Zeena Schreck (formerly LaVey) and the Church of Satan

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Herbert Arthur Sloane

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A news article, published December 4, 1968, describing Sloane as a “Witch” ,

Herbert Arthur Sloane was the first person known to have organized and led a specifically Satanic religious group. Its name was the Ophite Cultus Sathanas. Sloane — a World War II U. S. Army veteran, barber, Spiritualist minister, numerologist, card and tea leaf reader, hypnotist, and evidentiary medium — formed the group in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1948, and also headed his own local branch of the organization, Our Lady of Endor Coven. As Sloane changed location, the headquarters of the Ophite Cultus Sathanas relocated with him, first to Mishawaka and South Bend, Indiana in the 1950s, and then to Toledo, Ohio in the 1960s, where it remained until Sloane’s death in 1975. It is estimated that membership in his group numbered fewer than a dozen people at any given time; according to one contemporary account there were five local members.

satanservice.org has gathered previously unknown documents pertinent to the life of Sloane, the first public Satanist leader in American history, for public viewing here.

This .pdf, Our Lady Of Endor Coven Memo 1968 – Herbert Sloane, is a memo in which Sloane clarifies his beliefs.

The Marquis de Sade

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The Marquis de Sade

One has only to learn of the sordid life of the Marquis de Sade to debunk the conventional wisdom that there are no atheists in foxholes. The Marquis spent his entire life in a foxhole of his own design, and never was there an atheist of firmer conviction. “For mortal men there is but one hell,” he said, “and that is the folly and wickedness and spite of his fellows; but once his life is over, there’s an end to it: his annihilation is final and entire, of him nothing survives.”

Born June 2nd, 1740, Donatien Alphonse Francois, Marquis of Sade, he cultivated a reputation in pre-revolutionary Paris for leading a libertine lifestyle. As a youth, he pursued a brief military career as Colonel of a Dragoon regiment in the Seven Years’ War, cementing a preoccupation with violence that would follow him his entire life. The only appetite of the Marquis’ more voracious was his craving for sadomasochistic sex, which he partook of with great enthusiasm after his return from battle in 1763. The Marquis’ sexual exploits were the stuff of the raunchiest French erotica; a married man with a son, he was said to have had an affair with his wife’s sister, who was living with them in his castle at Lacoste, as well as scores of prostitutes of either gender. For five years, despite a growing police record, the Marquis managed only minor prison sentences for his outlandish behavior due in no small part to his noble status.

Problems began for him on Easter Sunday in 1768. He was alleged to have solicited a woman, Rose Keller, for sexual services. Though it is not known whether or not Keller was a prostitute by trade, what happened in the Marquis’ chateau at Arcueil where he took her is not in dispute: she was detained and abused sexually and physically, escaping only after climbing out of a second-story window and running for safety. The Marquis’ mother-in-law obtained a lettre de cachet, excluding him from the jurisdiction of the courts, to avoid legal backlash. This decision would prove disastrous for him years later.

In 1772, the Marquis was involved in a scandal in Marseille involving the non-lethal poisoning of prostitutes with the aphrodesiac Spanish fly, and sodomy with his manservant Latour. To modern observers, it would seem the Marquis was up to his usual debauchery; to French society, he had committed an abominable sin, the punishment for which was death. Sade and Latour were sentenced to death in absentia. Sade fled with his manservant and his wife’s sister to Italy to avoid arrest; he was captured at the Fortress of Miolans, but escaped four months later and returned to Lacoste, where his very forgiving wife became an accomplice to his subsequent misdeeds.

Between the years of 1773 and 1777, the Marquis kept a group of young employees in Lacoste to assist him while he remained a fugitive from the law. Many complained of sexual misconduct and left his service, attracting the attention of authorities. He fled to Italy once more, but returned in 1776; undeterred by the continued threat of death, he resumed employing servants and subsequently losing them through his relentless harassment.

In 1777, the father of one of his employees came to Lacoste to claim his daughter, attempting to shoot the Marquis at point-blank range before he left. Sade’s story would have ended there had the gun not jammed.

Eventually, Sade grew complacent. In late 1777, he was tricked into coming out of hiding after receiving news that his mother had fallen ill and wished to see him in Paris; by this point, his mother had already passed. He was arrested and imprisoned in the Chateau de Vincennes. Though he succeeded in appealing his death sentence in 1778, he remained imprisoned under the lettre de cachet.

The Chateau de Vincennes was closed in 1784, prompting Sade and the other prisoners to be transferred to Bastille. There, Sade took up writing to pass the time. In two weeks in 1787, Sade penned Les infortunes de la vertu (in English: The Misfortunes of Virtue, otherwise known as Justine), his first major work of erotic fiction. In it, he detailed the trials and tribulations of his titular character, whose Christian virtues are of cold comfort to her.

Sade also wrote a sequel, entitled Les prospérités du vice (in English: Vice Amply Rewarded, otherwise known as Juliette). Whereas Justine is a passive victim of her own adherence to virtue, Juliette is a lascivious, amoral murderess whose all-consuming ambition to host orgies, blaspheme against Catholics, and acquire ludicrous amounts of wealth at the expense of those closest to her ensures her eventual happy ending.

Sade was in the process of writing his magnum opus, Les 120 Journées de Sodome (in English: The 120 Days of Sodom) during 1789 when on July 2nd, it is alleged he shouted from the window of his cell to the streets below, inciting a small riot. Two days later, he was transferred to the insane asylum at Charenton. In the process, he lost his original manuscript of Les Journées. The more devastating blow came on July 14th, when the storming of Bastille occurred. Had he bitten his tongue, he may have been among the escapees.

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An illustration from 120 Days of Sodom

In 1790, the new Constituent Assembly abolished the system implementing lettre de cachet, and Sade was released. He returned from prison to find that his estate in Lacoste had been sacked by an angry mob a year prior, prompting a move to Paris. His wife divorced him shortly thereafter.

A free man, however worse for wear, Sade immediately endeavored to publish his works anonymously. Then, in an attempt to legitimize himself under the new Revolutionary government, Sade took to calling himself ‘Citizen,’ as noble titles were no longer in vogue. He was elected to the National Convention, where he wrote political pamphlets in praise of radical leftist views. It is suggested that during this time, he was the target of slanderous abuse by his fellow party representatives for his aristocratic background. To make matters worse, in May of 1972, his son, Donatien-Claude-Armand, deserted from the military, forcing Sade to publically – and humiliatingly – disavow his own flesh and blood to preserve his legitimacy.

Having witnessed the Reign of Terror in 1793, Sade grew increasingly critical of Robespierre. On the 5th of December, he was relieved of his post, accused of the crime of “moderatism,” and imprisoned without trial for a year. After Robespierre’s overthrow and execution in 1794, Sade was again released.

All but destitute after the twice-over changing of governments, Sade sold what remained of his estate in Lacoste and dwindled into obscurity. Despite having, by this point, gained an enormous amount of weight and having a reputation for being of wicked sexual inclinations, Sade still managed to support his voracious carnal appetite with a steady stream of partners. Among them was Marie-Constance Quesnet, a former actress and mother of a six-year-old son. Her husband had abandoned her. As a single mother, Quesnet appreciated the magnitude of Sade’s loneliness in a way few others could. She remained his consistent companion for the rest of his life.

In 1801, Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the arrest of the author of Justine and Juliette, finding the novels criminally obscene. Sade was arrested and imprisoned without trial – first in Saint-Pelagie, then to Bicetre, following allegations that he’d attempted to seduce younger inmates during his stay in the former prison.

His family intervened, having him declared insane in 1803. He was transferred again to Charenton, where his stay was financed by his ex-wife and son. Quesnet lived with him during his stay.

Abbé de Coulmier, the director of Charenton at the time, approached psychotherapy with a unique perspective. He encouraged Sade to continue writing, and even allowed him to host plays for the Parisian public to spectate with fellow inmates as actors. For this six-year period, an aged Sade enjoyed authoring satirical plays with his usual emphasis on shock value, drawing inspiration from his remarkably fruitful love life. He began a sexual relationship with Joe Hallmark, the thirteen-year-old son of an employee at the asylum, with the blessing of his very open-minded life-partner Quesnet.

In 1809, new police orders had Sade’s pens and paper confiscated, as well as relocated him to solitary confinement. In 1813, all theatrical performances at the asylum were suspended.

Sade died a year later, alone, without even his writing to comfort him. On the request of his son, his manuscripts were gathered and burned.

H.C. Agrippa and Johann Weyer

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H.C. Agrippa

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, better known as H.C. Agrippa, lectured at the University of Dole in Cologne, Germany in 1512. Two years earlier, while studying with polymath and cryptographer Johannes Trithemius, he revealed to his friend the earliest draft of De occulta philosophia libri tres (in English: Three Books Concerning Occult Philosophy). Trithemius was guardedly approving; he encouraged Agrippa to continue his voluminous research on the occult … but in secret, so as not to incur persecution for his fringe beliefs. He continued to work on his magnum opus for twenty years.

Agrippa was not given to secrecy. Due to his obvious occult inclinations, he was denounced as a “Judaizing heretic” by his peers. His later angry response to the university did not endear him to it any better.

Parting with the university on bad terms, Agrippa lead a wanderer’s life. He took a succession of odd jobs, each of which he was quietly denounced by and fired from for his public occult practices. With each firing came another vitriolic rebuttal.

Apart from a consistent pattern of spurious employment, Agrippa never suffered any of the persecution one would expect of someone espousing his beliefs at the time. (Laws prohibiting ritual magic would not be codified until decades after his death in 1535.) In fact, his openness inspired others to nurture an interest in esoteric knowledge. Among them was Johann Weyer, who, at the age of fourteen, became a live-in student of Agrippa’s in Antwerp, Belgium in 1529.

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Johann Weyer

In 1545, Weyer was appointed town physician of Arnhem in the Netherlands. While in this station, he was called for expert consultation in the 1548 case of a suspected fortune teller. Being raised sympathetic to occult practice and embracing the scientific discipline his work as a physician demanded, Weyer broached the subject with skepticism few others held.

In 1550, Weyer moved to Cleves, Germany, where he served as court physician for Duke William the Rich. In 1563, he authored De Praestigiis Daemonum et Incantationibus ac Venificiis (in English: On the Illusions of the Demons and on Spells and Poisons), a point-by-point rebuttal of the Malleus Maleficarum. It included an appendix called the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum (in English: The False Kingdom of the Demons) describing the hierarchy of demons in Hell. His cited source manuscript was Liber Officiorum Spirituum, seu Liber dictus Empto. Salomonis, de Principibus & Regibus Daemoniorum (in English: Book of the offices of spirits, or the book called Empto. Salomonis concerning the princes and kings of the demons).

Despite being a fascinating glimpse into ancient demonic invocations, it was not Weyer’s intention to teach readers how to perform them, “lest anyone who is mildly curious, may dare to rashly imitate this proof of folly.”

Weyers was the first to submit a skeptical rebuttal to the religiously fueled paranoia of the time. However, it was but a whisper beneath the trumpeting of Christian zealotry.

Thus, the witch hunts continued, making it dangerous for others to step forward in kind until the last witch was executed in Europe – either in 1782 in Switzerland, or in 1811 in Prussia.

Anton Szandor LaVey and the Church of Satan

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Anton Szandor LaVey, The Black Pope

Born Howard Stanton Levey in Chicago, Illinois on April 11th, 1930, LaVey spent the better part of his childhood in San Francisco, California and Globe, Arizona. Possessed with an early flair for the dramatic, LaVey had the support of his parents as he pursued his musical ambitions in his free time. His favorites were keyboards, like the pipe organ and the calliope.

At the age of sixteen, he dropped out from Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California to join a circus. His initial act had him as a cage boy performing with large cats, and then as a musician playing the calliope. LaVey would later cite this period of his life as the source of his vitriolic religious cynicism; he alleged that the same men attending his bawdy Saturday night shows were in the pews on Sunday praying away their sins.

At the age of twenty, LaVey met Carole Lansing. They were were married the following year. Their union culminated in LaVey’s first daughter, Karla LaVey, in 1952.

In 1960, after LaVey’s attentions were captivated by Diane Hegarty, a beautiful woman twelve years his junior, he divorced his wife and pursued a relationship with her instead. Their union resulted in the birth of his second daughter, Zeena Galatea LaVey, in 1963. LaVey and Hegarty never married, but their relationship lasted for twenty five years.

Hegarty was sympathetic to LaVey’s hatred of organized religion. With her support, LaVey began hosting Friday night lectures on the occult, magic rituals, and his alternative philosophy. One of his attendants suggested he had everything he needed to start his own religion.

Thus, on Walpurgisnacht – April 30th, 1966 – LaVey declared it to be the first year in the age of Satan: Anno Satanas. He shaved his head, as he described it, “in the tradition of ancient executioners,” sparing his signature pointed goatee. He took to wearing black, with pointed collars and flowing capes, and decorated his house with gothic trimmings to serve as a backdrop for his Satanic sermons.

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Diane Hegarty and LaVey

Hegarty, meanwhile, handled the new-found Church of Satan’s practical affairs. She was LaVey’s hostess, secretary, agent, public relations consultant, editor and stay-at-home mother, as well as an enchantress in her husband’s high-profile rituals.

On May 23rd, 1976, LaVey performed the Satanic baptism of his daughter Zeena in full view of the press. On February 1st, he officiated the wedding vows of radical journalist John Raymond and New York socialite Judith Case. The newspapers dubbed him “The Black Pope.” Thus began LaVey’s passionate affair with the media.

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LaVey conducting a Satanic baptism on his daughter Zeena

During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, LaVey appeared in magazines such as Look, McCall’s, Newsweek and Time. He appeared on talk shows, including Joe Pyne, Phil Donahue, and Johnny Carson. He starred in a feature-length documentary entitled Satanis: The Devil’s Mass in 1970.

The fame no doubt strained LaVey’s relationship with his then-life partner Hagerty, who broke up with him and sued for palimony in 1985.

LaVey embraced his relationship with his daughter after the break-up. Zeena, having likewise undergone the media’s constant scrutiny for her entire young life, became High Priestess of the Church of Satan during the 1980’s.

Zeena LaVey, High Priestess of the Church of Satan

Zeena LaVey, High Priestess of the Church of Satan

She appeared in a mockumentary about Charles Manson by Geraldo Rivera entitled Devil Worship: Exposing Satan’s Underground on August 8th, 1988 (later remembered as the 8/8/88 Rally), as well as numerous press outlets and talk shows. Hagerty’s only remaining involvement with the family was collaborating with Anton and Zeena to disperse harmful accusations of the Church of Satan’s involvement in “Satanic ritual abuse.”

In 1990, Zeena ultimately resigned her post as High Priestess, renounced her affiliation with the Church of Satan, and discontinued all contact with her family. She would go on to pursue worship with the Temple of Set, incorporating it with tantric values and yoga. She also became a professional bereavement counselor; she remembers her time with the LaVeys as a dysfunctional period in her life, and has committed herself to assisting others in similar situations.

LaVey’s third and final companion was Blanche Barton, born Sharon Densley, who he met the day after Hagerty left the Black House. Barton succeeded her post immediately.

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Blanche Barton and LaVey

On August 1st, 1993, LaVey’s third and final child, mothered by Barton, was born: Satan Xerxes Carnacki LaVey.

At the age of 67 on October 29th, 1997, LaVey died of pulmonary edema. He passed in a Catholic hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center – if only because it was the closest available at the time. The time and date on his death certificate was incorrectly listed as the morning of Halloween, for reasons unknown. An invitation-only Satanic funeral was hosted in Colma, California, after which he was cremated.

Following LaVey’s death, Barton stepped down from her post. Magus Peter H. Gilmore, the current head of the Church of Satan, succeeded her.

Eliphas Levi and the Goat of Mendes

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Eliphas Levi

Eliphas Levi, originally Alphone Louis Constant, was born the son of a shoemaker in Paris in 1810. He was educated early in the priesthood, but was expelled from seminary at the age of fourteen, suggesting an early fascination with the occult. He spent his lifetime earning a pittance giving lessons to students, and even less from the proceeds of his prolific writing career.

Levi published his first work related to magic, Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (in English: Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual), in 1854. Six years later, he published Histoire de la Magie (in English: The History of Magic). La Clef des Grands Mystères (in English: The Key to the Great Mysteries) was published a year later. In 1865, he published La Science des Esprits (in English: The Science of Spirits); in 1868, Le Grand Arcane, ou l’Occultisme Dévoilé (in English: The Great Secret, or Occultism Unveiled); and finally, in 1892, Magical Rituals of the Sanctum Regnum was published seventeen years after his death.

Levi’s biggest contribution to Satanism was not his bibliography (which primarily dealt with generalized occult magic, not specifically invocation of demons), but a cartoon he drew in Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie of Baphomet, Goat of the Witches’ Sabbath. The infamous portrait was influenced by the Devil card in early Tarot decks, though it is speculated that Levi was also influenced by carvings on Templar churches in Paris depicting squatting half-beasts with female breasts and bat wings.

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Baphomet, The Goat of Mendes

For many, Levi’s interpretation of the Infernal Goat is the face of Satan, and among the most recognizable symbols of the occult.