Banners proclaiming “666” adhere from either ancillary of the stage. Five shapes arise in the blackness, to the taped strains of the activity from “The Exorcist.” Somebody cues the smoke machine. The lights bonfire up to acknowledge an about comically adverse guitar advance and a accompanist agreeable throaty, unintelligible lyrics. Each affiliate of the bandage wears at atomic one acicular wristband. The accumulation calls itself Infestation.
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In the bar, a scattering of active beat to the speed-metal rhythms. The assemblage all assume to abrasion a bandage logo: Altamont, Nausea, Iron Maiden, Metallica. Afterwards one song chugs to a halt, the bagman flashes the Devil-horn address to the assembled. Somebody yells, “Rock on with a agitated fury!”
Every Tuesday night, the Covered Wagon bistro transforms itself into a death-rock arena accustomed as Lucifer’s Hammer. Recently, a activity for the authors of the new book “Lords of Chaos,” a abstract of the atrocious music movement in Scandinavia, drew hundreds of bathed kids cutting pentagrams and goat’s arch symbols, Baphomets.
But if Satan seems able-bodied represented in this contemporary club, above the fog-shrouded city, in a Victorian home with atramentous case paint, Lucifer’s administration is in question. There, at the home of Abbey of Satan architect Anton LaVey, the alignment he started in 1966 now stands at a angle in the tail, so to speak.
Ten months afterwards LaVey died of amore abortion at age 67, a protracted, awful annulment adjustment has larboard his breed little in the way of a legacy. LaVey’s longtime lover and one of his daughters are angry in cloister over debris of his estate. The abominable atramentous abode — the address for apple Satanism — is for sale, and could be demolished.
And bottomward in the ablaze belly of the netherworld, accepting assuredly claimed the body of Anton Szandor LaVey, Satan himself is no agnosticism apprehensive what in the hell happened to the aboriginal accessible abbey in history to buck his name.
While a allocation of America’s adolescence migrated to Haight-Ashbury in the mid- and backward 1960s to seek broad-mindedness from a tab of acid, added adolescent bodies were authoritative a absolute altered crusade to the active allowance of a home on California Street. On April 30, 1966 — the abstruse anniversary of Walpurgis Night — Anton LaVey active abroad his body consistently and became baton of the best feared — and conceivably the best absorbing — adoration in the world.
The annual media bound accustomed LaVey into the pantheon of abundant San Francisco characters, at atomic in allotment because of the accomplishments he claimed. Afore founding the church, LaVey asserted, he had formed as a analytic investigator, a badge photographer, a caricatural organist and a bobcat tamer for the Clyde Beatty Circus. He was, he said, briefly a lover of Marilyn Monroe’s. As a child, the fable went, he played oboe with the San Francisco Ballet Symphony. And for a continued time, no one questioned the legend.
In the backward ’50s and aboriginal ’60s he gave annual lectures at his home on aberrant topics, amid them vampires, cannibalism and lycanthropy, as in wolf men. The architecture itself, he claimed, was already a brothel operated by Barbary Coast amazon Mammy Pleasant. Regulars declared themselves the “Magic Circle,” a accumulation that included science-fiction biographer Forrest J. Ackerman, filmmaker Kenneth Anger, an almsman to the Chock Full o’ Nuts coffee affluence and a dildo manufacturer. Some associates of the accumulation already claimed to accept sampled portions of a beastly leg, acquired from a doctor associate and able by LaVey’s wife, Diane.
Local journalists helped LaVey crank out columnist releases and date ever-wilder publicity stunts. In the church’s aboriginal year, LaVey conducted a atrocious wedding, a atrocious burial on Treasure Island (in cooperation with the U.S. Navy) and a atrocious ablution of his adolescent daughter, Zeena. His pet 700-pound bobcat appeared consistently in Herb Caen’s column. He ran ads in newspapers for a Witches’ Workshop that accomplished women how to dispense the adverse sex. To addition the ranks, abbey associates advertisement affected dollar bills about the city, with an allurement to accompany the Infernal Empire printed on the about-face sides.
The abbey was aboveboard and about adherent to egocentric hedonism. In 1968, LaVey opened up his home to a documentary blur crew. Atrocious rituals were staged for the cameras, with a nude woman confined as the altar. LaVey sat in his lair, cocktail clinking in one hand, and appear slyly:
“It occurred to me for many, abounding years that there was a ample gray breadth amid psychiatry and adoration that was untapped. And no adoration had anytime been based on man’s beastly needs or his beastly pursuits. All religions are based on abstinence, rather than indulgence. And all religions accordingly accept to be based on fear. Well, we don’t feel that abhorrence is all-important to abject a adoration on.”
In 1969, LaVey appear “The Atrocious Bible,” a accumulating of Nietzschean philosophies and repudiations of Christian teachings: “Hate your enemies with a accomplished heart, and if a man agonize you on one cheek, SMASH him on the other”; “Say unto thine own heart, I am abundance own redeemer’ “; “There is no heaven of celebrity bright, and no hell area sinners roast.”
The assize has gone on to advertise about a actor copies. (Sales abide steady, with a apparent acceleration every Halloween, according to an Avon Books publicist.) A archetype of “The Atrocious Bible” is apparent beneath bottle in Moscow’s Russian Museum of Atheism. LaVey’s aftereffect texts, “The Atrocious Rituals” and “The Compleat Witch,” additionally abide in print.
Hollywood celebrities abutting the fun. Jayne Mansfield enlisted as a atrocious “priestess”; Sammy Davis Jr., addition member, proudly wore a Baphomet brand on stage. LaVey consulted on Hollywood abhorrence films. Supposedly, he endemic a agile of automobiles, comfortable estates in Italy, Bavaria and Switzerland, and three abyssal deliver ships.
The abbey eventually advertisement into a arrangement of grottoes above the United States, but LaVey — activity that associates were alleviative the alignment as a activity lodge, rather than active their lives according to atrocious attempt — shut the absolute arrangement down. Several followers larboard to anatomy the battling Temple of Set (named for an Egyptian god), and LaVey went into aloneness for abounding years.
He resurfaced in the 1990s, acceding media interviews and hosting adolescent aristocracy at his home for late-night discussions. To them he was accustomed artlessly as “Doctor.” While on bout actuality in 1994, shock-rocker Marilyn Manson accustomed an allurement to accommodated with LaVey at his home. At the end of the visit, Manson was bogus a priest in the Abbey of Satan; he would afterwards address his adventures to LaVey. This abutting bearing of the analytical gobbled up new releases of the Doctor’s books and albums, on which he plays organ.
After years of amore problems, LaVey died aftermost year on Oct. 29, admitting his afterlife certificate, for alien reasons, was anachronous Oct. 31, Halloween. Three months and a day afterwards her father’s death, Karla LaVey — his babe from his aboriginal alliance — filed a address for probate, gluttonous to administrate his estate, such as it was. Despite all the allocution of mansions and ships, at his afterlife the absolute amount of Anton LaVey’s backing — the bequest of the Atramentous Pope, the best angry and acquisitive man in the apple — came to $60,000, including book royalties. Several years of annulment affairs and an afterwards defalcation had bankrupt him out.
Less than two weeks later, Blanche Barton — a ample albino in her mid-thirties who was LaVey’s lover, biographer and mother of his adolescent son — filed an argument to Karla’s petition, accouterment the cloister with a archetype of a handwritten will with LaVey’s characteristic forked-tail signature. Anachronous 1995, the one-paragraph certificate appointed Barton as abettor of the acreage and appointed their toddler, Xerxes Satan LaVey, as sole beneficiary.
Karla LaVey, 46, filed an argument to Barton’s objection. Karla claimed, essentially, that the declared will was a fraud. Karla’s filing acclaimed that the will was anachronous a few canicule afterwards her ancestor larboard the hospital area he had lain in a blackout for three days. She appropriate that Barton had falsely told LaVey that his babe had alone him. Karla’s filing additionally declared that Barton had exerted disproportionate burden on LaVey to accomplish the 1995 will, which, she asserted, contradicted her father’s long-stated action to the absolute angle of wills. (Barton has denied all of Karla LaVey’s allegations.)
The case reflects a long-running altercation over the approaching administration of American Satanism. LaVey’s abbey has been besieged for years by argument above adherents who assert that he was a artifice and that his academy does not adoration the Devil properly. A key aspect of the advancing argument seems to absorb the complete abrasive of Anton LaVey, who appears to accept bogus abundant of his past.
The bodies who seek to deflate LaVey accept appear to these basal conclusions: The abbey had its heyday in the backward ’60s and aboriginal ’70s, and has been activity abatement anytime since. It has been in banking straits for years. And it may not, in fact, survive.
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Oddly, the Abbey of Satan’s abatement has paralleled a aciculate acceleration in warnings by Christian abbey leaders about Beelzebub’s amplitude over American amalgamation — from the aboriginal ’70s, back abundant metal musicians like Atramentous Sabbath started singing the praises of Old Scratch, to the era of Marilyn Manson and schoolroom shootings, back twisted, gun-toting adolescence would affirmation the Devil bogus them do it. All of which seems to beg a question: If the Devil is so accursed powerful, how appear he can’t alike authority calm one little church?
Michael Aquino began agnate with Anton LaVey while a cerebral accessible for the U.S. Army, stationed in the jungles of Vietnam. Aquino alternate to the States and was anon bogus a baronial priest and editor of the church’s Cloven Hoof newsletter. His characteristic actualization — he sported a arresting widow’s aiguille and darkly absolute eyebrows — was added added by a baby 666 tattooed on his scalp.
As the years passed, Aquino grew added and added balked by LaVey’s policies. In Aquino’s eyes, LaVey had consistently banned to accept in Satan as an absolute abnormal being. Now, the aerial priest was affairs priesthoods in the abbey for algid cash. This debilitated the accurate purpose of Satanism, Aquino thought, and able the acceptability of the abbey as a amusing sideshow.
In 1975, Aquino larboard with abounding abbey associates and priests (some say 28, he claims 100) to anatomy the Temple of Set, a deeply organized adoration that revolved about an Egyptian celestial on whom the Hebraic Satan allegedly was based.
Church of Satan associates snort at Aquino’s accusations, and alarm the detail-oriented Aquino as emblematic of the blazon of being Anton LaVey was added than blessed to get rid of.
An Oregon painter and sculptor who goes by the name Rex Abbey is one of the oldest and astral admiral in the Abbey of Satan. To him, Aquino is inconsequential. “This guy’s greatest anathema was that Anton LaVey absolutely abandoned him,” Abbey maintains. “And he couldn’t angle that. Alike to this day.”
While declaring the Abbey of Satan extinct, Aquino has kept an abnormally agog absorption in the activity of Anton LaVey. His own biographical history of LaVey, which he mails out to absorbed parties, runs to added than 800 pages.
“My alienation from Anton LaVey acquired me acute claimed pain,” Aquino writes. “For six years I had admired him as a friend, mentor, and ultimately Devil-father’ — a band of amore and annual acutely as abstruse and allusive to him as to me. That an impasse of attempt should accept brought about the abolition of this bond, replacing it with an about dissection abhorrence on his allotment and an abrupt aggravation on mine, seemed the harshest of ironies.”
Anton LaVey’s babe Zeena, now 35, is baking and erudite, and, like her father, adamant as a goat. She is additionally his cruelest critic.
The platinum albino had an abnormal childhood, to say the least. She was baptized in a atrocious commemoration at age 3 and had accustomed bearing to a son afore she was old abundant to drive. In the mid-1980s, back she was in her aboriginal twenties, she began acting as aerial priestess and backer for the church, actualization on abounding allocution shows and accidental a new addition for a album of her father’s book “The Atrocious Witch.” She advised a career in Hollywood. It seemed she ability accomplish her ancestor as baton of the religion, but in 1990 she abandoned all amalgamation with the abbey and LaVey.
“While I accept no abjure in my action with the armament of ignorance, and my own beeline adherence of my adoration has alone grown,” she wrote in a letter to Michael Aquino, “I could no best avert such an absent-minded and base alone as the alleged Atramentous Pope. . . . The catholic cards are ample adjoin him.”
After her father’s death, Zeena and her husband, Nikolas Schreck, now both priests in the Temple of Set, able a airy certificate declared “Anton LaVey: Fable and Reality.” The assize is best actuating back it refers to the analysis of Lawrence Wright, a adept anchorman for Texas Monthly and the New Yorker who advised LaVey’s activity in 1991.
Wright specialized in autograph about American religions. On appointment for Rolling Stone to contour LaVey, Wright apparent a host of inconsistencies in the fable LaVey had alloyed about himself. The anchorman was clumsy to confirm, amid added claims, Anton LaVey’s activity with Marilyn Monroe, his Clyde Beatty bazaar affiliation, his job as a badge photographer, or the actuality of any ballet symphony that LaVey ability accept played for.
Wright did certificate that LaVey was built-in Howard Stanton Levey. His parents were Mike and Gertrude, who confused from Chicago to the Bay Area, area his ancestor formed as a liquor distributor. And he was absolutely not wealthy. According to 1962 annulment paperwork, Anton LaVey’s sole assets at that time was the $29.91 a anniversary he becoming arena agency at the Lost Weekend club in San Francisco.
Speaking from his home in Texas, Wright says he begin LaVey intriguing, but was abashed at the arrant embellishments: “Being such a apparent and broadly hated amount as he was, it afraid the hell out of me that nobody’d anytime arrested up on him. He had gotten absolute careless. Back I met him, he had been about gulling journalists for years, afterwards any consequences.”
Wright recalls that the Abbey of Satan appeared to be abundantly accomplished as an alignment alike by 1991. “Whatever it had been in the past, it absolutely wasn’t back I went to accommodated him,” he says. “I anticipate he was absolute animated to accommodated my amount account.”
LaVey’s babe Zeena combines Wright’s abstracts with Aquino’s allegation and her own investigations to account some baking allegations about her father. For instance, she says, the abominable atramentous abode on California Street was not a above brothel at all, but alone the home of LaVey’s parents, who transferred buying to him and his then-wife Diane in 1971.
The myth-busting continues: “The Atrocious Bible” was conceived by Avon Books to banknote in on the abstruse admiration of the 1960s, and LaVey paraphrased abundant of it from books by Aleister Crowley and Ayn Rand, and an abstruse 1896 work, “Might Is Right.”
According to an account with the aboriginal ambassador of the blur “Rosemary’s Baby,” LaVey was not abstruse adviser, as he claimed, and not a distinct affiliate of the casting or aggregation has anytime mentioned LaVey’s involvement. The church’s avowal of accepting hundreds of bags of associates was berserk exaggerated; associates was never added than 300.
And LaVey’s declared activity with Jayne Mansfield was a achievement abiding by publicists.
When it comes to debunking her father, Zeena spares not a distinct abominable detail. She insists that he affected abounding of his changeable aggregation into prostitution. She alike attempts to discredit his acceptability as an beastly lover, anecdotic one night from her adolescence back she woke to ascertain LaVey assault the bloodied face of her German attend puppy with a board.
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And as a final anti-tribute to her father, the day afterwards his death, Zeena Schreck appeared on Bob Larson’s radio program, a circadian religious advertisement amalgamated civic from Denver.
Larson abstracts into the Abbey of Satan in an odd way. For years, he has additional his ratings by agreeable its associates assimilate his programs. In 1995, he alike hosted a Atrocious Summit, aerial several priests to Denver for a alternation of one-on-one television interviews. Larson’s debates with Satanists accept served both to alarm his Christian admirers and to advance the Abbey of Satan, which tapes the aforementioned programs and distributes copies for its own use.
Zeena Schreck had been a common bedfellow on Larson’s show. On the day afterwards her ancestor died, she took to the air already again, this time giving Larson’s admirers a amazing bit of information: She had performed a ritual and put a afterlife anathema on her father, and it had assuredly dead him.
Despite the acknowledged altercation over the LaVey acreage and the about august attacks of detractors, the Abbey of Satan’s administering Council of Nine charcoal chiefly assured of the organization’s future. They are additionally chiefly dismissive of his babe Zeena.
“She’s an ass,” declares Jeff Nagy, a Stockton, Calif., agent and Abbey of Satan priest. Like abounding in the church, Nagy believes Zeena angry on LaVey in hopes of authoritative herself famous. “He was absolutely afflicted by it, don’t let anybody kid you. That’s beef and blood.”
Church associates argue it will booty added than abrogating publicity and the afterlife of the architect to derail the 32-year drive of Anton LaVey. Los Angeles bedrock affiche artisan Chris “Coop” Cooper, himself a priest, insists that as continued as LaVey’s books are still in print, the adoration will never die: “All that Who’s gonna booty over?’ Honestly, who cares? I absolutely don’t anticipate that’s important. It’s a carriageable feast, man. All you accept to do is to go to B. Dalton’s and buy The Atrocious Bible.’ It’s all there.”
But simple realities — banking and contrarily — advance the Abbey of Satan may be headed south, so to speak.
“There’s no approaching for that church,” announcer Lawrence Wright says. “Unless some added being comes forth who can circuit out the aforementioned affectionate of allure that LaVey was able to do.”
That someone, abounding abbey admiral hope, will be LaVey’s accompaniment and biographer, Blanche Barton.
The atramentous Victorian stands out as if it were the Addams Ancestors mansion, a abrupt abeyance in the rows of pastel-colored homes that are its neighbors. An eight-foot chain-link fence topped with acid wire, advised to abash vandals, seals the abode from the sidewalk. The windows are absolutely shuttered.
Since 1993 the home has been endemic by freeholder Donald Werby, a longtime LaVey acquaintance from the old canicule of the Magic Circle. Werby paid $240,000 for the architecture as allotment of LaVey’s defalcation arrangement; the money was acclimated to amuse a annulment adjustment of about a bisected actor dollars.
In a burghal that cherishes its aberrant tradition, the anatomy may accept amount as a actual landmark. Rumors accept broadcast that abbey priest Marilyn Manson ability acquirement the architecture to bottle its legacy, but they abide unconfirmed. To abbey members, the atramentous abode constitutes a shrine, a cairn of ultimate religious rebellion.
On the bounded absolute acreage market, though, the atramentous abode is aloof a dump.
According to cloister documents, the 1905 architecture has attenuated above repair. It has no heat. All accouterments and base is aboriginal and substandard. The owner’s adumbrative informs abeyant buyers that advance is out of the question. It’s added cost-effective to annihilate the abode and body commodity new.
But the Atramentous Pope’s home is not history yet. On a contempo Friday evening, Blanche Barton answers the aperture and ushers a company into the above active room, continued back adapted into a atrocious ritual chamber. Beneath a blood-red beam are pieces of aged furniture, including a admirable piano, a abbey organ, a casket and a agitation armchair that allegedly belonged to Rasputin. The brick broiler altar, aloft which nude women already reclined, now displays a baby photograph of Anton LaVey. It seems a abashment that the abstruse artifacts and atramentous walls and the aberrant activity that emanates from them could anon be leveled.
Barton offers a daybed and sits in a chair, reportedly already endemic by Benjamin Franklin. Cutting a baby Baphomet pin on her white blouse, she appears as airy as any mother of an active 4-year-old can be.
She says she apparent “The Atrocious Bible” as a jailbait active in San Diego, and kept it in apperception through college. She met Anton LaVey while vacationing in the Bay Breadth with her ancestors in 1984 and, she says, has been with him and the abbey anytime since.
Court abstracts account Karla LaVey as a citizen of the house, but Barton says Karla afresh confused out, and she would rather not altercate it any further.
On the efforts of Michael Aquino and Zeena Schreck to discredit LaVey, Barton can alone chuckle: “All you can absolutely do is beam at them. It’s what the Doctor acclimated to alarm atrocious dismay.’ “
Blanche Barton abstruse from the best, and she insists the Abbey of Satan is actuality to stay. And it’s adamantine not to accept her. God knows, we’ll consistently charge the Devil — if not as a dupe and excuse, again as commodity to bang abhorrence in sinners’ hearts. Jack Boulware is a agents biographer for SF Weekly, area a adaptation of this commodity originally appeared. CAPTION: Anton LaVey, architect of the Abbey of Satan: “No adoration had anytime been based on man’s beastly needs or his beastly pursuits.” CAPTION: Clockwise from top: Karla LaVey holds a wax bronze of her ancestor at a annual appointment announcement his death; Anton LaVey at the organ; LaVey in 1986; the Abbey of Satan headquarters; and LaVey’s “Satanic Bible.”
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