What is Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia?

Fear of the Number 666

Tomb number 666
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Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is the fear of the number "666." Related to triskaidekaphobia, or fear of the number 13, this phobia has its origins in both religious belief and superstition.

Some experts question whether hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia should be classified as a specific phobia and view it as a fear based on superstition. Most people find their fear does not significantly impact their lives, which is a necessary component of a phobia diagnosis.

Origins of Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia

The number 666 appears in the Bible, in the Book of Revelation. Revelation 13:17-18, in the King James version, states the “number of the beast” is “six hundred threescore and six” or 666. This reference appears to be the origin of the fear for some people.

As written, the events depicted in Revelation are extremely frightening. When viewed as a literal transcription of what is to come, it is easy to see how a serious fear or phobia could develop.

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia in Pop Culture

The prevalence of the number 666 in pop culture represents another trigger for this fear. Many horror movies use this number as a premise and tend to be supernatural thrillers that play on the association between the number and the Antichrist. Some films use doomsday scenarios, drawing on the number’s apocalyptic connotations.

Symptoms of Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia

Fear of the number 666 can manifest in many different ways, depending on the severity of the phobia and include:

  • Refusing to live in a home that bears this street number. For example, former President Ronald Reagan and wife, Nancy, moved to Bel-Air, Los Angeles, following his presidency. They changed the street number of their house from 666 to 668.
  • Finding yourself making compulsive decisions to consciously avoid having the number occur in your daily life. For example, if a grocery total is $6.66, you may feel compelled to add or subtract an item.
  • Driving around your neighborhood to change your odometer reading from 666 to 667 before you park your car.
  • Becoming particularly nervous or uncomfortable if 666 appears frequently, drawing connections between coincidental events.

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia and Route 666

One of the most famous examples of the fear of the number 666 is the renaming of a famous highway in the American Southwest. U.S. Highway 666 was so-named by the American Association of State Highway Officials in 1926 according to official naming guidelines, as it was the sixth spur off U.S. Highway 66 (the infamous Route 66).

Over time, the New Mexico section of Highway 666 proved to be statistically dangerous. Skeptics believe that this was due to the road being improperly designed or maintained for increasing traffic loads. However, many believed that it was actually the road’s name that caused accidents and fatalities. Soon Highway 666 became known as the Devil’s Highway.

Treating Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia

The fear of the number 666 is surprisingly common, although a true phobia is relatively rare.

The course of treatment for hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia will largely depend on your goals for treatment. Are you trying to resolve conflicted religious views? Do you simply want to stop compulsive phobia-induced behaviors?

For many clients, cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective and highly successful treatment. This is true for most cases of specific phobia.

Source:

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th Ed.).

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