Reeves, Louisiana ditches 666 prefix
After complaints from religious villagers for forty years, Reeves, Louisiana’s telephone prefix has been changed from 666 to 749. I added a smartass comment on the story that “In other news, Satan has announced that the Antichrist is now going by the number 749,” but a much better response comes from Daniel Rutter on the SKEPTIC list, who points out that the new prefix suffers from a very similar numerological difficulty, which you may see for yourself by multiplying 74 by 9. Doh!
Concerns about 666 as the “number of the beast” come from Revelation 13:18. In 2005, Oxford University researchers reported that the earliest known manuscript of that book of the Bible gives the number as 616 rather than 666, which is also the number given in another very early manuscript. One 11th Century manuscript gives the number as 665.