What is it Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia?

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, or an irrational fear of the number 666, is surprisingly common. Related to triskaidekaphobia, or fear of the number 13, this phobia has origins in both religious beliefs and secular superstitions. In conjunction with other symptoms, this fear could be representative of magical thinking, possibly evidence of a delusional disorder.

Some experts question whether fear of 666 should be classified as a phobia.

While the origin of the word may be Greek, the phobia itself comes from a Bible verse (Revelation 13:18), in which the number 666 is told to be “the number of the Beast (Satan)”.

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is also related arithmophobia and numerophobia (which both mean fear of numbers).

This tongue-twisting term comes from Greek root words for the numbers: “Hexakósioi” meaning "six hundred", “hexékonta” meaning "sixty" and “héx” meaning "six".

Symptoms of Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia

Fear of the number 666 can manifest anywhere numbers are present, even if 666 is not present (such as being afraid to see the next page in a list that might get to that line number, etc.) Some sufferers refuse to live in a home that bears this road number, dial a phone number with 666 anywhere in the number, etc.

People who believe in the superstitions associated with this fear may adhere to conspiracy theories of varied types, such a fear that “the number of the beast is encoded” in the nation’s banking system”, in their medical or government records and even could be a cause of personal problems because the number is somehow “encoded” in their personal files. Although the true phobia is rare, this superstition is notably popular.

  • extreme anxiety, dread
  • shortness of breath
  • rapid breathing
  • heart palpitation
  • excessive sweating
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • confusion / inability to articulate clearly
  • lack of focus
  • irritability
  • diarrhea
  • shaking
  • feelings of powerlessness
  • obsession with the subject of the phobia
  • fear or feelings of losing control
  • avoidance behavior
  • headaches

Learn more about phobia symptoms

Causes of Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance.

Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.)

It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.)

By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well understood, are driven by social anxiety and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”.

In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation or seeing something on the news or on TV and movies.

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

Learn more about the causes of phobias

Treatment for Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Habit strategies to relax
  • Cognitive therapy (CT)
  • In vivo exposure
  • Response prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

Learn more about phobia treatments

Book Shelf

The list of books below are hand picked by the staff at Massive Phobia. It's a mixture of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Habit Strategies, Trauma Healing, Mindfulness, Meditation, Buddhist Knowledge and Somatic Study. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.