Patt Morrison for May 21, 2012

It was supposed to be the end of the world as we know it, but it wasn’t

Apocalypse Redux

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Harold Camping speaks during a taping of his show Open Forum in Oakland, Calif. Camping, the Northern California preacher whose radio ministry spent millions of dollars last year predicting a fiery apocalypse that failed to materialize has apologized to his followers in an open letter, saying “we humbly acknowledge we were wrong” and “we have no new evidence pointing to another date for the end of the world.”

It was exactly a year ago today that local preacher and Family Radio founder Harold Camping predicted the world was going to end.

His billboards advertising the rapture were all over Southern California: “Save the date! Jesus is coming on May 21!” He paid for 5,500 across the country. Camping had previously predicted the rapture would arrive on May 21, 1994, but said he made a few miscalculations in his Biblical translation. After the world didn’t end last year, he recalculated that it was coming on October 21st, 2011. We check in on Camping’s following one year later and look at the other looming apocryphal prediction –- the Mayan Calendar.

A team of archeologists recently discovered a room covered in 1,200-year-old astronomical records of Mayan scribes that seem to be 600 years older than the more famous Mayan calendar. That could mean the calendar doesn’t end in 2012.


With all these failed predictions, will people keep trying to find an exact date?


Tom Bartlett, science reporter based in Austin, Texas; his latest piece is "A Year After the Non-Apocalypse: Where Are They Now?" on

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