Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Rapture on Enjoyable Ride to Hell

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Rapture on Enjoyable Ride to Hell

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM GUTTERIDGE

YOUR have to feel sorry for 60-year-old New Yorker Robert Fitzpatrick who blew his life savings on posters predicting the end of the world on Saturday night.

Waking up yesterday to find he was still amongst the heathen must have been a bitter blow for him and the unknown thousands of other Americans who'd been convinced by California preacher Harold Camping that it was "Rapture Day", when they'd all be transported up to heaven as huge earthquakes destroyed the rest of us left down here on Earth.

Robert had spent $140,000 putting up thousands of posters around the New York subway and bus system. I assume all believing bus drivers had considerately taken the day off work. After all, if any of them had been raptured off a moving vehicle, it would have caused no end of traffic chaos down Broadway.

Camping had worked out the date using a series of complex calculations based on the anniversary of Noah's flood (7,000 years ago on Saturday) and various biblical passages.

As a result, thousands of Americans reportedly sold their homes and valuables and quit their jobs, all clearly surplus to requirements in the afterlife, and handed over their money to Camping's church.

It's said that he raised tens of millions from believers over the last few months.

They weren't put off by the fact that he got it completely wrong last time: he originally said the rapture would happen in September 1994.

In fact, apart from the 5,000th performance of Cats on Broadway, there wasn't a lot of seismic activity anywhere that month and, denied his Journey To The Heaviside Layer, the discredited minister went off to lick his paws and invent a new date.

This latest prediction resulted in a roaring trade for poster manufacturers, end-of-the-world party organisers and also for a company in New Hampshire called External Earthbound Pets. …

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