I -just- came across this rumor/urban legend/Internet myth. Since it dates to last month, I suppose that’s not terribly surprising.
It’s common enough, however, to have already made it onto Snopes so I think it’s old enough for inclusion in this year’s round of seasonal Sunday Legends. As a side note though…it wasn’t until I sat down to write this entry that it hit me that I’m already writing this year’s Halloween seasonal legends. How did that happen? [I also promise to start bringing back more non-folklore material again, but I can’t promise when or how much. Just that it will eventually turn up].
So the question, as it stands in Internet-land is this: Is this year’s Halloween the 666th Halloween in history?
The short answer is no, but the ‘exact’ number this year’s Halloween is depends on a lot of factors, up to and including how we’re defining ‘Halloween’.
If we’re counting anything Samhain and Samhain-ish, we’re probably into the thousands. If we’re counting anything we -might- recognize as Halloween, Snopes places the holiday to roughly 800 AD and that’s only due to references in Church materials to holidays that could be seen as proto-modern-Halloween. An actual ‘modern’ Halloween might be placed to somewhere between the American Civil War and the Victorian Era, or slightly later (depending on what you need in terms of practice to make it Halloween). Which means that we would be somewhere in the 150s, or less.
Either way, this is not the 666th Halloween-and you would probably be safe not believing any meme that involves the number 666 as a whole.