11 curious facts about 666, six years after the disappearance of the 666 area code

December 31, 2013 | By Karsten Piper | 3 comments

Six years ago, the small town of Reeves, Louisiana, finally rid itself of a telephone area code that had been bedeviling its citizens since the 1960s — 666.

Christians in Reeves were unhappy having the “number of the beast” for their prefix since being assigned it. When the phone company finally relented, allowing Reevesians to change over to “749″ at no charge, mayor Scott Walker called their decision “divine intervention.”

To mark the anniversary, here are ten other beastly number factoids and coincidences…

Fear of 666

The qualms of the folks in Reeves about their old phone code has a name:

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia

Fear of the number six hundred sixty-six.

U.S. Housing Market Curse

The week of June 6, 2006 (06-06-06!), the 30-year mortgage rate averaged (Wait for it!) 6.66%. You may remember the evil that befell United States housing market soon after.

First Apple Computer

The first Apple Computer retailed for $666.66. Comfortable mark-up or uncomfortable mark? Either way, Steve Wozniak says he picked the number because it was easy to type with just one finger.

Apple 1 Computer

DCLXVI

The Roman numeral for 666 (DCLXVI) has exactly one occurrence each of the six symbols that have a value less than 1000.

D=500, C=100, L=50, X=10, V=5, I=1.

Carbon-12

Almost 99% of carbon, the element common to all known life, is carbon-12, which has 6 protons, 6 electrons, and 6 neutrons.

Roulette Wheel Digits

The numbers on a roulette wheel (0 through 36) add up to 666. French magician and casino operator, Francois Blanc, reputedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the secrets of the Roulette wheel. Then he proceeded to install wheels with only one “0” slot in his casinos in order to reduce his own house odds to compete with other casinos. That doesn’t seem so wicked.

Roulette Wheel

Solomon’s Wealth

Every year King Solomon collected 666 talents of gold (1 Kings 10:14). A talent? That’s a measure of weight equal to more than 26 kilograms, or almost 60 pounds.

Windows at the Louvre

The pyramid at the Louvre is not composed of 666 panes of glass. Despite Dan Brown’s oh-so-credible DaVinci Code research, there are officially 673 panes, and various independent counts have come up with 698. 

Louvre Pyramid

2001 and Kubrick’s Death

Stanley Kubrick, producer and director of 2001: A Space Odyssey, died 666 days before the first day of 2001.

Cue ominous theme music:

Chinese Lucky Number

While 666 is probably the most abhorred, avoided number in the West, it’s one of the luckiest numbers among the Chinese. Why? Saying it aloud sounds something like the words for “things go smoothly,” and people post the number in their shop windows for luck and on their homes.

Chinese sign

And sometimes — unlike our friends in Reeves, Louisiana — they even pay extra to make it part of their phone numbers.

Karsten Piper

Karsten Piper teaches writing at a southern Minnesota community college, the best job he's had. The worst was his time as a Mountain Dew mascot. No one feels bad abusing a man in a foam can, green tights, and a pop-top baseball cap.

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3 Comments

  1. Mark says:

    Interesting article, but the part about the area code is wrong, which leads me to doubt other items in the piece. Area codes in the 60′s all had zeros or ones as the middle digit. I am sure that the 666 was a prefix and not an area code. All you had to do was check current area codes for LA. Too bad something so easy to verify was left undone.

  2. Karsten Piper says:

    You’re right, Mark, I meant prefix not area code.

    Here’s a nifty fact to make up for my using the wrong word above…when those area codes (and I do mean area code this time) were assigned, the ones that used the fewest clicks on rotary phones were assigned to the biggest US cities. So NY City got the plum 212 code while South Dakota got the crap 605 digits.

    Thanks for reading so carefully. :-)

    –KP

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