(Correction: Replaces story published by Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek in February 2010.)
A man who said he had a business that would care for pets when their owners abandoned them in the Rapture or Second Coming at the end of the world has admitted that the service never existed.
Bart Centre, a retired retail executive in New Hampshire, described the service, called Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, USA, in a story published by Bloomberg News on Feb. 9, 2010. Other media also published reports on the service.
Centre said this week he was preparing to reveal the truth in a planned, as yet unpublished blog post.
“The entire thing was a hoax,” Centre said in a telephone interview today. “What we call on the Internet a poe, a spoof, a parody, a complete fiction. It was all a fiction from the very start. I never had any intent to accept contracts for our service or payment for our service and I never did.”
Referring to his website, where the service was offered for $110 at one time, Centre said, “‘I was so concerned that people would actually pay me for the service that I eventually disabled the payment button.”
Centre said this week he came up with the service in part as a way to promote his book, “The Atheist Camel Chronicles.” In a chapter from the book on “End Times” and the encroaching Rapture, Centre writes:
“With the economic downturn we’re in, I’m trying to figure out how to cash in on this hysteria to supplement my income ... Given the intellectual capacity of believers this could be a gold mine!”
In the planned blog post containing his admission of the hoax and that Centre provided to Bloomberg News, he writes that Eternal Earth-Bound Pets “has never issued a service certificate. Not one. It has accepted no contract applications or payments -- not a single dollar -- in the almost three years of its existence.”
In the same blog post, Centre writes that he is admitting to the hoax now because “the State of New Hampshire’s Insurance Department has asked me to discuss my ‘insurance’ offering” through Eternal Earth-Bound Pets and “ provide them with all the names of NH clients who have signed on and paid for my pet rescue post rapture service.”
To contact the writer of this column: Mike Di Paola at email@example.com.