The thing I find most interesting about predictions of the end of the world is that so far they have been 100% wrong.
In any other field, that kind of failure would drive people away in droves. Can you imagine a stock broker staying in business if he were to be 100% wrong about his stock choices? How about a farmer who was 100% wrong about when to plant his crops?
Yet many people, when confronted by this failure, rather than avoiding the people who make these sorts of prognostications in the future, instead rationalize as to why the prediction was incorrect.
Now this is different from the usual "prophecy" pattern, where someone says something obscure which is then pointed to after some event as "proof" that the prophecy was correct (The prophet Brutha said "angels weep rivers of tears for man's loss of faith in Om" and that year the river Ankh flooded so the prophecy was true.) That's just an old stage mentalist trick.
This is of a much higher order of craziness. Various power hungry (or completely insane) "prophets" predict the end of the world, then make excuses for why said end failed to come and their followers buy it.
Of course "normal" people do this all the time. Every time a belief is proven to be untrue people don't abandon it, they rationalize as to why the belief is still valid even though the evidence shows it to be false.
Truly I say unto you, "Belief is the enemy of faith".