But for others it is something else.
Today is the sixth of the sixth, 2006.
Lock up your children. Bolt the door. Be especially worried if your five-year-old has taken to repetitively cycling around the upper level of your house on a wooden tricycle, even if you do have speed cameras.
Think of apocalyptic poems by W. B Yeats:
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
- “The Second Coming” (1921)
In the Bible, Revelations, Chapter XIII, verse 18, it is written that the beast’s number is 666. This is a number so steeped in superstition and iconography that even non-religious people are hesitant about it.
666 is the number that parents would least like their children to have tattooed on the back of their heads. Even if it is just in felt-tip.
It may seem strange that people still worry about these things. But they do.
Just recently a young lady asked to be induced because the birth of her child was predicted for today. She was scared that she would give birth to Damien, the child of Satan.
Elsewhere, in Hell, Michigan, a town of less than a hundred inhabitants, people are gearing up for a night of partying. The Christian community are less than happy.
Everybody is entitled to their own set of beliefs. And their own set of fears.
Of course, if you find yourself unable to take the whole thing seriously, have some fun:
· Go and watch the re-make of The Omen horror movie.
· Buy yourself a tricycle.
· Run a sweepstake on whether the beast will appear.
· Listen to heavy metal legends, Iron Maiden.
Take the introduction from The Number of the Beast and record it onto your parents’ answering-machine. Imagine the fun when someone rings and hears the lyrics of the satanic song:
Woe to you, Oh Earth and Sea, for the Devil sends the beast with wrath, because he knows the time is
short ... Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast for it is a human number, its
number is Six hundred and sixty six ...”
And remember that there is a much better way of ensuring that your baby is not Damien. Simply call him Geoff.