End-Times Watcher Sees Satan in an Energy Drink

“And the Devil laughs,” she says, a tall can of Monster Energy in her left hand bobbing up and down with every beat of her well-rehearsed spiel. She continues, “This is how clever Satan is, and how he gets into the Christian home and a Christian’s life, and it breaks God’s heart.”

This comes near the end of a video that went viral soon after it was uploaded on Facebook on November 8. In the video, end-times enthusiast Christine Weick seeks to prove that the Monster Energy logo is satanic.

Her evidence? First of all, the energy drink’s slogan is “Unleash the Beast.” We all know what beast they’re talking about. Also, in the word “Monster” there appears to be a cross in the letter O. Weick doubts this is a Christian usage of the cross, given the can’s use of vulgar terms like “milfs” and “BFC” (i.e., “Big Fucking Can”). Instead she argues that when the drinker takes a swig of Monster, the cross is turned upside-down and thereby made anti-Christian. “Bottoms up,” she says, mimicking the motion.

Weick’s most striking piece of evidence is the large, stylized letter M, which she claims is not one letter but the Hebrew letter Vav repeated three times. In Hebrew, letters have numerical values. The first letter, Alef, is also the number one; the second letter, Bet, is also the number two; etc. Vav, the sixth letter in the Hebrew alphabet and has the numerical value of six. Therefore, according to Weick, Vav Vav Vav is 666—the infamous number of the Beast.

The 666 theory does not, drinkers of Monster will be glad to hear, hold up. Here is the relevant passage from Revelation 13:18: “let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred and sixty-six.” The author of Revelation meant that 666 was a person’s name turned into a number via the Jewish numerological practice of gematria. Since every Hebrew letter was also a number, the letters of a name could be added up to produce that person’s number.

Here’s an example of gematria using an alphabet we’re more familiar with, the Roman alphabet. Say someone’s name was Vic. Each letter in his name is also a Roman numeral. V=5, I=1, C=100. Using gematria, we find that Vic’s number is 5+1+100, or 106.

So whose name adds up to 666? Most biblical scholars believe the beast was the Roman emperor Nero. Nero’s title in Latin was Caesar Nero. The equivalent in Greek, the language of Revelation, was Kaisar Neron. When transliterated into Hebrew, the Greek name became Resh, Samekh, Qoph, Nun, Vav, Resh, Nun. Let gematria do the rest. Resh=200, Samekh=60, Qoph=100, Nun=50, Vav=6, Resh=200, Nun=50. All the letters added together equal 666.

The problem with Weick’s formula is that three Vavs in a row do not add up to 666. They add up to 18. It’s like how three Roman numeral ones in a row do not add up to 111 but to 3.

Of course, this kind of picky debunking would do little to convince Weick. Ever since the Book of Revelation was written, Christians have tried to decode it. They have used gematria to prove that Muhammad, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and countless popes were the Beast. Some have noted with dread that each of Ronald Wilson Reagan’s three names contained six letters. Indeed, when the Reagans retired to Bel Air in 1989, they asked to have their new address changed from 666 to 668 St. Cloud Road.

The truth is that we are evolutionarily hard-wired to find patterns even when they do not exist. Two or three people you know fall ill and you say, “There’s a bug going around.” Every time you press the crosswalk button, the sign eventually says “Walk,” so you press the button every time. A colon and a parenthesis become a human face. Conspiracy theorists find clues in airport murals, music videos, and energy drink labels. Social scientists call this associative or magical thinking, and it is part of what makes us human.

The impulse to find patterns transcends ideological boundaries, which is why it is so hard to fit conspiracy theorists into the traditional left–right spectrum. For example, when Jared Lee Loughner attempted to assassinate U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (in doing so killing six and shooting thirteen others), pundits hungrily combed through his online ramblings for evidence that he was left- or right-wing—whichever ideology the pundit wanted to tarnish by association. Liberals pointed to Loughner’s opposition to fiat currency and centralized government, while conservatives pointed to Loughner’s 9/11 trutherism and anti-religious ideas. The truth was that Loughner wasn’t liberal or conservative. He was a conspiracist. His central belief was that unseen forces were conspiring to control the world. This was ultimately a religious, not political, idea.

A similar case can be made about Christine Weick. At first glance you might consider her a right-winger, but a lot of what she says—that evil corporations are manipulating us with products and advertising—could have come out the mouth of anti-corporate leftist. For Weick, such political labels are probably beyond the point. What is the point is that this world is ruled by a satanic conspiracy. Though she would certainly not phrase it this way, Satan is Christine Weick’s god. He is the prime mover of her universe. Weick searches through the flotsam of our postmodern consumerist world for signs of his presence.

It is comforting, even pleasurable, to find signs. We love realizing there is an arrow hidden in the FedEx logo, or that the eastern coast of South America fits snugly into the western coast of Africa. We want to know there is order, even if that order is malevolent. Satan, New World Order, Illuminati—any order is better than none.

This is why, at the end of her talk, Christine Weick cannot help but smile.