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May232011

Harold Camping, Doomsday Preacher, Ready to Explain Failed Rapture Prediction

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(ALAMEDA, Calif.) -- Harold Camping, the radio evangelist who predicted the Apocalypse would begin Saturday, May 21, 2011, said Monday he is ready to make a statement about his failed prediction.

Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer, is the head of a media empire that includes radio stations, TV channels and a website.

On Sunday, after the Rapture failed to occur Saturday as he had predicted, Camping was "mystified" and "a little bewildered," an associate of the California preacher told ABC News.

Tom Evans, a board member of Family Radio International, said Camping's wife told him her husband was at their home and had no intention to speak or issue any statement Monday.

Camping's wife described him as being "somewhat bewildered" and "mystified" that events did not unfold on May 21 as Camping had predicted, Evans said.

Evans said his personal position is that the public is owed an apology and he wanted the board -- and Camping -- to meet to figure out what to say and do next.

Camping had pinpointed May 21, at 5:59 p.m. as the exact time the Rapture would occur, when those chosen by God would ascend to heaven while cataclysmic earthquakes would begin to rock Earth. He spread the word on billboards, posters, fliers and digital bus displays across the country.

"I am utterly absolutely, absolutely convinced it's going to happen," Camping said earlier in the week.

Robert Fitzpatrick of New York had put his money where his faith is: The 60-year-old retiree spent $140,000 -- almost everything he had -- on hundreds of billboards proclaiming the Armagedon that Camping predicted.

When it didn't come, he was standing in New York's Times Square, surrounded by jeering tourists in a drizzling rain.

"I can't tell you what I feel right now," he said. "Obviously, I haven't understood it correctly because we're still here."

While Camping has his followers, his preaching also drew criticism from many Christians who pointed out that the Bible says no person can know when the end will come.

This is not the first time Camping was mistaken about the end of the world. He once predicted the End of Days to be Sept. 6, 1994, but later said that date was a result of a mathematical error.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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