Anton Szandor LaVey (born Howard Stanton Levey; April 11, 1930 – October 29, 1997) was an American author, musician, and occultist. He was the founder of the Church of Satan and the religion of LaVeyan Satanism. He authored several books, including The Satanic Bible, The Satanic Rituals, The Satanic Witch, The Devil's Notebook, and Satan Speaks! In addition, he released three albums, including The Satanic Mass, Satan Takes a Holiday, and Strange Music. He played a minor on-screen role and served as technical advisor for the 1975 film The Devil's Rain and served as host and narrator for Nick Bougas' 1989 mondo film Death Scenes.
LaVey was the subject of numerous articles in news media throughout the world, including popular magazines such as Look, McCall's, Newsweek, and Time, and men's magazines. He also appeared on talk shows such as The Joe Pyne Show, Donahue and The Tonight Show, and in two feature-length documentaries: Satanis in 1970 and Speak of the Devil: The Canon of Anton LaVey in 1993. Two official biographies have been written on LaVey, including The Devil's Avenger by Burton H. Wolfe, published in 1974, and The Secret Life of a Satanist by Blanche Barton, published in 1990.
Historian of Satanism Gareth J. Medway described LaVey as a "born showman", with anthropologist Jean La Fontaine describing him as a "colourful figure of considerable personal magnetism". Academic scholars of Satanism Per Faxneld and Jesper Aa. Petersen described LaVey as "the most iconic figure in the Satanic milieu". LaVey was labeled many things by journalists, religious detractors, and Satanists alike, including "The Father of Satanism", the "St. Paul of Satanism",  "The Black Pope", and the "evilest man in the world".
Anton Szandor LaVey
LaVey publicity photo, ca. 1992
|Title||Author of Satanic Bible, High Priest and founder of The Church of Satan|
Howard Stanton Levey
April 11, 1930
|Died||October 29, 1997 (aged 67)|
|Cause of death||Pulmonary edema|
|Partner||Diane Hegarty |
(Not married legally but can be recognized as his girlfriends. He practiced polygamy) Carole Lansing whom he legally married.
|Children||3 including; Karla, Zeena Schreck and Satan Xerxes Carnacki LaVey|
|Denomination||Church of Satan|
|Known for||The Satanic Bible|
Church of Satan
|Profession||Author, musician, occultist, priest|
|Profession||Author, musician, occultist, priest|
LaVey was born Howard Stanton Levey on April 11, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois. His father, Michael Joseph Levey (1903–1992), from Chicago, Illinois, married LaVey's mother, the former Gertrude Augusta Coultron, who was born to a Russian father and mother, who had immigrated to Ohio in 1893; both became naturalized American citizens in 1900. LaVey's family moved to California, where he spent his early life in the San Francisco Bay Area. His parents supported his musical interests, as he tried a number of instruments; his favorites were keyboards such as the pipe organ and the calliope. He did covers of instrumentals like "Harlem Nocturne" by Earle Hagen.
He attended Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California, until the age of 16. LaVey claimed he left high school to join a circus and later carnivals, first as a roustabout and cage boy in an act with the big cats, then as a musician playing the calliope. LaVey later claimed to have seen that many of the same men attended both the bawdy Saturday night shows and the tent revival meetings on Sunday mornings, which reinforced his increasingly cynical view of religion. In the foreword to the German language edition of The Satanic Bible, he cites this as the impetus to defy Christian religion as he knew it. He explains why church-goers employ moral double standards. However, journalist Lawrence Wright investigated LaVey's background and found no evidence LaVey ever worked in a circus either as a musician or a cage boy.
His "genius" on keyboards later garnered him work as an organist in bars, lounges, and nightclubs. While playing organ in Los Angeles burlesque houses, he allegedly had a brief affair with then-unknown Marilyn Monroe, when she was a dancer at the Mayan Theater. This is challenged by those who then knew Monroe, as well as the manager of the Mayan, Paul Valentine, who said she had never been one of his dancers, nor had the theater ever been used as a burlesque house.
According to his biography, LaVey moved back to San Francisco, where he worked for three years as a photographer for the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). He dabbled as a psychic investigator, looking into "800 calls" referred to him by SFPD. Later biographers questioned whether LaVey ever worked with the SFPD, as there are no records substantiating the claim. During this period, LaVey was friends with a number of writers associated with Weird Tales magazine; a picture of him with George Haas, Robert Barbour Johnson, and Clark Ashton Smith appears in Blanche Barton's biography The Secret Life of a Satanist.
In 1950, LaVey met Carole Lansing, and they married the following year. Lansing gave birth to LaVey's first daughter, Karla LaVey, born in 1952. They divorced in 1960, after LaVey became entranced by Diane Hegarty. Hegarty and LaVey never married; however, she was his companion for 25 years and mothered his second daughter, Zeena Galatea Schreck (nee LaVey), in 1963. At the end of their relationship, Hegarty sued for palimony.
Becoming a local celebrity through his paranormal research and live performances as an organist, including playing the Wurlitzer at the Lost Weekend cocktail lounge, he attracted many San Francisco notables to his parties. Guests included Carin de Plessin, Michael Harner, Chester A. Arthur III, Forrest J Ackerman, Fritz Leiber, Cecil E. Nixon, and Kenneth Anger. LaVey formed a group called the Order of the Trapezoid, which later evolved into the governing body of the Church of Satan. According to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church of Satan represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organisation which propounded a coherent Satanic discourse".
LaVey began presenting Friday night lectures on the occult and rituals. A member of this circle suggested that he had the basis for a new religion. According to LaVey himself, on Walpurgisnacht, April 30, 1966, he ritualistically shaved his head, allegedly "in the tradition of ancient executioners", declared the founding of the Church of Satan and proclaimed 1966 as "the Year One", Anno Satanas-the first year of the Age of Satan (it was later demonstrated that LaVey in fact shaved his head because he lost a bet and made up the "ancient executioners" story after the fact). LaVey's image has been described as "Mephistophelian". Media attention followed the subsequent Satanic wedding ceremony of journalist John Raymond to New York City socialite Judith Case on February 1, 1967. The Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle were among the newspapers that printed articles dubbing him "The Black Pope". LaVey performed Satanic baptisms (including the first Satanic baptism in history for his three-year-old daughter Zeena, dedicating her to Satan and the Left-Hand Path, which garnered worldwide publicity and was originally recorded on The Satanic Mass LP) and Satanic funerals (including one for naval Machinist-Repairman Third-Class Edward Olsen, complete with a chrome-helmeted honor guard), and released a record album entitled The Satanic Mass.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, LaVey melded ideological influences from Friedrich Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, H. L. Mencken, and Social Darwinism with the ideology and ritual practices of the Church of Satan. He wrote essays introduced with reworked excerpts from Ragnar Redbeard's Might Is Right and concluded with "Satanized" versions of John Dee's Enochian Keys to create books such as The Complete Witch (re-released in 1989 as The Satanic Witch), and The Satanic Rituals. The latter book also included rituals drawing on the work of H. P. Lovecraft. The Satanic Bible included excerpts from Ragnar Redbeard's Might Is Right and concluded with "Satanized" versions of John Dee's Enochian Keys. Admitting his use of Might is Right, LaVey stated that he did so in order to "immortalize a writer who had profoundly reached me".
In 1972, the public work at LaVey's Black House in San Francisco was curtailed and work was continued via sanctioned regional "grottoes". In early 1975 LaVey announced that higher degrees of initiation could be given in return for a financial contribution. In June 1975, editor of the Church's newsletter, Michael Aquino, left the Church of Satan and formed the theistic Temple of Set  claiming to take an unknown number of dissenters with him. The Church maintains this policy announcement was designed to "clean house" of members who didn't understand Satanic philosophy. 
In July 1984, Hegarty issued a restraining order against LaVey, which he did not contest. LaVey's third and final companion was Blanche Barton. On November 1, 1993, Barton gave birth to Satan Xerxes Carnacki LaVey. Barton succeeded LaVey as the head of the Church after his death and has since stepped down from that role and handed it to Magus Peter H. Gilmore.
Anton LaVey died on October 29, 1997, in St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco of pulmonary edema. He was taken to St. Mary's, a Catholic hospital, because it was the closest available. A secret Satanic funeral, attended by invitation only, was held in Colma, after which LaVey's body was cremated.
Three months after his death, his estranged daughter Zeena Schreck and her husband Nikolas Schreck published a nine-page "fact sheet", in which they endorsed Wright's earlier allegations and claimed that many more of LaVey's stories about his life had been false.
LaVey included references to other esoteric and religious groups throughout his writings, claiming for instance that the Yezidis and Knight's Templar were carriers of a Satanic tradition that had been passed down to the twentieth-century. Scholar of Satanism Per Faxneld believed that these references were deliberately tongue-in-cheek and ironic, however he noted that many Satanists who had read LaVey's writings had taken them to be literal historical claims about the past. Although he regularly derided older esotericists, LaVey also relied upon their work; for instance making use of John Dee's Enochian system in The Satanic Bible. Faxneld therefore believed that there was a tension in LaVey's thought between his desire to establish prestigious Satanic predecessors and his desire to be seen as the founder of the first real Satanic society.
Dyrendel argued that LaVey partook in conspiracy culture as he grew older, for he was greatly concerned with modern society's impact on individual agency. LaVey was conservative in his attitude to law and order, and was opposed to drug use. He supported eugenics and believed that it would be a necessity in the future. LaVey hated rock and metal music, with or without "Satanic" lyrics, and often expressed his distaste for it.
Historian of Satanism Gareth J. Medway described LaVey as "A born showman", with anthropologist Jean La Fontaine describing him as "A colourful figure of considerable personal magnetism". Medway contrasted LaVey from the likes of Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Charles Manson, noting that whereas the latter were the charismatic leaders of apocalyptic communes, within the Church of Satan, "No one hung onto [LaVey's] every word, and church members [were] allowed considerable autonomy."
Academic scholars of Satanism Per Faxneld and Jesper Aa. Petersen described LaVey as "the most iconic figure in the satanic milieu", while Asbjo/rn Dyrendel described him as "the founder of modern Satanism". In his 2001 examination of Satanists, the sociologist James R. Lewis noted that, to his surprise, his findings "consistently pointed to the centrality of LaVey's influence on modern Satanism". As a result he "concluded that - despite his heavy dependence on prior thinkers - LaVey was directly responsible for the genesis of Satanism as a serious religious (as opposed to a purely literary) movement".
His books The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals, have been cited as having "an influence far beyond" the Church of Satan's membership. In 1995, the religious studies scholar Graham Harvey noted that although the Church had no organized presence in Britain, LaVey's writings were widely accessible in British bookshops.
Due to increasing visibility through his books, LaVey was the subject of numerous articles in the news media throughout the world, including popular magazines such as Look, McCall's, Newsweek, and Time, and men's magazines. He also appeared on talk shows such as The Joe Pyne Show, Donahue, and The Tonight Show, and in a feature-length documentary called Satanis in 1970. He would be credited for the mainstreaming of Satanism and witchcraft in the U.S. during the 1960s, 1970s, and after. LaVey claimed that he had been appointed consultant to the film Rosemary's Baby, which revolved around a group of fictional Satanists, and that he also had a cameo appearance in the film as the Devil, however critics have argued that none of this was true. In an article published in Rolling Stone magazine in 1991, the journalist Lawrence Wright revealed that through his own investigative work, he found that many of LaVey's claims about his life had been untrue. Two official biographies have been written on LaVey, including The Devil's Avenger by Burton H. Wolfe, published in 1974 and The Secret Life of a Satanist by Blanche Barton, published in 1990.
| High Priest of the Church of Satan
Peter H. Gilmore after vacancy
Anton La Vey, genius of the calliope and organ entertains Sunday afternoon and evenings
Both Karla LaVey [sic] and Schreck were the product of LaVey's common-law marriage to Diane Hegarty from 1962 to 1986. One of the highlights of that unholy union was Schreck's 1967 satanic baptism at the Black House, when she was three years old.
On paper, the agreement seemed friendly enough: She got the 1967 Jaguar. He got the 1936 Cord, the 1972 Datsun 280 and the 1976 Cadillac limousine. Still to be decided were the medieval torture implements, the crystal ball, the devil bust, the bed of nails and the classic wooden coffin. But now, the whole thing has become a devil of an issue in San Francisco Superior Court, as the nation's first prince and princess of darkness square off in legal proceedings.
Anton Szandor LaVey, high priest of San Francisco's Church of Satan, lived with Diane Hegarty for 22 years. Now they are squaring off in a palimony suit over household property.
LaVey [...] said the mystic ceremony was the first such baptism in history.
Anton LaVey, who founded the Church of Satan in 1966 and wrote the "Satanic Bible" as a guide for international followers, has died at the age of 67. LaVey was cremated Tuesday after a satanic funeral at Woodlawn Memorial Chapel in Colma. Security concerns led his daughter, Church of Satan High Priestess Karla LaVey, to demand "absolute secrecy from all who knew of LaVey's death and satanic funeral," family spokesman Lee Houskeeper said. ...
Amarillo Records was an independent record label owned by Gregg Turkington that operated out of San Francisco from 1992 to 2001. The label specialized in releasing experimental rock music and comedy records. It released several solo recordings by Church Of Satan founder Anton LaVey the 1996 sampler compilation You Gan't Boar Like an Eabla When You Work with Turkrys.Blanche Barton
Blanche Barton (born Sharon Leigh Densely; October 1, 1961) is an American religious leader who is Magistra Templi Rex within the Church of Satan, and is addressed by Satanists as Magistra Barton.Church of Satan
The Church of Satan is a religious organization dedicated to Satanism as codified in The Satanic Bible. The Church of Satan was established at the Black House in San Francisco, California, on Walpurgisnacht, April 30, 1966, by Anton Szandor LaVey, who was the Church's High Priest until his death in 1997. In 2001, Peter H. Gilmore was appointed to the position of High Priest, and the church's headquarters were moved to Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, New York City.The church does not believe in the Devil, nor a Christian or Islamic notion of Satan. Peter H. Gilmore describes its members as "skeptical atheists", embracing the Hebrew root of the word "Satan" as "adversary". The church views Satan as a positive archetype who represents pride, individualism, and enlightenment, and as a symbol of defiance against the Abrahamic faiths which LaVey criticized for what he saw as the suppression of humanity's natural instincts.
The Church of Satan describes its structural basis as a cabal that is "an underground cell-system of individuals who share the basis of [our] philosophy". Membership in the Church of Satan is available on two levels: registered membership and active membership. Registered members are those who choose to affiliate on a formal level by filling out the required information and sending a one time registration fee. Active membership is available for those who wish to take a more active role in the organization, and is subject to the completion of a more comprehensive application. The organization does not disclose official membership numbers. The church provides wedding, funeral, and baptismal services to members. Such ceremonies are performed by a member of the church's priesthood.
The Church maintains a purist approach to Satanism as expounded by LaVey, rejecting the legitimacy of any other organizations who claim to be Satanists. Scholars agree that there is no reliably documented case of Satanic continuity prior to the founding of the Church of Satan. It was the first organized church in modern times to be devoted to the figure of Satan, and according to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organization which propounded a coherent satanic discourse".Death Scenes
Death Scenes is a 1989 mondo film starring Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey and directed by Nick Bougas.Diane Hegarty
Diane Hegarty (born July 10, 1942) is co-founder of the Church of Satan, which she co-founded with her longtime partner Anton LaVey.First Satanic Church
The First Satanic Church is an organization founded by Karla LaVey on October 31, 1997 in San Francisco, California, that is dedicated to LaVeyan Satanism as codified by Anton LaVey in The Satanic Bible. The church's stated mission is to carry on the legacy of Anton LaVey through "the study of Satanism and the occult sciences". The church operates The 600 Club, an internet forum dedicated to discussions of Satanism.The church's website claims the organization to have been founded in 1966, and the 1999 date to be a "re-establishment" of the Church of Satan, claiming direct continuity with Anton LaVey. Karla asserts that she is re-representing the original teachings of her father from which the current administration of the Church of Satan has departed, and maintains an elitist stance of her fathers original organization. Anton LaVey's book, The Satanic Bible is stated as required reading prior to joining the First Satanic Church.Karla LaVey
Karla Maritza LaVey (born 1952) is an American radio host, former high priestess of the Church of Satan and founder and administrator of the First Satanic Church in San Francisco, California. Karla has been featured on television, radio, in news and magazine articles, including Fox News. She has lectured on the subject of Satanism around the world. She can be seen in the films Satanis: The Devil's Mass, Witchcraft 70, and Speak of the Devil. She is the eldest daughter of Anton LaVey.Letters from the Devil
Letters from the Devil: The Lost Writing of Anton Szandor LaVey is a volume are over 60 tabloid newspaper articles written by Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan.Satan Speaks!
Satan Speaks! is a book by Anton LaVey, published in 1998 by Feral House. The book is a collection of essays completed shortly before LaVey's death on October 29, 1997. It includes a foreword by Marilyn Manson and an introduction by Blanche Barton, and features cover art by artist Coop.Satan Takes a Holiday
Satan Takes a Holiday is an album by Anton Szandor LaVey, released through Amarillo Records in 1995. The collection is an eclectic body of songs LaVey constructed using his synthesizer. A few of these songs are standards, and their composers well known. Nevertheless, LaVey chose all these songs to create deliberate modes of feeling and mood. His original treatments of many of these songs, and others similar to them in context and style, were performed on a variety of organs that he mastered over the course of his life. He performed many such songs in burlesque houses, various circuses, carnivals, and roadhouses.
LaVey is joined on this recording by Blanche Barton, High Priestess of the Church of Satan and Nick Bougas, director of LaVey's film biography, Speak of the Devil: The Canon of Anton LaVey.Satanis
For the DC Comics character, see Lord Satanis
Satanis: The Devil's Mass is a 1970 American documentary film about Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan. It was directed and produced by Ray Laurent and released by Something Weird Video on 17 June 2003. Filmed in San Francisco, California, the film is a compilation of ritual footage and interviews with LaVey's family, neighbors, and church members, as well Christian priests and Mormon missionaries. Display ads at theater showings read: "Satanis is the most pertinent, and perhaps the most shocking film of our time. But it’s definitely not a movie for everyone. If you choose not to see it, we will understand.”Strange Music (album)
Strange Music is an album by Anton LaVey released in 1994 through Amarillo Records.The Devil's Notebook
The Devil's Notebook is the fourth book by Anton LaVey, published in 1992 by Feral House. It includes a foreword by Adam Parfrey and design by Sean Tejaratchi. The book contains forty-one essays in which LaVey provides commentary on such topics as nonconformity, occult faddism, Nazism, terrorism, cannibalism, erotic politics, the “Goodguy badge”, demoralization and the construction of artificial human companions. Included are instructions for the creation of what LaVey terms "total environments", or places of magical evocation, where the enlightened may escape the deleterious effects of contemporary existence.The Devil's Rain
The Devil's Rain is a 1975 horror film directed by Robert Fuest. It was one of several B-films in which William Shatner starred between the original Star Trek television series and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). Other cast members included Tom Skerritt, Ernest Borgnine, Eddie Albert, Ida Lupino, Keenan Wynn and John Travolta in his film debut in a minor role. Satanist Anton LaVey is credited as the film's technical advisor and appeared in the film playing a minor role.The Satanic Bible
The Satanic Bible is a collection of essays, observations, and rituals published by Anton LaVey in 1969. It is the central religious text of LaVeyan Satanism, and is considered the foundation of its philosophy and dogma. It has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary Satanism. Though The Satanic Bible is not considered to be sacred scripture in the way that the Christian Bible is to Christianity, LaVeyan Satanists regard it as an authoritative text as it is a contemporary text that has attained for them scriptural status. It extols the virtues of exploring one's own nature and instincts. Believers have been described as "atheistic Satanists" because they believe that God is not an external entity, but rather something that each person creates as a projection of their own personality—a benevolent and stabilizing force in their life. There have been thirty printings of The Satanic Bible, through which it has sold over a million copies.The Satanic Bible is composed of four books: The Book of Satan, The Book of Lucifer, The Book of Belial, and The Book of Leviathan. The Book of Satan challenges the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule, and promotes Epicureanism. The Book of Lucifer holds most of the philosophy in The Satanic Bible, with twelve chapters discussing topics such as indulgence, love, hate, and sex. LaVey also uses the book to dispel rumors surrounding the religion. In The Book of Belial, LaVey details rituals and magic. He discusses the required mindset and focus for performing a ritual, and provides instructions for three rituals: those for sex, compassion, or destruction. The Book of Leviathan provides four invocations for Satan, lust, compassion, and destruction. It also lists the nineteen Enochian Keys (adapted from John Dee's Enochian keys), provided both in Enochian and in English translation.There have been both positive and negative reactions to The Satanic Bible. It has been described as "razor-sharp" and "influential". Criticism of The Satanic Bible stems both from qualms over LaVey's writing and disapproval of the content itself. LaVey has been criticized for plagiarizing sections, and accusations have been made that his philosophies are largely borrowed. The Satanic Bible has been heavily condemned as dangerous, particularly to adolescents. Attempts have been made to ban the book in schools, public libraries, and prisons, though these attempts are somewhat rare.The Satanic Rituals
The Satanic Rituals is a book by Anton Szandor LaVey published in 1972 by Avon Books as a companion volume to The Satanic Bible. The book outlines nine rituals and ceremonies intended for group performance, with an introductory essay to each. Some of the rites presented are inspired by other groups, such as the Yezidis, Freemasons, Knights Templar and Order of the Illuminati, and some inspired by fictional works. The book includes the child baptism ritual used by Anton LaVey at the first publicly recorded Satanic baptism in history for his youngest daughter Zeena.The Satanic Witch
The Satanic Witch is a book by Anton LaVey, currently published by Feral House. The book is a treatise on lesser magic, a system of manipulation by means of applied psychology and glamour (or "wile and guile") to bend an individual or situation to one's will. The book is introduced as an extension of LaVey's witches workshops which were conducted prior to the founding of the Church. The book presents its methods as a tool of the feminine, and how the female can enchant and manipulate men.
The book was first published as The Compleat Witch, or What to Do When Virtue Fails, in 1971 by Dodd, Mead & Company, The first paperback edition was released by Lancer Books in 1972. It was republished by Feral House in 1989 with an introduction by Zeena LaVey, wherein it was retitled The Satanic Witch; and again in 2003 with a new introduction by Peggy Nadramia and afterword by Blanche Barton. The book concludes with a bibliography of over 170 books on topics of psychology, anthropology, sociology, biology and volumes on sexuality and body language. The publisher describes the book as "...undiluted Gypsy lore regarding the forbidden knowledge of seduction and manipulation."The Secret Life of a Satanist
The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey is a biography on the life of Anton LaVey, the founder of LaVeyan Satanism and the Church of Satan, released in 1990 through Feral House publishing. The book is written by Blanche Barton, administrator of the Church of Satan and partner and confidant of LaVey."