A Polish bus numbered 666 that stops off at Hel is being changed after religious groups accused it of "spreading Satanism"

The 666 bus in Poland
(Image credit: Youtube (Janix))

In the latest piece of news that suggests the world is indeed totally losing its head, a bus route in Poland has been forced to undergo a number change after mounting complaints from conservative religious groups. The reason? Its route number - 666, which terminates at the country's popular northern coastal resort of Hel - has been accused of "spreading Satanism". Yes, really.

According to a report by the BBC, Polish bus company PKS Gdynia, who run the 666 route to Hel each summer, caved to pressure from Christian residents, announcing on their website that they are "turning the last 6 upside down!", company designer Marcin Szwaczyk justifying the change by stating that the route's new number, 669, is "less controversial" in an interview with Polish site trojmiasto.pl.

Poland remains a predominantly Christian nation, with an overwhelming number of nationals identifying as Roman Catholic -  almost 93% labelled themselves as such in a 2018 census conducted across the country. It means the Church has maintained an influential presence in the region.

The number 666, meanwhile, is famously named as the Number Of The Beast in the Bible's New Testament, maintaining its devilish place in popular culture ever since (not least thanks to a certain, trademark Iron Maiden anthem). While it's been a little while since the infamous Satanic Panic swept middle America during the 80s, it seems any mere suggestion of ol' Horned Head himself, however fleeting or tenuous, is enough to send some into meltdown.

For the record, as far as we're aware, the Polish city of Hel has no links to Satanism or any other particularly subversive or controversial movements. It does, however, have a very nice beach, a fishing museum and a seal sanctuary.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.