The life of Anton LaVey was fantasy made real. Lions roar as a whip cracks against the sawdust covered ground, rings of fire flicker before the circus crowd. Barkers exhibit freakish curiosities to the wide-eyed sheep, while god-fearing men sneak under the tent flaps hosting a topless revue. Silhouettes meet in fog covered streets, operating on the fringes of society, playing all sides of the game. Bulbs flash, illuminating the cruel darkness of man’s true nature, children splattered by cowardly hit and run drivers, brothers murdered by brothers, bloated corpses fished out of the San Francisco Bay. Black-clad figures stand before a nude female altar, a massive black Sigil of Baphomet hangs in front of them. A hooded devil opens his cloak, enveloping his cohorts in a sinister shadow. Shouts of “Hail Satan” and “Shemhamforash” echo in the ritual chamber between hypnotic chanting. “So it is done!” A den is populated with handcrafted artificial human companions, imperfect androids which appear to have seen more of life than the full-blooded drones who walk the streets by day.
These scenes are glimpses into the illustrious life of Anton Szandor LaVey, the details of which can fill a number of books. In fact, there are two that I’ve consulted for this piece, “The Secret Life of a Satanist” (Feral House, 1990) and “The Church of Satan” (Hell’s Kitchen Productions, 1990). Both of the aforementioned books were written by Blanche Barton; Anton LaVey’s wife, biographer, and mother to his first and only son Xerxes; and do a superior job detailing the life and times of Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan. Typical obituaries consist of long-winded biographies, meant to delineate the history of the deceased, lest they be forgotten. For many, those words will only temporarily be contained in the air, ink, and pixels, and ultimately wash away over time, like tears in rain. Anton LaVey knew this, for he understood that the only possible form of immortality is through the influence one has on future generations. So it is through his literature, music, and unshakable character that he has reached beyond the grave and continues to imprint his will on our contemporary reality. That said, a brief summarization would help familiarize the reader with some of Anton LaVey’s early influences and experiences.