by Chet Hardin
The once-sane, now-cult-leader Harold Camping has predicted that the world as we know it will end this Saturday. The story has grown around here ever since Iraq war veteran Marie Exley-Sheahan got herself on CNN by buying bus-stop ads in the Springs warning about the day of judgment.
It's impossible to estimate how many people believe in Camping's End Times freakout; I personally know of about a dozen, but I'm sure the number is more in the thousands worldwide. The organization that Camping runs is very tight-lipped. It keeps its number of followers and money supply obscured.
We had some fun with his whole idea in this week's issue, but truthfully, Exley-Sheahan's personal story is a sad one.
Exley-Sheahan says that she came back from two tours in Iraq struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. As of Jan. 14, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America featured Exley-Sheahan on its website. Since then, however, she has been wiped out of IAVA's history — the web page featuring her personal story having been deleted. Here's a copy of the web page, thanks to the Wayback Machine.
When I returned from Iraq, I was faced with my mother’s brain cancer diagnosis. It has been a constant struggle but I am managing through it. I am currently still caring for my mother and figuring out where I am going from here. I am very passionate about the military and about the issues facing them after deployment. I would like to do anything that I can to help make a difference.
My guess, and this is only a guess, is that her fixation on Harold Camping's May 21 Rapture prophecy wasn't exactly the kinda press that IAVA wanted. I contacted IAVA and asked what happened to her page, and I haven't heard back.
Here she is discussing her PTSD:
Right now, Exley-Sheahan and her small group of friends, including three young children, are likely huddled in a cabin in the middle of the mountains praying and crying, waiting for the world to end.