[Text-to-speech] Oh, baby!
Look at this size of that sponsor. Just relax… Everything’s totally serene. You’re floating through a cloud. The sun is warm a— 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐄𝐍𝐃 𝐈𝐒 𝐍𝐈𝐆𝐇 A prophecy has been foretold! (o rly?) The rapture is coming (😱) and we have the specific date! Soon, the believers will rise, and the impure will be left below. So repent, sinner… Repent! Get your affairs in order. Take your Preparation H. (That is, preparation for heaven) Because the world will officially end on May 21st 2011 Wait what? “May 21. There’s going to be a terrific earthquake “way way greater than anything that the earth has ever experienced,” And that’ll be the beginning of Judgment Day.” In late 2010, a campaign was launched to save some souls. They suited up! Took to the streets! But it was more than just placards and flyers. Soon, they were joined by a caravan of five RVs… roaming the country spreading the good word about the rapture. Thousands of people took it seriously. Many began selling their possessions. They were maxing out credit cards, taking on debt. Even the news picked up on it. “‘The End is Near.” Advertising was put on bus stops, in subways. A big expensive billboard was put up. Then another, then another, then 𝘧𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘢𝘯𝘥 more. In fact, this quickly became the most expensive single event advertising campaign 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳. Totaling over 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘩𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘥𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘴… just to tell people about a rapture on May 21st, 2011. How the heck did this happen? Harold Camping. [dramatic beat] So, who is this hardcore gangsta rap-turest Harold Camping? He was one of the biggest figures in Christian media. He had a show, 𝘖𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘍𝘰𝘳𝘶𝘮 hosted by his company, Family Radio. In 2010, it was a media empire… worth over seventy million dollars. His message went out on over 200 radio stations across the United States and many more around the world. His listenership? Millions. And when he says the world will end… a decent-sized contingent believed it. Now hold up. I can see the comments section filling up with edgy atheists and skeptics already. Listen. At first, I also didn’t believe Mr. Camping. I get it. There have been many people to predict the rapture before and get it wrong. But wait. Give him a chance. “I looked at all the scientific data I could find… like carbon-14 dating, Potassium-Argon dating…” This time, it’s different Camping is coming at you with irrefutable evidence of the rapture because he is using… MATH. This is not just a bit. That is actually how he calculated the rapture. So, Jesus died on April 1st 33 AD. Now take the year 2011. That’s a difference of 1978. We times that by 365.2422 and that gives you the number of days it’s been… since 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵, including leap years. That equals 722,449. Now, keep that number in mind. Keep it in your head. Atonement. Now, that’s five. Completeness. That’s ten. And heaven is seventeen. Now, we times them all together and look at this. 850. Then we square that and that’s 722,500. A difference of 51. 51 days plus April 1st 2011… equals May 21st, 2011. You did it. Mr. Camping. You’ve cracked the code… and needless to say, his skeptics were left 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘺𝘦𝘥 by facts and logic. Even the ones who pointed out that he predicted the rapture once before in 1994, in a Louis Theroux documentary. “… 1994 will be the last day of the final Tribulation Period.” But shut up! Shut up! He’s got more to say than just the date. My boy is about to tell you how the whole thing is gonna go down. So, God’s gonna snatch up all the good boys… about 200 million of us. Everyone else… pets, even the cute ones. Sorry, dudes. You’re getting left behind. Then, at 6 PM exactly on Christmas Island, earthquakes are gonna start dootling all over the place, rolling their way across the earth… taking out almost everyone at exactly 6 PM, according to their timezone. Those earthquakes will then trigger gigantic tsunamis, 10 kilometers tall… and go as far inland as Colorado. [tsunami noises] Every soul left behind will be forever damned… eventually to go straight down to 𝘏𝘦𝘤𝘬 😱 Now let’s not go lumping everyone in. Most Christian groups did not believe in Harold Camping’s teachings. In fact… most Christian groups don’t believe in predicting the rapture at all and even consider it a sin. Matthew 24:36 specifically says that no man can know the day or the hour. So, to try and guess at it… would be to go against Scripture. Accordingly, Protestant and Catholic groups denounced Mr. Camping’s claims. “May 21st. He’s a follower of Harold Camping. The Scriptures do not teach that. No man knows the day or the hour!” In fact, even Camping’s own producer at Family Radio said it was a bad idea. But that didn’t stop Mr. Camping. He saw the big churches as corrupt anyway… so he ignored them and continued charging forward with his prediction. “There’s just no reason in the world, no possibility that it will not happen.” And so did his followers. “97% of the people, God will destroy.” “Do you think this thing is getting blown up too much in the media and elsewhere?” Before we go on, two important details. (We Are) Number one: Family Radio receives most of its funding through donations, bequeathements, ads, merchandise, and sponsors. But mostly just donations. Two: Family Radio was established in 1959 with Camping as the owner and CEO. But there are two other chairmen on board to keep him in check, or at least there were… Unfortunately, in recent years, those other chairmen were getting quite old and sick, and having a tougher and tougher time telling Camping “No” to poor decision making. So by 2010, Camping effectively had free rein over the company. Free rein over its messaging… free rein over its audience… and free rein over the spending. And he started spending like… well… like the world was going to end. The media soon picked up on the ubiquitous advertising and the word spread further. This, in turn, encouraged more advertising… and in turn, more media interest. So, things were snowballing. By early May, everyone was talking about the rapture. The search term “End of the world May 21st” was number 2 on Google search, followed by “Harold Camping” “May 21st Doomsday” and “May 21 Rapture” also in the top 10 . The traffic online was so substantial, it even caused Family Radio Service to crash. Soon, it became a bit of a meme and the internet did what it does best. On May 19th, Operation Rapture was conceived. Ok, lads. We wake up early on May 21st… and throw clothes into the street. It’s gonna look like a bunch of people were teleported to the afterlife and hopefully, some of them are going to freak out. Well, they had a pretty good turnout. But it doesn’t seem like anyone fell for it Disappointingly, it seems like no one showed up for the Pre-rapture Orgy organized on Facebook either. Although, maybe that’s because the location was a bit vague. But best of all… was an event organised by The Phenomenauts. They got people together in the middle of town and filled a bunch of sex dolls with helium and attached them to balloons, to transcend into the heavens… It was a beautiful moment, and it made a lot of us reflect. “𝘐 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥’𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘢 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯!” “Hehe, yoink!”
-God People also tried to make some cash off the situation. They offered to buy Camping’s followers’ stuff on Craigslist for pennies on the dollar. Offering to buy on Craigslist… raptured people’s possessions. There was also a famous eBay auction: $100,000 post-rapture insurance for only $19.99. But one startup did do quite well. “Dog-sit for those called up to heaven.” Based around taking other people’s pets in the event of a rapture, and I believe they still operate today. So up next… we’ll show you what happened on May 21st, and what happened to all those people who truly believed. But first: ♪ My rhymes are fly, my beats are sick ♪ ♪ My crew is big, and it keeps getting bigger ♪ ♪That’s cuz Jesus Christ is my ni—♪ [AD TIME] [knock knock knock] Who’s there? Hello, it’s me. Oh my God, it’s Jesus. What are you doing here? Well, I just wanted to tell you that me and God have seen your Google search history and were very disappointed. Oh, no! That’s right! And now you are not getting into Heaven, or the more exclusive version: Super Heaven™ which features a delicious seafood buffet. OoOOoOHHhH NNnoOOoOoO!!1! Yup. Oh, how I wish I had taken the time to hide my internet viewing habits Well, you didn’t and now you are doomed 5ever. Has 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 ever happened to 𝘺𝘰𝘶? Go to NordVPN.com/internethistorian to keep your website traffic anonymous! All looks wholesome to me! Plus, it also gives you region unlock. Oh, hey. Look! It’s the UK’s exclusive channels and you didn’t even pay a telly license. Oi, oi! Stop that! That’ll be fifty-two pounds, nine thruppence! Too late, copper. I’ve Brexited to Australia, now… a place where no law can touch me! How much would you pay for this service? A billion dollars? Literally gazillions? Not today! Get 75% off a 3-year plan at NordVPN.com/internethistorian and use code internethistorian to get it free for a month which includes unlimited data, ultra fast speeds, region unlocking in all these places, also a map of the world which is useful for things such as geography. Wow, that’s so good. I might even get code internethistorian Nord VPN myself. Yes, Jesus. I think that would be a good idea! [awkward laughter] [AD OVER] Before we go on with Mr. Camping, In 1806, Mary Bateman also predicted Doomsday… through a chicken! It was dubbed the Prophet Hen of Leeds, because it started laying eggs with the message “Christ is coming” marked onto them. Amazing! And it all appeared legit. Locals saw the hen lay eggs with the message already written onto them. Can’t fake that “Oh my God!”, people said. And many more flocked to the area to pray. Well… On inspection of the eggs, it was soon figured out what was going on. Mary Bateman had used a corrosive substance to etch into the egg… And then, a couple of minutes before everyone would gather around to watch the chicken lay Mary would… [chicken abuse] Oh dear… [God giggling] Come on, it’s not funny. She was an interesting character, though. Claimed to be a witch… poisoned a couple that same year with a deadly pudding. She was later tried and hanged in 1809. Strips of skin from her corpse were tanned and sold as magic charms to ward off evil spirits. What the fuck am I reading? Also, shout out to 2012. Remember that one? As December 21st, 2012 marks the end of the world “Well, we came because it’s the end of the world tomorrow, and we thought we’d better pop in here because apparently, this place will be saved.” “With accents like those, you would hope they’d be the first to go, come the apocalypse.” Okay. Okay. Let’s get on with it. Let’s take a closer look at some of the people who followed Camping. Take Robert Fitzpatrick, 60. Former government employee. “I had plans after I retired but… I put them all aside.” “I feel as if I’ve been drafted” He took almost all of his life savings, $140,000 to have three thousand posters put up in New York subways and bus stops. “I’m not going to tell you I’m down to my last penny, but you know… it’s a good chunk of what I had saved up. Sure.” “𝘋𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘪𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘯𝘺 𝘪𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘰𝘮𝘴𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨?” No, it doesn’t. And he’s not the only one. According to the LA Times, the Bauer family hopped in their minivan and drove across the country to see all of the big landmarks before it was too late… racking up thousands of dollars in credit card debt in the process. They really believed they were going to die. Worse still: the Ramsey family. The father quit his job, so did his mum. His younger brother quit high school and his wife Marcia thought she was never going to meet her unborn child. Some of these people’s lives got pretty fucked up. The day is here. It’s rapture time! Here we go. Oh Lord, I’m ready! 𝘐’𝘮 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘢 𝘥𝘰 𝘪𝘵. 𝘐’𝘮 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘢 𝘥𝘰 𝘢 𝘳𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦! 𝘞𝘢𝘵𝘤𝘩 𝘮𝘦, 𝘨𝘶𝘺𝘴. Mr. Camping spent the day at home in quiet solace and contemplation, waiting for 6:00 PM. But that’s not what Mr. Fitzpatrick did. A confident Fitzpatrick marched into the middle of Times Square amongst a crowd of mocking bystanders, ready to prove everyone wrong. “𝘈𝘵 𝘴𝘪𝘹 𝘰’𝘤𝘭𝘰𝘤𝘬…” “𝘐𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘶𝘵𝘦𝘴!” “If it does not happen, what would that mean?” “I wouldn’t entertain that question.” “You’re… confident!” “It’s what I read in the Bible!” Here it comes… Three… Two… One. Uh oh. Nothing happened. “𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘴𝘪𝘹 𝘰’𝘤𝘭𝘰𝘤𝘬!” “𝘞𝘦’𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦!” [cheering] And then 6:01… 6:02… And by 6:03, Fitzpatrick’s convictions turned to confusion and it’s pretty hard not to feel sorry for him. “I didn’t water my plants, I didn’t do the dishes before I left.” “I didn’t expect to be going back home… but it looks I 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 be going back home.” But look, just so we’re clear, we’re all still alive and the rapture didn’t happen. Camping was not in the same celebratory mood. “I’m ready to shoot myself, or go on a booze trip.” The next day was a Sunday. People were crushed, confused, looking for answers. They showed up at Camping’s church, expecting to see him, but someone else was holding the congregation. Instead, Camping spend the day holed up in his house. “Give me a day… No interviews at all all, today.” “But I’m wondering how you feel today about your prediction?” “Well, I’m bewildered.” “I’m very bewildered, and that is all I can say right now.” On Monday, he appeared on his program… but this time, no 𝘖𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘍𝘰𝘳𝘶𝘮. But what he did have was a whole 𝘣𝘶𝘯𝘤𝘩 of rationalizations. In fact, ya boy was doubling down, with another prediction! October 21st, 2011 [Facepalm scene from 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘕𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘥 𝘎𝘶𝘯] Now. Now, I know what you’re gonna say. And okay, maybe he got it slightly wrong. But this time he has a refutable proof of the rapture. 𝘔𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘤… 𝐌𝐀𝐓𝐇. (again) So, Camping took May 21st. Then, he looked in the Book of John which states they caught 153 fish! So, add 153 𝘥𝘢𝘺𝘴 to May 21st, making the new rapture, October 21st. [mind blown🤯] How can you argue? It’s flawless. 𝘠𝘦𝘴, 𝘔𝘳. 𝘊𝘢𝘮𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘈𝘥𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘪𝘴𝘩 𝘯𝘶𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳! 𝘠𝘰𝘶’𝘷𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦! On Tuesday, he opened the phones on his radio show and it was the first time that his show was ever exciting to watch. “Why didn’t the rapture happen on May 21st? Don’t cut me off yet. And why do you believe so much on it’s gonna happen in another five months?” “You’re really pathetic, you know. I wasted all my money and I sent it to you. Now, I don’t have nothing. I just put my hopes in you.” Do you understand? I wish I could see you face to face. I’d smack you right in th—” “What say you now?” “Calling names doesn’t help anything.” After that, viewership steadily declined. Now after his prediction for October 21st, the media asked him… “Am I on cocaine?” No, they asked him… His response? “I’m a servant of God working here, and God is the CEO. We look to him all the time.” “He has a thousand ways of getting me out of here.” “We have to leave that question with the Lord… not with you, or with me. That’s not our business. That’s God’s business.” And how prescient! because two weeks later, he had a stroke. I do hope he gets the message. But he didn’t. A month later… he was back to doing his show and he pressed on with his new prediction. By October 16th, though, he came to his senses. He admitted that no man could know exactly when the rapture would happen, and made no statement when October 21st came and went. Finally on November 1st, he retired from his leadership position at Family Radio. Just under two years later, he was dead. The result of complications from a fall at his home. It wasn’t me. It was… Him! Look at him! Get him! But look, I don’t want to be too harsh. He was a flawed man. He messed up some people’s lives, but in the end he confessed his mistakes, too. “I was totally convinced… totally convicted of it, but I was wrong. I was wrong. I had sinned.” I think he truly believed the rapture was coming. This wasn’t one big grift. And everyone just kind of got swept up in the excitement of it all. So let’s put a bow on it… with what happened to Family Radio. During the rapture campaign, Family Radio raised a lot of money. But not as much as they spent. As well as draining their funds, they sold off important radio stations to pay for a lot of the advertising. In the process, they greatly tarnished their reputation. They were bringing in scores of millions in revenue in 2011. But by 2012, it was down to single digit millions. Now, this is still a substantial amount but not when you consider their operating costs… with twenty six million dollars per year. And they couldn’t rely on donations to make up the windfall because good will had dried up. Now with fewer radio stations and a shrinking reach, they moved to distance themselves from Camping and his baggage. Shows from mainstream Christian groups that Harold pronounced as corrupt were brought into the programming schedule. They announced they would no longer air the teachings of Mr. Camping. And finally, on their website… They removed the archives of Mr. Camping’s audio recordings. Okay, I’ve kind of bummed everyone out, but that’s the end of the story. I’ve nothing else to say, so… Here’s a whole bunch of weird baroque and Renaissance paintings. [deep inhale] [deep exhale] Help me. Mom warning me not to fill up before dinner me Well time to breastfeed again! Put me down, I’m 45 years old. That’s good. That’s all looking good. Goddammit, you’re not supposed to look straight at the camera. Hey! Did you pay for that cross? Yes. Here, have another bloody me. Yeah, this is Joseph’s kid, Craig. He likes grapes. It’s true. I do. I do. Wait, there’s a mosquito! Thanks. My new son! He is so beautiful. Also: Previous video. Jeff the Killer. Sonic High School next week. NordVPN!