- (Photo: AP Images / Maura Lynch)
Modern day doomsday "prophet" Harold Camping seems to be more humble not only in promoting the date and nature of the end of the world, scheduled for October, but also in undertaking financial efforts to educate people about God's "physical" rapture, in contrast to the hoopla that surrounded the "spiritual" rapture that occurred in May.
The end of the world is nigh - it is supposed to occur on Oct. 21, in less than two weeks, according to the California-based Family Radio founder and host. Camping confirmed that in a recent audio message. Yet, the massive advertising campaign present following his last predictions, is now lacking.
In May, many people in the United States, and abroad, knew about Camping's prediction that the world would end on May 21. That was possible, not only thanks to the unprecedented media attention the Bible teacher received, but also to a massive advertising campaign aimed at residents of several large cities.
The "May 21 – End of the World" posters, billboards, flyers and t-shirts were visible to anyone who took a train to work in New York City or Boston. The worldwide advertising campaign powered by Camping cost an estimated $100 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. It was financed by the sale and swap of TV and radio stations, reported the paper.
However, it is difficult to estimate Camping's total budget back in May, as he has reportedly also receiving private financing from some of his followers, many of whom also took it upon themselves to advertise judgment day.
One man, a former MTA engineer, Robert Fitzpatrick, spent more than $140,000 on 1,000 subway car placards and bus shelters throughout New York City.
In New York City, the cost of a subway ad covering 25 percent of a train's interior ad spaces is $44,000. An ad placed on the exterior of a bus costs around $500.
After the May 21 rapture did not occur, many of Camping's followers who sank their lifetime savings into the campaign were desperate.
During a May 31 program on Camping's radio, an angry caller slammed the false prophet for his misjudged prediction.
"You're really pathetic, you know? I wasted all my money because of you. I was putting all my money and my hopes on you," the angry ex-follower said on air. "Do you understand? I wish I could see you face to face, I would smack you."
"Mr. Camping, you always say a lot of (expletive). I lost all my money because of you, you (expletive)," he added when Camping was attempting to explain himself.
Camping changed the prediction about the nature of the Apocalypse slightly. It seems that the October rapture and judgment is to be a lot more peaceful than the May one had been predicted to be. This time around, Camping emphasized that the event will happen "quietly."
"We must believe that probably there will be no pain suffered by anyone because of their rebellion against God. This is very comforting to all of us, because we all have children, and have loved ones that are dear to us that we know are not saved; and yet we know that they'll quietly die," he stated in a voice that was weaker and less certain sounding than in May, though possibly due to a stroke Camping suffered in June.
Last time, Camping sound much more certain of his predictions. In fact, he painted such a realistic picture of the cataclysmic end of the world, that a 14-year-old girl from Russia was so scared she committed suicide the same day.
After May 21, many people thought Camping should publicly apologize for misleading so many people with his false prophecies.