Fact or Fiction: Are They Evil?


Anton LaVey Part Two:


The press turned their attention toward LaVey soon after the founding of the Church of Satan, particularly with the wedding of radical and left wing journalist, John Raymond to New York socialite Judith Cast on February 1st, 1967. Joe Rosenthal, award-winning photographer, from the San Francisco Chronicle was sent to capture an image, which was printed in the Los Angeles Times and other major newspapers as well.


LaVey began mass distribution of his ideology and philosophies via the release of a record album, The Satanic Mass (Murgenstrumm, 1968).





The album featured a cover graphic that LaVey named the ‘Sigil of Baphomet’. The symbol, now known world wide as a symbol of the Church of Satan or Satanism, is the goat head in a pentagram, circled with the Hebrew word “Leviathan”. This album features part of the rite of baptism written for three-year old Zeena (performed May 23rd 1967).  In addition to the actual recordings of Satanic Rituals, the B-side features LaVey reading sections of the then yet unpublished, The Satanic Bible over music of Beethoven, Wagner and Sousa. He continued with his Friday workshops and he created and brought to fruit his series of “Witches’ Workshops” to instruct women in the art of attaining their will through glamour, feminine whiles, and the exploitation of male desires and fetishes.


By years end of 1969, LaVey and taken monographs he had written to explain the philosophy, rituals and ideologies of the Church of Satan and fused them together, along with all of his influences from Ayn Rand, Nietzsche, Mencken, and London, and with the base wisdom of the carney’s. He prefaced all of these essays and rites with reworked excerpts from Ragnar Redbeard’s Might is Right and he finished it with “Satanized” copies of John Dee’s Enochian Keys to create his The Satanic Bible.

The Satanic Bible (Underground Edition).pdf – Epernicus

The Satanic Bible(1)

It has never gone out of print and remains the main source for the contemporary satanic cults, groups, and churches.


The publication of The Satanic Bible was followed in 1971 by The Compleat Witch (re-released in 1989 as The Satanic Witch), a manual that instructs on “Lesser Magic”-the ways and means of reading and manipulating people and their actions toward the fulfillment of one’s desired goals. A companion piece to The Satanic Bible was The Satanic Rituals (1972) and contains rituals taken from a satanic tradition identified by LaVey in various world cultures. Two collections of essays and rhetoric on society, which can be fun and light to down right sordid, The Devil’s Notebook (1992) and Satan Speaks (1998), complete his writings and published works.


Since the inception of the Church of Satan, the organization has attracted a variety of people who all seemed to share an alienation from conventional, mainstream religions, including such celebrities as Jayne Mansfield and Sammy Davis Jr., as well as rock stars King Diamond and Marilyn Manson, who all, for at least a time, were card carrying members.



laVey counted among his associates Robert Fuest, director of the Vincent Price “Dr. Phibes” Films, as well as the film The Devil’s Rain; Jacques Valee, ufologist and computer scientist, he was the basis for the character Lacombe in Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind; and Aime Michel known as a cave spelunker and publisher of Morning of Magicians.


Many an article in the news media published worldwide spread LaVey’s influence and notoriety. Magazines such as Look, McCall’s, Newsweek, and Time, men’s magazines, and talk shows such as Phil Donahue and Johnny Carson. The publicity left a mark on novels like Rosemary’s Baby (Completed by Ira Levin during the early day’s of the Church’s high profile media blitz” and Leiber’s Our Lady of Darkness, and films such as Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Devil’s Rain (1975), The Car (1977), and many of the “Devil Cult” films spanning from the 1970’s through the 1990’s. All picked up symbolism from LaVey’s writings. A feature length documentary, Satanis: The Devil’s Mass (1969) covered the rituals, ideology and philosophy of the Church, while LaVey was profiled inn Nick Bougas’ 1993 video documentary Speak of the Devil.


LaVey’s musicianship is preserved for posterity on several recordings, the two most prominent are Strange Music (1994) and Satan Takes a Holiday (1995), both originally released by Amarillo Records, now available and still in print from Reptilian Records. The tone of LaVey’s music shows a trend toward tunes from the 1930’s through the 1950’s, which range from fun and humorous to doom-laden and dark, let’s not forget the devil-themed songs. LaVey created his pieces on a series of self-programmed synthesizers, imitating various instrumental groups. They are very impressive, as these are not multitrack recordings, but are done in one take with the sounds of instrumental groups created through the simultaneous use of a number of synthesizers played by LaVey’s hands as well as his feet, on an organ-style food pedal keyboard hooked up through a midi connection.


Two biographies have been written about LaVey: The Devil’s Avenger (1974) Burton Wolfe and Secret Life of a Satanist (1990) Blanche Barton. Particularly detractors of LaVey, who accuse him of self-promotional exaggeration and downright lying, have disputed the truthfulness and authenticity of some of the events described in these works in recent years. LaVey was an actor, a skilled showman, and a talent that he never denied. However, the number of incidents detailed in both biographies that can be authenticated via photographic and documentary evidence outweighs the few items in dispute. All in all, the fact is that LaVey pursued a course that exposed him the dizzying heights and the dismal depths of humanity, full of encounters with fascinating people; it climaxed with his founding of the Church of Satan and let to a notorious and feared celebrity status on a worldwide scale. The Church has survived his death, and continues today, through the medium of his writings, continually attracts new members who see themselves reflected in the philosophy that LaVey called Satanism.


Part Three will discuss LaVey’s definition of Satanism, and I think it may surprise you.


Photo Credit: Church of Satan Archives (LaVey, Anton 1968)




Official Church of Satan Website

Church of Satan: A Historical Overview by Tina Parsons 2011

The Devil’s Avenger (1974) by Burton Wolfe

Secret Life of a Satanist (1990) by Blanche Barton