Monday, June 5, 2006 Things are hotting up in Hell as residents gear up to celebrate 6.6.06. Those who live in the hamlet of Hell, Michigan – 100km west of Detroit – are hoping to mark tomorrow with a bang.
Tourists from throughout the US are expected to visit the town, which has just 72 residents. Souvenir shop owner John Colone,who is also the mayor, said: ‘I’ve got “666” T-shirts and mugs. I’m only ordering 666 (of the items) so, once they’re gone, that’s it.
‘Everyone who comes will get a letter of authenticity saying, “You’ve celebrated June 6, 2006, in Hell”.’ Most of the 60-year-old’s goods are on sale for $6.66 (£3.50), including deeds to one square inch of Hell.
A fancy dress contest is also planned. Mike ‘Smitty’ Hickey, owner of the Dam Site Inn, said: ‘We’re all about having fun here. ‘I don’t think we’re going to get the cult crowd, the devil worshippers or anything like that.’
But not a l l residents are happy with the town marking the day. Jason LeTeff, said: ‘Here I am living in Hell, taking my kids to church and trying to teach them the right things – and the town where we live is having a 666 party.’
There are two theories about how Hell, Michigan, got its name. The first is that two German travellers stepped out of a stagecoach one sunny afternoon in the 1830s, and one said to the other, ‘So schön hell’ – which roughly translates as, ‘so bright and beautiful’.
Apparently, some locals overheard and the name stuck. The second idea is that the town’s founder George Reeves was asked what he thought the unnamed hamlet should be called after Michigan was made a state in the late 1930s.
He is said to have replied: ‘I don’t care, you can name it Hell if you want to.’ The name was officially changed on October 13, 1841.