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Thirty-two years of Satan in popular culture 

Wednesday, Jun 17 1998
On April 30 -- the occult holiday of Walpurgisnacht -- the Church of Satan is formally organized at Anton LaVey's home in San Francisco's Richmond District.

The world's press descends upon: 1) a satanic wedding at the LaVey home, uniting journalist John Raymond and New York socialite Judith Case; 2) a satanic funeral of Navy machinist-repairman third class Edward Olsen at Treasure Island; LaVey recites the eulogy, a Navy musician plays Taps; 3) a satanic baptism for LaVey's 3-year-old daughter Zeena, who chewed gum throughout.

Hollywood bombshell and Church of Satan Priestess Jayne Mansfield (above) dies in a car accident along with boyfriend Sam Brody, with Mansfield almost completely decapitated. Anton LaVey feels guilty; he had put a curse on Brody.

Release of Satanis, a documentary on Church of Satan directed by Ray Laurent. Nudity. Light S/M flogging. Interminable sequences of satanic ritual.

Release of Rosemary's Baby by Roman Polanski, starring Ruth Gordon, John Cassavetes, and Mia Farrow, who gets impregnated by, and delivers a child of, Satan. LaVey claims he plays the devil (available evidence suggests he had no role in the film) and says it is "the best paid commercial for Satanism since the Inquisition." At the S.F. premiere, LaVey, witches, and warlocks arrive in a late-model black hearse.

Hippie girl Susan Atkins performs in a Witches' Workshop in North Beach, conducted by Anton LaVey. Tripping heavily on LSD, she can't emerge from her coffin (right); opening curtain is delayed 15 minutes. (Atkins eventually joins the Manson Family, is convicted of stabbing actress Sharon Tate and her unborn baby to death, and later publishes a confessional, Child of Satan, Child of God.)

Alleged beginnings of the heavy me-tal devil hand sign, with extended pinkie and index finger. Claimed Spinal Tap member Nigel Tufnel: "It didn't mean anything then. It was just like a little pantomime show. Like working with a hand puppet and it falls off -- that's what you've got, two little fingers sticking up in the air, right? Then other people started making it into the devil."

With friend in tow, socialite and S.F. Examiner columnist Pat Montandon knocks on the door of LaVey's house, asking for an aphrodisiac love potion. According to Montandon's book The Intruders, LaVey provides a recipe for "Lovey Sauce," a combination of instant coffee, vodka, vanilla bean, and mandrake root. He shows the women a human skeleton. Spooked, they leave.

The Satanic Bible is published; it includes the legendary "Nine Satanic Statements," which LaVey later says he wrote out in 20 minutes while listening to Chopin. Best-selling blueprint for most modern satanic philosophy. Cryptic final words in the book -- "Yankee Rose" -- refer to either a lounge song or a sailing ship that disappeared mysteriously, or perhaps predict a 1986 song by David Lee Roth.

Release of Invocation of My Demon Brother, an 11-minute art-house bore by Kenneth Anger. Features future Manson Family member Bobby Beausoleil as Lucifer and Anton LaVey as Satan; annoying Moog soundtrack contributed by Mick Jagger.

During a Rolling Stones performance of "Sympathy for the Devil" at a concert in Altamont, Calif., a Hell's Angels biker stabs an audience member to death, and the murder is captured on camera. Freaked-out Mick Jagger takes to wearing a crucifix around his neck.

Anton LaVey appears on Johnny Carson's seventh-anniversary Tonight Show. Performs satanic ritual to summon success for coming year.

British heavy metal band Black Sabbath releases first two albums, with frequent mentions of Lucifer and other unholy topics. The first song on the first album opens with rainstorm and church bell sounds, setting the standard for all future pseudo-evil headbangers.

Release of fourth album by Led Zeppelin; originally untitled, later called IV. When "Stairway to Heaven" is played backward, Robert Plant's voice supposedly says, "It's my sweet Satan ... Oh I will sing because I live with Satan."

After years of marginal success making albums with overt references to Satan and Black Mass, the band Coven scores a Top 40 hit with the song "One Tin Soldier" from the soundtrack to the film Billy Jack.

LaVey's likeness is completed for an exhibit on satanic ritual at the Wax Museum on Fisherman's Wharf, where it is still on display (see photo on next page). A museum spokesperson remembers LaVey as "polite" while sitting for the sculpture.

Michael Aquino and Karla LaVey attend a Sammy Davis Jr. performance at the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos. Davis is presented with a second-degree certificate, medallion, and membership card for the Church of Satan; that night he wears his Baphomet onstage for the entire show.

Last episode of ABC's prime-time sitcom Bewitched, about a young, married witch named Samantha and a bevy of her witch and warlock relatives.

Release of The Exorcist, the X-rated, Oscar-winning adaptation of the William Peter Blatty novel. Linda Blair is possessed by the devil. Green pea soup. Three-hundred-sixty-degree head-spinning. "Your mother sucks cocks in hell."

Sammy Davis Jr. (left) returns to the Circle Star Theater, notices Anton LaVey in the front row, and gives him the Sign of the Horns.

Release of The Devil's Rain, story of a cult of devil worshippers starring Ernest Borgnine, William Shatner, Tom Skerritt, and John Travolta. Anton LaVey is on-set technical adviser.

Michael Aquino leaves Church of Satan and forms the Temple of Set. San Francisco Yellow Pages features two listings under heading of "Churches -- Satanic."

Rumors run wild that the Eagles are promoting Satanism via Hotel California. The album is supposedly so named because Church of Satan headquarters is a "hotel" on California Street. Lyrical evidence: "So I called up the Captain [Anton LaVey], and said please bring me my wine [satanic sacrament], he said we haven't had that spirit here since 1969 [the year The Satanic Bible was published]." Also: The album's photo of a hotel lobby features a bald figure on a balcony, rumored to be LaVey.

About The Author

Jack Boulware


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