That is precisely why this story 'grew legs'. Each of us sense that there are forces at work beyond our control and those of us that have studied the bible see the various signs of prophecy being fulfilled with increasing intensity. Those people may have mocked this man and mock Christians in general, but this 'prediction' had just enough plausability to it that many probably believed it.
Those people may have been mocking and laughing at him yesterday but I bet some of the emotion was a 'whewww, we dodged a bullet' relief for some of them.
Uhhhhh. No. Sorry. Almost no one believed it. Or any of the other Huckster 'rapturism'.
The world will end, that is true. In about 1-2 billion years. We might do ourselves in first, though.