Harold Camping’s only words to reporters the day before what he has claimed will be the world’s last day were: “We’re not having a conversation. There’s nothing to report here,” according to Reuters.
Wearing a bathrobe and using a walker outside of his Alameda, Calif., home, the doomsday preacher chuckled as reporters tried to get comments from him Thursday regarding the supposed Rapture that, as of Friday afternoon, appears not to be happening.
However, Camping did say the Oct. 21 rapture would be "quiet."
Months after Camping's second prediction of a May 21 Judgment Day, the doomsday "prophet" said that no one noticed it because it was a "spiritual" judgment and that the physical end would "probably" come on Oct. 21. Camping, 90, added that people might not even notice because "there will be no pain suffered by anyone because of their rebellion against God. Unbelievers might just fall asleep and never wake up."
However, according to an expert on doomsday cults, Camping gave himself an easy, linguistic way out.
Catherine Wessinger, who studies doomsday groups at Loyola University in New Orleans and is the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism, told NPR that Camping is using a common trick among doomsday leaders.
When prophecy 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."
Reuters also reported that Local American Legion officer Ron Parshall, 70, who meets at a veterans group in an adjacent room next to where Camping holds prayer services on Sundays, said he saw the preacher about a month ago, and that Camping showed no outward signs of debilitation and "wasn't limping at all."
"He was a nice man," Parshall said, adding, "He was just too radical for me. Anyone who claims to be that close to God, I take it with a grain of salt."