Story Archive


“I just don’t understand,” said Robert Fitzpatrick over and over again. Fitzpatrick, 60, of Staten Island, N.Y., was so sure the world would end on May 21 that he spent his life savings warning people about the apocalypse. “I’m very surprised,” he said as the appointed moment — 5:59 p.m., local time — came and went. “I fully expected that something would happen.” He was in Manhattan’s Times Square for the apocalypse, surrounded by crowds and media. “It’s 6 o’clock we’re still alive,” yelled one onlooker, generating applause from the crowd. Others in the crowd had been chanting “Hell no, we won’t go!” Fitzpatrick now admits he “doesn’t know” what will happen on October 21, when the entire universe is supposed to be consumed by fire, according to the prophecy he previously had embraced. (RC/Staten Island Advance) ...“It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” —Carl Sagan, American astrophysicist (1934-1996)
Author’s Note: See “May Day May Day May Day” earlier in this volume, as well as more about the whole thing on my blog, at
Original Publication Date: 22 May 2011
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 17.

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