The backlash is complete, almost, for failed doomsday soothsayer Harold Camping. Even as the world is waiting to hear from the false prophet, a member of his inner circle has fired the first salvo, saying Camping owes an apology to the public.
It's been confirmed that Camping did not rapture to heaven as he had predicted. Nor did around 200 million people from across the world -- the selected believers whose time had come to be reunited with Jesus Christ.
Harold Camping is at his Oakland home, and his wife has said the preacher is healthy and safe. A board member of Camping's Family Radio International cited Camping as saying that the preacher would issue a statement on the mother of all goof-ups.
Camping's wife said her husband was somewhat bewildered and mystified after his prediction proved a dud, said Tom Evans, who belongs to the inner circle of Camping followers.
Earlier, IB Times had reported that the false prophet would make a public statement on Monday in a “public forum” explaining why he had predicted May 21, 2011 as the Judgment Day and why it had failed.
Evans told ABC News that Camping owed at least an apology to the public. He said the Family Radio board will meet on Tuesday to decide the course of action going forward.
Now the really mystified followers, who were out there in millions, look forward to some spin, probably an apology or another prediction when he speaks up on Tuesday.
It is not yet known whether he will offer a mea culpa or will stubbornly explain away the failure and set a new doomsday date.
The true impact of the botched prediction that the world would end was devastating for some followers. There were people who sold their entire savings to live up the last days on earth and then rapture to heaven. Now, they will have to take care of rather more mundane realities -- like finding a house to stay and paying bills.
The much-publicized case of Robert Fitzpatrick best explained the human tragedy of a whimsical prediction. Fitzpatrick, a retired transport worker, had spent as much as $140,000 to advertise the doom.
I don't understand why nothing has happened, he said as 6 pm., the appointed doom time, passed in New York. I did what I had to do. I did what the Bible said, Britain's Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
Fitzpatrick found himself the object of public ridicule, standing at Times Square after 6 P.M. on Saturday. People jeered at him, asking How can you still stand there? How can you still do that?
For Harold Camping, the moment of truth is even more embarrassing and potentially destabilizing. He had hoped to sit in his living room and watch the end of the world unfold on the television. He had hoped to be the visionary leader who herded 200 million people through a rapture, into the heaven. But now, he has to wipe egg off his face, try to clear his flawed legacy and answer serious questions.
Followers will desert, his movement could break up into smithereens and he will be called upon to answer allegations of possible financial irregularities surrounding what is now established as a shady movement.
And then the legal questions. There has been buzz around the Internet and social sphere if Camping will have to face legal scrutiny for the epic lie he presided over which caused utter financial destruction of his followers.
And there can be even more troublesome scenarios. There have been reports of people trying to take their lives thinking the doomsday was here.
An unconfirmed report said a 47-year-old woman sliced the throats and wrists of her two daughters, then cut her own throat before passersby intervened, avoiding three deaths. The report, which appeared on the website 'FreakOutNation', however, doesn’t specify where it took place, or if there is a police version of the incident.