ON Tuesday the once-in-a-century date of 06/06/06 came around, prompting the Wiltshire Times to investigate the area's links with the Devil.

The date is significant due to a passage in the Bible, in Revelations, chapter 13, which says: "Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred three score and six."

The number 666 was made famous by the film The Omen, which was re-made and released on Tuesday.

Wiltshire has an abundance of tales of devilish goings-on. According to local legends, the Devil was said to have appeared as a hare during the public execution of two men in Warminster, and as a black dog on Palm Sunday in Longbridge Deverill. At Chattle Hole, by the River Wylye, between Corton and Boyton, he is said to have caused the earth to open up and swallow a chapel.

A similar event is said to have happened in Limpley Stoke, where the Devil moved the stones for the church from the bottom of the hill to the top, where Limpley Stoke church now stands. The most famous of tales though, concerns the Iron Age fort of Cley Hill, near Warminster, now more often linked with UFO sightings.

Legend says the Devil was angry with the people of Devizes for converting to Christianity so he travelled to Somerset and dug up a huge sack of earth, with which he planned to bury the town.

On his way, he passed an old man and asked him how far it was to Devizes.

The old man looked at the sack on the Devil's back and guessed his intentions, so told him he had been on his way to the town for years and his hair had turned grey in the meantime. On hearing this, the Devil gave up and dropped the soil where he stood, forming Cley Hill.