A Devil of a Day

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The Fox movie "The Omen" is being released on 6/6/06.

The number 666 has long held significance for those who consider Revelations 13:18's dark reference to the number as a sign that it's a mark of the devil. But now that the actual calendar day is about to arrive — on Tuesday, 6/6/06 — it's not only the superstitious among us who are looking ahead nervously and changing plans for the day. Marketers are viewing it as a selling opportunity they just can't pass up.

John Colone works in Hell — Hell, Michigan, that is — so he's doing his best to capitalize on the devilish date. In addition to being mayor of the town of 72, Colone owns Screams Ice Cream, where cones can be had this week for just 66 cents, and T-shirts with hellish slogans are going for $6.66. "I've Been to Hell and Back," one says.

Two couples are getting married in a chapel in back of Screams, Colone says, because they reasoned that things can only get better if they get married in Hell on the "Day of the Devil." "People at church frowned at me when I mentioned the celebrations this week," says Chad Wines, who works at Screams. "They said 666 was the mark of the beast. But I'm just here to work."

The town of Hell is hardly alone in reveling in this week's ominous numerology. Conservative author Ann Coulter chose the date as the publication day for her lefty-bashing book called Godless: The Church of Liberalism. Radio Free Satan, an online rock station, is hosting a Monday "sin-tennial" party in Los Angeles called "Satan's Rockin' 666 Eve party." The band Slayer planned to launch its "Unholy Alliance Tour" on Tuesday (until a band member got sick), and 20 Century Fox is releasing its remake of The Omen, the 1976 horror film about a boy who bears Satan's 666 mark.

Still, most people don't see the day as cause for celebration. Some pregnant women with babies due around the date scheduled their births for earlier, to avoid leaving their children with an inauspicious birth date. High schools have postponed graduation parties. And discussion groups online have, not surprisingly, warned of a looming Armageddon. Betus.com even offered 10 to 1 odds that the Apocalypse would arrive on the date.

While the superstitious act with extra caution on Tuesday, Colone says his town will party it up. "Everything these days is so serious," Colone says. "There aren't any religious overtones to our celebrations. And what we're really looking forward to is next year, because on 7/7/07, we'll make $1.11 more on stuff."