Claim: The infamous number ‘666’ appears in all product barcodes.
Origins: “No one could buy or sell unless he had this mark, that is, the beast’s name or the number that stands for his name.” —
EAN-13 barcode system is used in 85 countries, making it the most popular product scanning system of its kind in the world. It works by representing numbers as a series of seven vertical lines. Each of the seven lines is either black or white, and the sequence of lines forms a pattern which is recognized as a particular digit when scanned by a computer. Every product is assigned a unique thirteen-digit number (ten digits for the product itself, a check digit, and a couple of flag characters to indicate which organization assigned the number).
Contrary to popular myth, all bar codes don’t include the number 666. This belief arose because the number six is represented by a pattern similar to that of the guard bars used to mark the beginning, middle, and end of every bar code. Since
the guard bars always appear three times in a given bar code, people who mistakenly read them as sixes claimed that the pattern
Barbara “my personal barcode is ‘keep ’em coming!'” Mikkelson
|Universal Product Codes|
Last updated: 27 April 2011
Glover, Jonathan. “666 Not Evil.” Fresno Bee. 23 May 1995 (p. B4). Daily Mail. “Tallest Tragedy in the World.” 8 August 1997 (p. 62).
Also told in:
The Big Book of Urban Legends. New York: Paradox Press, 1994. ISBN 1-56389-165-4 (p. 172).