Saturday, May 21, the day the world was prophesied to end by the evangelical Christian leader Harold Camping, came and went not with a bang, but with a whimper.
The whimpering was being done by Camping himself and by some of his followers, one of whom was the visibly bewildered Irish American Robert Fitzpatrick, who had to endure the mocking jibes of passersby in Times Square late into Saturday evening.
Startled to observe that he was not yet in Heaven, Camping himself offered the only explanation he could think of for what went wrong - that he had miscalculated.
Camping, 89, said he now believes that ending the world in a reign of terror for five months is a little harsh of God, and instead the rapture is playing out "spiritually," with the actual end of the world set to occur five months from now on October 21.
Camping offered this after-the-fact correction on Family Radio network broadcasting from Oakland, California. Then he added he felt bad that Saturday had come and gone without a rapture occurring.
Contradicting himself a short time later he insisted to reporters that October 21 has always been the end-point of his own End Times chronology, or at least, of his latest chronology.
Asked what advice he would give to his followers who gave up much or all of their life's savings because they believed his end of the world prophesy would come true, Camping said: "We just had a great recession. There's lots of people who lost their jobs, lots of people who lost their houses and somehow they all survived," he said. "People cope," he added.