Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. That’s a real word. And it means something very simple: the age-old superstitious fear of the number 666.
“Those who would not worship the image of the beast (would) be slain,” warned St. John, the author of the Book of Revelation, which predicts the end of the world. “Let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” These words have sunk deeply into the memory of Bible readers. And so, for almost 2000 years, people have been looking out for the mythical Antichrist, Satan or another Evil hiding behind three sixes. It would even seem that in our times, the Number of the Beast is more popular than ever before.
Take a popular children’s toy, the fidget spinner. Christian fundamentalists declared it a tool of Satan, because while it spins it supposedly creates the shape of three sixes. Never mind that in Jesus’s times nobody knew Arabic numerals; in the original Book of Revelation, the number six-hundred and sixty-six was written in Greek as χξϛ, or