Harold Camping, Bay Area Preacher Who Erroneously Predicted Raptures, Dies
Nina Romero, marketing manager of Camping's Family Radio Network, confirmed to the Associated Press this morning that the Evangelical preacher died Sunday morning at his home.
Camping reportedly had been hospitalized after he fell recently.
Camping, a retired civil engineer, amassed millions of dollars through his radio network, which he then used to advertise the Rapture. His first prediction was in Sept. 6, 1994 when he drummed up money and support for the cataclysmic event. Believers gathered around the Alameda Veterans Memorial building dressed in their Sunday best, holding Bibles toward the sky. And they waited. And waited.
When that day came and went, Camping blamed it on a mathematical error (he majored in civil engineering at UC Berkeley).
The preacher then predicted with great certainty that the world would end on May 21, 2011. Believers prepped again, some giving away their valuables and fortunes in anticipation for the Apocalypse.
When that day came and went, a shocked Camping apologized profusely for there still being a world. "I'm not a genius," he said at the time. "I pray all the time for wisdom."
He then revised his Rapture date, claiming he'd been off by about five months. The new date was set: October 21, 2011.
then that day came -- followed by Oct. 22 -- Camping felt so terrible about his faulty prophecies that he holed himself up in a motel. After that, he retired from predicting doomsday and instead focused on his network, which was now losing money.
Meanwhile, his health deteriorated and Camping suffered a stroke in June 2011. He remained low-profile until his death on Dec. 15.