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Dodging a 'Baby of the Beast' Birthdate

MIKE PESCA reporting:

I'm Mike Pesca in New York.

To true hexakosioihexekonta-hexaphobes, those who fear 666, tomorrow is a day that comes once a century never to be thought of again, after what must be a tense 24 hours. But to another group, 6-6-06 is a day that will live on forever. These folks aren't with us yet. They're the ones who are to be born tomorrow: The babies of The Beast.

(Soundbite of song, “Number of the Beast”)

Mr. BRUCE DICKINSON (Lead Singer, Iron Maiden): (Singing) 666, the number of the Beast. Hell and fire was spawned and released…

(Soundbite of children singing)

Unidentified Children: (Singing) …bake our bread, bake our bread. This is the way we bake our bread so early…

PESCA: In the movie The Omen, young Damien was born of the jackal. Tomorrow, a new baby is set to be born of Michelle Michlik(ph) of Fairfax County, Virginia.

Ms. MICHELLE MICHLIK: I would be proud, whoever my son is. And if the anti-Christ is who he is, you know, that's who he's going to be.

PESCA: Actually, Michelle dodged the Beelza-bullet. After we taped that interview, her son came a little early. It's easy for her, then, to be raveling in the Book of Revelation's base coincidence. She's something of a hexakosioihexekonta-hexaphile. But for moms with due dates on or around June 6th, there is worry. Not necessarily that their child will actually be the Son of Perdition, the Lord of Lies, the Dark One, Belial - but that their child will be teased. And as a mere mortal, have no dark powers with which to smite his tormentors.

Mary Supinger(ph) of Redding, California is eight-plus months pregnant.

Ms. MARY SUPINGER: I don't think it would bother us too much. I think in the future, I would worry about him having to constantly write down 6-6-06 as his birth date. So I think if given the choice, we probably would prefer not to give birth on that date, just for that sake.

PESCA: But Supinger is not willing to induce labor to avoid that date. In fact, there is some debate within the obstetrics community about the wisdom of inducing labor, or scheduling a caesarian section, just on a patient's whim. Then again, what's superstition to a doctor might be firm religious belief to a mother.

Rachel Masch is the associate director of the Family Planning Division of the NYU Medical Center. She has no patients who have asked to be induced to avoid 6-6-06. But in her career, she has heard just about every other reason for inducing birth.

Dr. RACHEL MASCH (Associate Director, Family Planning Division, NYU Medical Center): The classic one is people who want to be delivered before New Year for tax reasons. And there are all sorts of other reasons: going away on vacation. There're people whose partners may be going overseas. There're people who have a favorite relative that had been born on a certain day that had recently died.

PESCA: Many June mothers-to-be who gather in Internet chat rooms to discuss the 666 birthday have displayed a keen knowledge of numerology, notices the very pregnant A.J. Walsh.

Ms. A.J. WALSH: And then there's the people in the camp that says, oh, well, technically - and I love how everybody becomes, you know, Gregorian calendar expert - well, technically it's 06-06-2006. So unless it was six A.D., that birth date doesn't mean anything. So, you know, had this happened a couple thousand years ago, you know, it would clearly be cause for concern.

PESCA: If you really want to be technical, many scholars who have examined the original Greek, from which the Bible was written, say that 666 is actually a mistranslation. It's actually 616, a relief to anyone born tomorrow, but a classic bit of satanic misdirection, getting everyone nervous about June 6th when he really slipped through the door four days ago, 6-1-06.

Mike Pesca, NPR News, New York.

(Soundbite of music)


Mike's piece produced with help from Benjamin B. Newman, which adds up to Ben.

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CHADWICK: NPR's DAY TO DAY continues. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mike Pesca
Mike Pesca first reached the airwaves as a 10-year-old caller to a New York Jets-themed radio show and has since been able to parlay his interests in sports coverage as a National Desk correspondent for NPR based in New York City.