Radio Netherlands Worldwide is reporting the retirement of long time Family Radio head honcho Harold Camping. Besides leading the worlds largest Christian radio broadcast network for over 50 years, he is probably best known for his crackpot end of the world predictions. Playing off the old adage ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ Camping failed miserably to predict the end of the world not just once, or twice, but four times – once in 1988, again in 1994 and twice in 2011.

Months before the May 21, 2011 prediction, thousands of his followers sold all of their prized possessions including homes, cars and businesses – some even emptied out their bank accounts, willfully donating the money to Camping in order to help fund the Family Radio underground doomsday bunker. One follower, out of fear of the tribulation, went as far as slitting her own throat, as well as the throats of her two daughters’. When May 21 came and went, dozens of his followers arrived at the studios of Family Radio looking for answers, but the only thing they found was the station locked up tight and recordings from the day before replaying on the air.

Two days later Camping emerged from hiding and arranged for a press conference. During the conference Camping stated he believed a “spiritual judgement” had occurred on May 21st and the actual Rapture would take place later in the year on October 21st. Two weeks later Harold Camping suffered a stroke, was hospitalized and eventually moved to a nursing home for rehabilitation. On June 23, 2011, Family Radio announced they would be replace his program, Open Forum, with other programming.

As of October 12th, his weekly congregation had dwindled to just two dozen members – those remaining joined him in seclusion to avoid the media and public scrutiny. On October 16th, days before his next failed prediction, Camping formally retired from Family Radio and admitted in a private interview he no longer believes anyone could know the exact time or date of the Rapture. A position that stands in stark contrast to his previous closely guarded beliefs.