The Mark

One mysterious grave marker identifies the deceased at one Salt Lake City cemetery as “Lily E. Gray, Victim of the Beast 666.”  Was this Lily Gray a victim of some sort of demonic entity?  Since she died a little under 60 years ago, there should be records of her existence, death, and life, but all leads go nowhere in this case.  And what of her mysterious epitaph?

The number 666 bears a great deal of significance for a great deal of people both religious and not.  It signifies evil, destruction, and the antichrist to many, and is often considered synonymous with the devil.  And when it is connected to the name, “The Beast,” it is ever more controversial as this serves to remove any confusion about the identity of the demonic creature it is referring to.  The numeric significance of the mark of the beast can be traced back to the Biblical book of Revelation.  Of course many scholars think the symbol was actually referential to the emperor Nero, and that the “mark of the beast” was actually a reference to the requirement many had for a Libellus, or document certifying the performance of Roman ritual animal sacrifice.  Of course this was seen by many Christians as a direct conflict with their own beliefs.  Failure to sacrifice according to Roman law was punishable by death, and those who did not possess proof in the form of this Libellus were forbidden from trade until such proof could be acquired.  At the time, it was generally accepted that Nero had become the antichrist.

But the number remains, along with its widely held controversy.  Several occult figures, including Aleister Crowley adopted the number to add to their controversy.  The number is used in heavy metal music often for the same reason.  The sum of every number on a roulette wheel is six hundred and sixty six.  In 1980, a controversial lottery drawing resulted in the winning numbers being 666.  An investigation followed, and found that the machine had been tampered with to favor 4’s and 6’s.  Fear of the number is so widespread that many people avoid the digits at all cost.  The aversion is so widespread, in fact, that it has even been given a label.  Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is the fear of the number 666.

But is there anything more to this than mere coincidence?  The interesting aspect of this unexplainable number is that coincidence seems to be one of the tenets of it being so unexplainable.  It seems to be no more than a series of hard to figure out coincidences that have spanned over two thousand years, and have brought with it many watchful eyes to point out the controversy.

Is the gravestone of Lily E. Gray anything more than a family member whose relatives considered too precious to be taken by anything more than the devil itself?  Or was she actually the victim of some demonic presence?  And what happened to her records and the records of everyone around her?  Perhaps that is the greatest mystery here.