That intricacy was part of the appeal. The arguments were so complex that they were impossible to summarize and therefore very challenging to refute. As one longtime believer, an accountant, told me: “Based on everything we know, and when you look at the timelines, you look at the evidence—these aren’t the kind of things that just happen. They correlate too strongly for it not to be important.” The puzzle was too perfect. It couldn’t be wrong.
Tom Bartlett followed a bunch of people who thought the world was going to end on May 21, 2011, from before the fateful date until one year afterwards. This story is as tragic as you might anticipate: