Prophecy of Rapture and doom fizzles, and life in Boston goes on

By Travis Andersen
Globe Staff / May 22, 2011

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They saw the billboard signs heralding Judgment Day. They heard reports of the religious radio host and his followers claiming that at 6 p.m. yesterday, all true believers would be taken up to Heaven and the rest were doomed as the world came to an end.

But when the hour came and went with no visible signs of the Rapture, a few visitors to Faneuil Hall who were asked about it said they were not surprised.

One woman expressed mock disappointment, however. Janet Lochery, 61, who is originally from Britain and now lives in Atlanta, was in town for her daughter’s college graduation.

“When somebody tells you something’s going to happen, you’re very disappointed when it doesn’t,’’ she said in a dry British delivery.

Of the prediction that a series of catastrophes would plague the world until it ended Oct. 21, she was doubtful.

“I think if the world ended it would just blow up,’’ she said. “How else would it end, really?’’

The May 21 doomsday message had been publicized through broadcasts, websites, and billboards by Harold Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer who has built a multimillion-dollar Christian media empire.

Camping had made a previous unfulfilled prediction of global demise: for Sept. 6, 1994.

Lochery’s daughter Katherine, 22, who is graduating from Boston University, said she had not been thinking much about yesterday’s prediction. She was mainly focused on finishing school during the past few weeks, she said.

But, she said, the Rapture forecast came at an fitting time for her.

“My life as I know it is ending, so that’s sort of a Rapture.’’

A group of women visiting from Indiana said they never believed the prophecy, given the track record of such predictions.

Treva Price, 75, quipped that she and her traveling companions took two flights into Boston and “we didn’t ask either pilot if they were agnostic.’’

Mike Calvo of Connecticut, 24, who was visiting Boston with friends, said he was “kind of relieved’’ the Doomsday hype might subside, at least for a while. “I guess there’s always the next prediction coming,’’ Calvo said.

His friend Harrison Guzman, 21, said he never bought the prophecy but a few of his extended family members had.

However, he added, he noticed that they appeared to hedge their bets.

“I was wondering why they didn’t just quit their jobs and [why they] continued to pay their bills,’’ Guzman said.

And what was he planning to do with the rest of the evening, after the Rapture had gone out with an apparent whimper?

“Probably get a few more drinks,’’ he said.

Travis Andersen can be reached at