Anton Szandor Lavey

Anton LaVey
File:Anton LaVey photo.jpg
Born Howard Stanton Levey
(1930-04-11)April 11, 1930
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died October 29, 1997(1997-10-29) (aged 67)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Known for LaVeyan Satanism
Religion LaVeyan Satanist
Spouse(s) Carole Lansing (1935-1975) (m. 1951–60)
Partner(s) Diane Hegarty
Blanche Barton
Children Karla LaVey (born 1952)
Zeena Schreck (born LaVey - 1963)
Satan Xerxes Carnacki LaVey (born November 1, 1993)

Anton Szandor LaVey[1] (born Howard Stanton Levey; April 11, 1930 – October 29, 1997) was an American author, occultist, and musician. He was the founder of the Church of Satan as well as the author of The Satanic Bible and the founder of LaVeyan Satanism, a synthesized system of his understanding of human nature and the insights of philosophers who advocated materialism and individualism, for which he claimed no supernatural or theistic inspiration.


Ancestry and early life

LaVey was born as Howard Stanton Levey in Chicago, Illinois. His father, Michael Joseph Lavey (1903-1992), from Chicago, Illinois married Lavey's mother, the former Gertrude Augusta Coultron who was born to a Russian father and Ukrainian mother who had emmigrated to Ohio in 1893; both became naturalized American citizens in 1900. According to his biography, however, his ancestry includes French, Georgian, Russian, Ukrainian, Alsatian, German, and Romanian.[2][3]

LaVey's family moved to California, where he spent his early life in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Globe, Arizona. 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.[4]

He attended Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California, until the age of 16.[5][6] According to his biography, 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. He would later work as an organist in bars, lounges and nightclubs. In the foreword to the German version of The Satanic Bible, he cites this as the impetus to defy Christian religion as he knew it. He accused church-goers of employing double moral standards.[7] 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.[8]

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 the police department. Later biographers questioned whether LaVey ever worked with the SFPD, as there are no records substantiating the claim.[1][9] 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 (whom he had met in the circus as an animal trainer and painter of carnival scenes) 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 many years and mothered his second daughter, Zeena Galatea LaVey, in 1963.[10] At the end of their relationship, Hegarty sued for palimony.[11][12]

Beginnings as a Satanist

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, Dr. Cecil E. Nixon and Kenneth Anger.

Church of Satan

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. 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. Media attention followed the subsequent Satanic wedding ceremony of Radical 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 Zeena, which garnered world-wide publicity and was originally recorded on The Satanic Mass LP)[13][14][15][16] 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,[17] H.L. Mencken, and Jack London 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 which were actually penned by Michael A. Aquino who would later found the Temple of Set.

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 Joe Pyne, Phil Donahue, and Johnny Carson, and in a feature length documentary called Satanis: The Devil's Mass in 1970. He would be credited for the mainstreaming of Satanism and Witchcraft in the U.S. during the 1960s and after.

LaVey’s third and final companion was Blanche Barton. Barton and LaVey are the parents of Satan Xerxes Carnacki LaVey, born November 1, 1993. Barton succeeded him 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.[18] He was taken to St. Mary's, a Catholic hospital, because it was the closest available. For reasons open to speculation, the time and date of his death was incorrect (by two days) listed as the morning of Halloween on his death certificate. A secret Satanic funeral, attended by invitation only, was held in Colma after which LaVey's body was cremated.[5]

LaVey related books

Books by LaVey

Books featuring writings by LaVey

Books about LaVey

  • The Devil's Avenger: A Biography of Anton Szandor LaVey by Burton H. Wolfe (Pyramid Books, 1974, ISBN 0-515-03471-1, Out of print)
  • The Black Pope by Burton H. Wolfe (a drastically revised and updated edition of The Devil's Avenger; available at
  • The Secret Life Of A Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey by Blanche Barton (Feral House, 1990, ISBN 0-922915-12-1)
  • Popular Witchcraft: Straight from the Witch's Mouth by Jack Fritscher ; featuring Anton LaVey (University of Wisconsin Press : Popular Press, 2004, ISBN 0-299-20300-X, hardcover, ISBN 0-299-20304-2, paperback)
  • The 2009 play 'Debate' by Irish author Seán Ferrick features LaVey as a character. He is one of four witnesses in a case between God and The Devil, and events from both his life and after his death are used as evidence. He was portrayed by Mark O'Brien and Fiachra MacNamara

Recordings of Anton LaVey

  • The Satanic Mass, LP (Murgenstrumm Records, 1968; re-released on CD with one bonus track, "Hymn of the Satanic Empire, or The Battle Hymn of the Apocalypse", by Amarillo Records, 1994; Mephisto Media, 2001)
  • Answer Me/Honolulu Baby, 7" single (Amarillo Records, 1993)
  • Strange Music, 10" EP (Amarillo Records, 1994; now available through Reptilian Records)
  • Satan Takes A Holiday, CD (Amarillo Records, 1995; now available through Reptilian Records)
Religious titles
Preceded by
Church established
High Priest of the Church of Satan
Succeeded by
Peter H. Gilmore after vacancy

See also


External links

Writings by LaVey

  • The Nine Satanic Statements
  • The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth
  • The Nine Satanic Sins
  • Pentagonal Revisionism: A Five-Point Program, 1988
  • The World’s Most Powerful Religion
  • Enochian Pronunciation Guide
  • Letters From The Devil from The National Insider, Vol. 14, No. 17, April 27, 1969.
  • On Occultism of the Past from The Cloven Hoof, September 1971 c.e., Volume Three, Number Nine.

Interviews with LaVey

  • Section concerning Anton LaVey in Chapter XII (Satan in the Suburbs) of "Occult America" by John Godwin (Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1972)
  • Section concerning Anton LaVey in "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sorcery, But Were Afraid to Ask" by Arlene J. Fitzgerald (Manor Books, 1973)
  • The Washington Post Magazine", February 23, 1986.
  • The Birth of Tragedy", No. 4 “The God Issue”, November 1986 - January 1987
  • "High Society", August 1994.
  • "The Doctor is in......" by Shane & Amy Bugbee in "MF Magazine" #3, Summer 1997.
  • Interview with Anton LaVey by Michelle Carr and Elvia Lahman, originally published in the September 11, 1997 Velvet Hammer souvenir programme.

About LaVey

  • Church of Satan's official website.
  • Anton LaVey: Legend and Reality
  • disinformation.
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Find A Grave Entry
  • People of Significance entry for LaVey
  • NNDB
  • Spin magazine" (February 1998, pg. 64).

Template:LaVeyan Satanism

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.