October is my favorite month, as I'm a fan of spooky stuff, and most of my novels involve ghosts--including my upcoming title The Haunting of Hillwood Farm, which will be available exclusively in the Love Under Fire Romantic Suspense Box Set releasing 11/13!--and anything paranormal generally intrigues me. I usually dedicate the Halloween season to supernatural topics, and a very creepy book I recently finished reading made me think of my old post on the number 666. So I'm resurrecting it for 2018!
Why are these three digits so scary? The most straight-forward answer is the Bible. And before I go further, I should note first that I'm no historian, I'm a novelist. I get to deal in fiction, using my imagination to create mysterious hauntings and spooky suspense. But here's what my research uncovered:
In most manuscripts of the New Testament, six hundred sixty-six is referred to as "the number of the beast" in Chapter 13 (there's that number again!) of the Book of Revelation. This final Book of the Bible is sometimes known as The Apocalypse--never a great thing to contemplate--and the author is identified as "John"...possibly the Apostle John but also possibly another prophet. Evidence points to a date between 86 to 91 CE as the time of writing.
In the Book of Revelation, two beasts appear, one from the sea, and one from the earth. The first beast is given power, authority and a throne by the dragon (identified as Satan or the devil in other passages), and it blasphemes God. This beast has the power to conquer God's people, and all inhabitants whose names have not been written in "the Lamb's book of life" will worship the beast.
The second beast emerges from the earth and is described as having horns and speaking like a dragon. It exercises the authority of the first beast, and even causes fire to come down from the heavens. This is the beast that forces all people to receive the "mark" on their right hands or foreheads, and this mark is "the name of the beast or the number of its name". In the American Standard Version of the Bible, the passage Revelation 13:18 reads "Here is wisdom. He that hath understanding, let him count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man: and his number is Six hundred and sixty and six." So, a horned beast with the speech of a dragon, rising from underground and commanding fire. It certainly conjures up the present-day images of the Devil or demons who inhabit a fiery Hell.
As with everything Biblical, many various interpretations of this statement exist. One popular one is that the number was a kind of code for the Roman Emperor Nero, who, according to some historical sources, tortured Christians by lighting them on fire. He was apparently a violent and tyrannical leader known for executions, including that of his mother. He was also the first Roman Emperor to commit suicide, in 68 CE, after being declared a public enemy. Many Christians believed Nero would return as the Antichrist.
|Nero was the last Roman Emperor of|
the Julio-Claudian dynasty
Not surprisingly, the number has been used as an ominous sign in many horror novels and movies...The Omen is probably the most well-known, as the creepy boy Damien had a birthmark of 666 on his scalp.
There is a name for the fear of the number 666: hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. Personally I'm not a fan of the number, but my sister thought it was fairly amusing when she moved to a new zip code ending in 666. Then again, she and I both love ghost stories and scary movies (Here are a few of our favorites). However, there have been some notable incidents of people going out of their way to avoid a connection with this number. Nancy and Ronald Reagan changed the address of their new home in LA from 666 St. Cloud Road to 668. A high school cross country runner, Codie Thacker, forfeited her chance to qualify for the state championships when she declined to run in the regionals with the bib number 666. A US Representative had a legislative bill number changed from 666 to 702 to avoid "negative connotations". If you enjoy a bit of spooky suspense and haunting mystery (mixed with romance), try one of my romance/ghost story combos: SILVER LAKE, GULL HARBOR (currently on a 99c sale!) and HAUNTED SOULS ~ #1 Bestsellers on Amazon and B&N! While my genre is paranormal romantic suspense, not horror, you can expect a few shivers up your spine!
|The 99c e-book sale ends soon ~ Hurry!|Happy Reading :) PS you can listen, too, if you prefer...the Amazon links in colors above also offer Audible versions of Gull Harbor and Haunted Souls. And don't forget to pre-order The Haunting of Hillwood Farm exclusive to the Love Under Fire Box Set...just 99c for 21 Romantic Suspense stories if you order now!
|A great deal - 21 Romantic Thrillers for 99c, and every sale helps a vet get a pet!|