “The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism,” told NPR that Camping is using a common trick of doomsday leaders.
When his end of the world prediction fails, she says, “the person making the prediction can give themselves a way out, sort of a backdoor way of getting out of the prediction. Or on the other hand, when nothing happens, the event can be spiritualized.”
While in May Camping spoke to nearly every media outlet he could, this time he’s noticeably absent from the spotlight. The Christian Science Monitor reports that calls to Family Radio were not returned and his daughter e-mailed to say they would not be speaking to the press.
Camping also seems to have learned how to better hedge his bets this time.
“I really am beginning to think as I restudied these matters that there’s going to be no big display of any kind,” he said in an audio address after suffering a stroke in June. “The end is going to come very, very quietly.”
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