The 2011 end times prediction made by American Christian radio host Harold Camping stated that the Rapture and Judgment Day would take place on May 21, 2011, and that the end of the world would take place five months later on October 21, 2011. The Rapture, in a specific tradition of premillennial theology, is the taking up into heaven of God's elect people.
Camping, who was then president of the Family Radio Christian network, claimed the Bible as his source and said May 21 would be the date of the Rapture and the day of judgment "beyond the shadow of a doubt". Camping suggested that it would occur at 6 pm local time, with the rapture sweeping the globe time zone by time zone, while some of his supporters claimed that around 200 million people (approximately 3% of the world's population) would be 'raptured'. Camping had previously claimed that the Rapture would occur in September 1994.
The vast majority of Christian groups, including most Protestant and Catholic believers, did not accept Camping's predictions; some explicitly rejected them, citing Bible passages including those stating "about that day or hour no one knows" (Matthew 24:36).
Following the failure of the prediction, media attention shifted to the response from Camping and his followers. On May 23, Camping stated that May 21 had been a "spiritual" day of judgment, and that the physical Rapture would occur on October 21, 2011, simultaneously with the destruction of the universe by God.
However, on October 16, Camping admitted to an interviewer that he did not know when the end would come, and made no public comment after October 21 passed without his predicted apocalypse.
On May 19, 2011, the search term "end of the world may 21st" reached second position on Google Trends, based on the popularity of the search term in the United States. The related searches "Harold Camping", "May 21 doomsday", and "May 21 rapture" were also represented among the top 10 positions. The New York Police Department stated: "We don't plan any additional coverage for the end of the world. Indeed, if it happens, fewer officers will be required for streets that presumably will be empty."
Individual followers who had spent time and money promoting Camping's prediction were "crestfallen" after May 21 passed without evidence of the Rapture. A New York man commented "I was doing what I've been instructed to do through the Bible, but now I've been stymied. It's like getting slapped in the face."
In March 2012 Camping "humbly acknowledged" that he had been mistaken, that his attempt to predict a date was "sinful," and that his critics had been right in pointing to the scriptural text "of that day and hour knoweth no man". He said he is now searching the Bible "even more fervently... not to find dates, but to be more faithful in our understanding."
In response to the prediction, more than 830,000 registered as attending a "Post Rapture Looting" event on Facebook.