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                      compiled by Zeena and Nikolas Schreck
   Anton Szandor LaVey (1930-1997), along with Charles Manson, Timothy Leary,
   and other messianic pop gurus, was a notorious figure of the 1960s'
   subculture of social experiment. As the flamboyant High Priest of the
   Church of Satan and the author of the _Satanic Bible_, he served as an
   ideal bogeyman for the sensation seeking American media of that tumultuous
   period. His curious celebrity was based largely on a self created legend.
   This carefully orchestrated legend may, in the final analysis, be LaVey's
   most enduring legacy. LaVey disseminated his legend through interviews with
   journalists, personal discussion with his disciples, and two LaVey approved
   [auto]biographies (apparently ghostwritten by LaVey himself). The first of
   these, 1974's _The Devil's Avenger_ (credited to LaVey associate Burton
   Wolfe), embellished on the fabrications Wolfe had already sketched in his
   introduction to the _Satanic Bible_. The second, 1990's _Secret Life of a
   Satanist_ (credited to Blanche Barton, LaVey's live-in secretary and mother
   of his son), contradicted many of LaVey's own claims in the earlier volume,
   while putting forth new legends for public consumption. As social
   historians and scholars of occult movements begin to study LaVey's life and
   times in an objective historical context, a wealth of information
   concerning the man beneath the Devil horns has come to light. This brief
   checklist is a concise guide to separating the deliberate prevarications
   from the human, all-too-human facts. For brevity's sake, only the most
   well-known aspects of the legend will be clarified here.
   LEGEND: Claimed that "Anton Szandor LaVey" was his genuine birth name.
   REALITY: Born "Howard Stanton Levey".
   SOURCES: Birth certificate 4/11/1930, Cook County, Illinois. Confirmed by
   LEGEND: Claimed his parents were Joseph and Augusta LaVey.
   REALITY: Parents were Michael and Gertrude Levey.
   SOURCES: Birth certificate 4/11/1930, Cook County, Illinois. Confirmed by
   ASL's daughter Zeena and daughter Karla according to her entry on ASL's
   death certificate.
   LEGEND: Claimed he was introduced to the Dark Side by his Transylvanian
   Gypsy grandmother, who regaled him as a child with supernatural folklore
   and tales of vampires and werewolves.
   REALITY: ASL's grandmother was not Transylvanian nor of Gypsy stock. She
   was a Ukrainian named Cecile Luba Primokov-Coulton ("Coulton" was
   Anglicized from "Koltonoff"). Despite his frequent claims, ASL had no Gypsy
   SOURCES: Relatives, including ASL's parents.
   LEGEND: In 1945 the 15-year-old ASL was brought to the ruins of postwar
   Germany by his uncle, a U.S. Coast Guard officer. There the teenaged ASL
   was shown top-secret films inspired by Satanic cult lodges and their
   rituals. ASL claimed that the "German" rituals in his 1972 book _The
   Satanic Rituals_ were actual transcripts of the filmed rituals he saw as a
   REALITY: Young Howard spent the entirety of 1945 in suburban northern
   California, and never visited Germany at any time in his life. The uncle
   who he claimed brought him to Germany was incarcerated at McNeill Island
   Penitentiary for involvement with Al Capone-related criminal activity
   during 1945, and was never in the armed forces. Allied martial law forbade
   U.S. citizens from visiting postwar Germany. The "German" rituals in the
   _Satanic Rituals_ are written in extremely poor, Anglicized German. They
   are clearly uncredited adaptations of the short story The Hounds of
   Tindalos by Frank Belknap Long and H.G. Wells' famous novel _The Island of
   Dr. Moreau_.
   SOURCES: ASL relatives, former wife Diane LaVey, The Hounds of Tindalos,
   _The Island of Dr. Moreau_, The Satanic Rituals, Church of Satan member
   Rosalind Herkommer (who translated ASL's rituals into German).
   LEGEND: The 15-year-old ASL played second oboe with the San Francisco
   Ballet Orchestra, making him the youngest musician ever to play with that
   prestigious institution.
   REALITY: There was no "San Francisco Ballet Orchestra" in 1945. The San
   Francisco Ballet was accompanied by a local orchestra, whose records show
   that none of its three oboists was named "Levey" or "LaVey".
   SOURCES: San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum, San Francisco,
   LEGEND: In 1947 ASL ran away from home and joined the Clyde Beatty Circus.
   The Circus employed the 17-year-old as a lion tamer. He then replaced the
   Circus calliope player, accompanying such famous Beatty acts as the
   Concellos, Harold Alanza, and the Cristianis.
   REALITY: The voluminous Beatty archives show no record of a "Levey" or
   "LaVey" as lion tamer or musician. The Concellos, Alanza, and Cristianis
   were never Beatty performers; they worked exclusively for the Ringling
   Brothers Circus.
   SOURCES: Beatty 1947 Route Books, Circus World Museum, Baraboo, Wisconsin
   (Wright, "SD", page 67); ASL relatives.
   LEGEND: In 1948 the 18-year-old ASL was engaged to play organ at the Mayan
   burlesque theater in Los Angeles. There he met a young stripper named
   Marilyn Monroe, with whom he had a passionate love affair in the period
   before her rise to film stardom. According to ASL, Monroe had resorted to
   stripping to pay her rent. As proof of his relationship with Monroe, ASL
   later showed visitors a copy of Monroe's famous nude calendar inscribed
   "Dear Tony, How many times have you seen this! Love, Marilyn".
   REALITY: ASL never knew Monroe. Monroe intimate Robert Slatzer and Harry
   Lipton, Monroe's agent in 1948, have exposed and discredited this tale.
   Lipton paid Monroe's expenses, including her rent. Paul Valentine, director
   of the Mayan Theater, has stated that the Mayan was never a burlesque
   theater, and that neither Monroe nor ASL ever worked for the Mayan in any
   capacity. Diane LaVey, ASL's former wife, has admitted that she forged the
   "Monroe" inscription on the calendar. ASL's former publicist Edward Webber
   claims ASL admitted he never knew Monroe.
   SOURCES: Diane LaVey, Paul Valentine (Wright, "SD", page #68), Harry Lipton
   (Aquino-Lipton conversation 12/1/82), Robert Slatzer (letter to Aquino
   11/27/82), Edward Webber (interview by Aquino 6/2/91).
   LEGEND: ASL was exposed to the savagery of human nature during his stint as
   a San Francisco Police photographer in the early 1950s.
   REALITY: San Francisco Police Department past employment records include no
   "Howard Levey" nor "Anton LaVey". Frank Moser, who was a SFPD photographer
   in the early 1950s, said that ASL never worked for the Department.
   SOURCES: SFPD records, Frank Moser (Wright, "SD", page 68).
   LEGEND: ASL studied criminology at San Francisco City College during the
   Korean War.
   REALITY: SFCC has no record of ASL's enrollment at any time.
   SOURCES: SFCC records (Wright, "SD", page 68).
   LEGEND: ASL purchased the house at 6114 California Street (which would
   later become the headquarters of the Church of Satan - the infamous "Black
   House") because he discovered on first inspection that it was the former
   brothel of Barbary Coast madam Mammy Pleasant. The house was honeycombed
   with trapdoors and secret passageways, built by Pleasant to elude police
   REALITY: 6114 was ASL's parents' home. It was never a brothel, nor did
   Mammy Pleasant ever live or work there. ASL's parents first allowed ASL and
   his first wife Carole to live in the house, then transferred ownership of
   it to ASL and his second wife Diane in 1971. Such secret passages and
   hidden rooms that exist were constructed by ASL.
   SOURCES: Relatives, San Francisco property records (Michael & Gertrude
   Levey, Joint Tenancy Grant Deed, July 9, 1971).
   LEGEND: In the 1950s ASL traveled to Nice, France, where he recorded an
   album of organ music under the pseudonym of "Georges Montalba".
   REALITY: ASL's first and only trip to France was in the mid-1970s, when his
   Dutch disciple Maarten Lamers, Amsterdam sex club owner, financed his
   voyage. The "ASL=Montalba" story appeared in 1989, when a gullible Church
   of Satan member found a Montalba album and suggested that it was similar to
   ASL's own music. ASL, never pleased by competition, responded with the
   preposterous "pseudonym" claim - which is still ardently supported by his
   posthumous followers.
   SOURCES: Diane LaVey, Zeena LaVey.
   LEGEND: ASL was the official city organist for San Francisco until 1966,
   playing for gala events such as government banquets and political meetings.
   REALITY: San Francisco has never had an "official city organist". According
   to ASL's first wife Carole, his only income of $29.91/week was generated by
   his regular engagement at the "Lost Weekend" nightclub, where he was the
   house Wurlitzer organist.
   SOURCE: Julie Burford, Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California (Wright,
   "SD", page 68). Carole LaVey's divorce proceeding records (Wright, "SD",
   page 68).
   LEGEND: On the night of April 30, 1966 (the German Satanic festival of
   Walpurgisnacht), ASL in a "blinding flash" declared himself the High Priest
   of Satan, proclaimed that the Age of Satan had begun, and founded the
   Church of Satan as a religious institution.
   REALITY: In 1966 ASL supplemented his income by presenting weekend lectures
   on exotic and occult topics, and by conducting "Witches' Workshops". He
   charged $2 a head, filling his living room with the curious and
   establishing a local reputation as an eccentric. Professional publicist
   Edward Webber suggested to ASL that he "would never make any money by
   lecturing on Friday nights for donations ... it would be better to form
   some sort of church and get a charter from the State of California ... I
   told Anton at the time that the press was going to flip out over all this
   and that we would get a lot of notoriety". In the summer of 1966, long
   after the fictional founding-date invented later, a newspaper article about
   ASL's lectures offhandedly referred to him as "priest of the Devil's
   church". This mixture of Webber's idea and the newspaper's characterization
   resulted in the creation of the Church of Satan as a business and publicity
   vehicle. Jack Webb, a San Francisco Police investigator who knew ASL from
   the "Lost Weekend" nightclub, also suggested that he should form a church
   of some kind to exploit his recondite knowledge.
   SOURCES: Edward Webber (interview by Aquino 6/2/91), Jack Webb, Diane
   LEGEND: ASL's trademark shaved head was the result of a ceremonial
   head-shaving on April 30, 1966, to formalize his role as High Priest of
   Satan. This ritual was performed in the tradition of the Yezidi
   devil-worshipping tribes of Iraq, who were said to have carried out a
   similar ceremony.
   REALITY: ASL shaved his head in the summer of 1966 due to a light-hearted
   dare from his wife. The "LaVey look" had nothing to do with the Church of
   Satan founding nor any mystical meaning attached to it later. Nor do Yezidi
   qawwals (religious teachers) shave their heads.
   SOURCES: Diane LaVey; Ethel S. Drower, _Peacock Angel_, 1941; C.J. Edmonds,
   _A Pilgrimage to Lalish_, Royal Asiatic Society, 1967.
   LEGEND: In 1966 ASL personally designed the Baphomet emblem of the Church
   of Satan. He owns the right to this design, claiming it cannot be
   reproduced without obtaining licensing rights from the Church of Satan.
   REALITY: The Baphomet emblem used by the Church of Satan was neither
   original to it nor created by ASL, hence cannot be trademarked. The
   original Baphomet dates at least as far back as the medieval Knights
   Templar. The artwork for the current emblem's goat/pentagram first appears
   in a 1931 book by Oswald Wirth. The complete emblem with the added circles
   and "LVYThN" Hebrew letters appears on the cover of a book by Maurice Bessy
   two years before the creation of the Church of Satan. Early photos of
   Church activities often show ASL or his disciples using the Bessy book as a
   photo-prop because of its prominent cover-Baphomet, and he included that
   book in his _Compleat Witch_ bibliography. The Baphomet, including this
   rendition of it, is clearly in the public domain.
   SOURCES: Oswald Wirth, La fran-maconnerie rendue intelligible a ces adeptes
   - II, "Le compagnon", Paris: Derry-Livres, 1931, page #60; Maurice Bessy,
   _A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural_, London: Spring Books,
   1964 [the original edition of this work - _Histoire en 1000 images de la
   magie_ - was published in 1961 by Editions du Pont Royal]; Thomas H.
   Hilton, _Sex and the Occult_, Vol. I, Los Angeles: Centurion Press,
   1974;Church of Satan members, _The Black Flame_ (a 1980s Church of Satan
   LEGEND: One of ASL's most widely-accepted falsehoods is his claim that he
   served as technical advisor for the 1968 Roman Polanski film _Rosemary's
   Baby_. ASL also claimed to have played the curiously-uncredited part of the
   Devil in that film.
   REALITY: ASL had no involvement with _Rosemary's Baby_. Polanski's close
   friend Gene Gutowski (original producer of the film) stated that there was
   no technical advisor, nor did ASL ever even meet Polanski. Producer William
   Castle, who details all aspects of the film's production in his
   autobiography, never mentions ASL. He does describe Polanski's diligence in
   basing the film exactly on the Ira Levin novel from which it was adapted,
   eliminating any need for technical advice. The father of the actress who
   played Mia Farrow's body-double in the Devil scene recalled that a young,
   very slender professional dancer played the part, dressed in a small rubber
   suit. In 1971 this suit was acquired by Studio One Productions in
   Louisville, Kentucky, for use in a low-budget horror film _Asylum of
   Satan_. Michael Aquino, technical advisor for that film, examined the suit
   and concluded that the 200-pound, 6-foot ASL could not possibly have worn
   it. [The suit was worn by a girl in the _Asylum_ film.] Not a single member
   of the cast or crew of _Rosemary's Baby_ has ever mentioned ASL's
   involvement. In 1968 a San Francisco theater did ask ASL to make an
   appearance at the film's local opening as a promotional event. This appears
   to have been ASL's only connection with the film that engendered the 1960s'
   popular interest in Satanism.
   SOURCES: Gene Gutowski; William Castle, _Step Right Up! I'm Gonna Scare the
   Pants off America_, New York: Pharos Books, 1992; Diane LaVey, Michael A.
   Aquino (_COS_, page #17).
   LEGEND: Jayne Mansfield, Hollywood sex symbol and actress, was a
   card-carrying Satanist and had an affair with ASL.
   REALITY: Publicity agent Tony Kent, an associate of Ed Webber, arranged the
   meeting between Mansfield and ASL as a publicity stunt. ASL was smitten
   with the actress. Mansfield, who made no secret of her many affairs, denied
   knowing ASL intimately, and no associate of hers has ever confirmed any
   supposed romance with ASL. In a 1967 interview she said, "He had fallen in
   love with me and wanted to join my life with his. It was a laugh."
   According to ASL's publicist Edward Webber, Mansfield would ridicule her
   Satanic suitor by calling from her Los Angeles home and seductively teasing
   him while her friends listened in on the conversation. ASL's public claims
   that he had an affair with Mansfield began only after Mansfield's death in
   an automobile accident, which he also claimed was the result of a curse he
   had placed on her lover Sam Brody.
   SOURCES: Edward Webber (interview by Aquino 6/2/91); interview with
   Mansfield quoted in _Jayne Mansfield_ by May Mann, Pocket Books, 1974.
   LEGEND: ASL wrote the _Satanic Bible_, his principal work, to fulfill his
   congregation's need for a scriptural guide.
   REALITY: _The Satanic Bible_ was conceived as a commercial vehicle by
   paperback publisher Avon Books. Avon approached ASL for some kind of
   Satanic work to cash in on the Satanism & witchcraft fad of the late 1960s.
   Pressed for material to meet Avon's deadline, ASL resorted to plagiarism,
   assembling extracts from an obscure 1896 tract - _Might is Right_ by Ragnar
   Redbeard into a "Book of Satan" for the _SB_, and claiming its authorship
   by himself. [Ironically these _MiR_ passages are the ones most frequently
   quoted by ASL disciples.] Another third of the SB consists of John Dee's
   "Enochian Keys", taken directly but again without attribution from Aleister
   Crowley's _Equinox_. The _SB_'s "Nine Satanic Statements", one of the
   Church of Satan's central doctrines, is a paraphrase, again unacknowledged,
   of passages from Ayn Rand's _Atlas Shrugged_. The last words in the _SB_ -
   "Yankee Rose" - have been puzzled over for years by readers. "YR" is
   actually the name of an old popular tune in ASL's nightclub repertoire.
   SOURCES: ASL, _The Satanic Bible_; Ragnar Redbeard, _Might is Right_, Port
   Townsend: Loompanics (reprint), 1896; Ayn Rand, _Atlas Shrugged_ (Galt's
   speech, ca. pages #936-993); "Yankee Rose" by Sidney Holden & Abe Frankl
   (Irving Berlin Music, 1926).
   LEGEND: ASL claimed that at the height of the Church of Satan's popularity
   there were hundreds of thousands of formal members.
   REALITY: Diane LaVey (who administered the Church as High Priestess
   1966-1984), Michael A. Aquino (senior Magister of the Church and Editor of
   its _Cloven Hoof_ newsletter 1971-1975), and Zeena LaVey (High Priestess of
   the Church 1985-1990) have all affirmed that the figures claimed by ASL
   were grossly exaggerated. The membership of the Church of Satan never
   exceeded 300 individuals, several of whom were nonmember subscribers to the
   newsletter or ASL friends receiving complimentary mailings.
   SOURCES: Diane LaVey, Michael A. Aquino, Zeena LaVey.
   LEGEND: ASL claimed to be a multimillionaire, owning three homes in
   northern California, a convent in Italy, a chateau in France, a fleet of
   luxury automobiles, a 185-foot yacht, three salvage ships, and other
   REALITY: During Diane [LaVey] Hegarty's 1988-91 lawsuit against ASL, and
   ASL's subsequent 1991 filing for bankruptcy, ASL stipulated under oath that
   he owned nothing more than 50% of the house his parents had given jointly
   to him and Diane, along with the personal items he kept therein. ASL's
   final years were subsidized by California state aid. Assessors declared the
   house to be in such poor repair as to be nearly worthless on the real
   estate market. Family members have attested to the fact that by the
   mid-1970s the LaVeys lived in near-poverty, frequently having to rely upon
   ASL's father's generosity. According to other LaVey relatives, ASL
   continued to rely on handouts from friends and relatives until the end of
   his life.
   SOURCES: Hegarty v. LaVey (San Francisco Superior Court Case #891863),
   Anton LaVey Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern
   California, Case #91-34251), Zeena LaVey, other relatives.
   LEGEND: ASL was a close friend of Sammy Davis, Jr. and inducted him into
   the Church of Satan.
   REALITY: Sammy Davis, Jr. was invited to accept an honorary membership in
   the Church of Satan by Michael Aquino. After Davis sent Aquino his
   acceptance on March 17, 1973, he was presented with the honorary membership
   on April 13, 1973 by Aquino and Karla LaVey alone. ASL did not meet Davis
   until August 1973.
   SOURCES: Davis letter to Aquino 3/17/73; _Church of Satan Priesthood
   Bulletin_ 4/30/73; Aquino, _COS_, Chapter 23; Sammy Davis, _Hollywood in a
   Suitcase_ (pre-publication text, printed in _Daily News_, New York,
   9/11/80), Karla LaVey.
   LEGEND: ASL presented himself as a loving family man.
   REALITY: ASL violently beat his wife Diane throughout their marriage. In
   1984 a police report was made describing Diane being strangled into
   unconsciousness by ASL, who was in such a murderous rage that his daughter
   Karla had to pull him off Diane and drag her outside the house to save her
   life. ASL routinely physically beat and abused those of his female
   disciples with whom he had sex, forcing them into prostitution as part of
   his "Satanic counseling" and collecting their earnings. In 1986 ASL was a
   passive witness to the sexual molestation of his own grandson by a longtime
   friend who was later convicted of sex crimes with minors. In 1990 ASL
   informed a mentally-ill stalker of his daughter Zeena of her whereabouts
   and the time & location of a public appearance she was scheduled to make,
   deliberately endangering her life.
   SOURCES: San Francisco Police records of ASL attack on Diane LaVey, Zeena
   LaVey, Diane LaVey, Stanton LaVey.
   LEGEND: ASL had a deeply affectionate relationship with Togare, his pet
   REALITY: While ASL was always careful to portray himself to the public as
   an animal lover, in private he was cruel to and neglectful of his pets.
   When he was given Togare as a cub in 1964, he was ill-equipped to deal with
   such an exotic, wild animal despite his pretensions as a circus lion-tamer.
   As Togare became larger and more unruly, ASL frequently used an electric
   cattle prod to hurt and frighten him into submission. Many animal-rights
   proponents, including Togare's final owner Tippi Hedren, agree that it is
   detrimental to a wild animal's development to be raised in a domestic
   environment. ASL was arrested due to Togare's unruly behavior, and ASL was
   ordered to donate him to the San Francisco Zoo. After complying, ASL made
   only two visits to Togare. Due to the trauma of his early life, Togare
   needed special care at the Zoo and at every animal-care facility in which
   he subsequently lived.
   SOURCES: Jack Castor (Lion Keeper, San Francisco Zoo), Diane LaVey, Zeena
   LaVey, Tippi Hedren (_The Cats of Shamballa_, McGraw-Hill, 1985).
   LEGEND: ASL had a deeply affectionate relationship with his other pets.
   REALITY: In the late 1960s ASL acquired a Doberman Pinscher (Loki) as an
   accent to his "sinister" image. ASL never took the time to housebreak or
   train Loki, and relegated him to the overgrown and unkempt backyard of the
   house, regardless of weather. If Loki ever tried to slip into the house for
   shelter, ASL routinely used Togare's cattle-prod on him to terrify him back
   outside. In his old age Loki developed such severe arthritis that he could
   not climb the stairs to the back door to eat, and began wasting away from
   malnutrition. ASL then gave him to one of his prostitute "students", who at
   least saw that Loki had a warm, inside home until he died a few months
   later. During her young childhood ASL's daughter Zeena once awoke late at
   night to hear slamming sounds and the shrieking of her German Shepherd
   puppy. Running downstairs, she saw ASL savagely beating the cowering,
   cornered dog with a wooden plank. When Zeena begged ASL to stop and asked
   him what the dog had done to deserve such treatment, ASL screamed, "She
   won't listen to me! I'm going to force her to obey me!" ASL continued
   beating the dog until her face was covered with her blood, then dropped the
   plank and left the dog quivering in the hallway, so injured and frightened
   that she wouldn't let even Zeena come near her. This incident left the dog
   traumatized for a long time afterwards.
   SOURCES: Diane LaVey, Zeena LaVey.
   LEGEND: On ASL's original death certificate the date of his demise was
   recorded as October 31, 1997 (Halloween).
   REALITY: An official investigation by the City of San Francisco determined
   that ASL's actual date of death was October 29, 1997 and that the
   "Halloween" date had been illegally written on the document.
   SOURCES: Death Certificate #380278667, San Francisco Department of Public
   Health; Dr. Giles Miller (attending physician at ASL's death), Physician's
   Amendment to Death Certificate, 11/26/97.
   RESEARCH REFERENCES: Wright, Lawrence, "Sympathy for the Devil", _Rolling
   Stone_ #612, September 5, 1991, Saints and Sinners. New York: Alfred A.
   Knopf, 1993. Aquino, Michael A., _The Church of Satan_. San Francisco:
   Temple of Set, 1983. We extend our thanks to ASL's relatives and associates
   who contributed their memories.

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