Popular Witchcraft:
Straight from the Witch's Mouth

Jack Fritscher

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Introductory Interview

Anton Szandor LaVey

High Priest and Founder of the Church of Satan,

author of The Satanic Bible,

and Icon of 1960s Counter Culture,

San Francisco, Californian

May 7, 1970

Anton Szandor LaVey invoked the United States Constitution on a night sacred to witches, Walpurgisnacht, April 30, 1966, when he founded his Church of Satan on the premise that Satanism is am ancient religion protected by the Constitution. His was a defining act during the cultural revolution of the 1960s. At 36, Anton LaVey was young enough to influence the best of the 60s, and old enough not to fall prey to the worst. He wrote his witchcraft manifesto, The Satanic Bible, that became an international bestseller. The media loved his invention of himself. The press named him the “Black Pope” and the “High Priest of the Church of Satan.” He appeared on magazine covers. Director Roman Polanski cast him as the Devil in Rosemary’s Baby.

          His controversial religion of Satanism was a human-interest lark to the hungry media for three years, until on the night of August 9, 1969, the Charles Manson Family killed Roman Polanski’s pregnant movie-star wife, and several others, and changed everything in American popular culture concerning cult and coven, sex and violence. America demanded serious investigations. On the morning of August 10, 1969, the media anointed Anton LaVey as the point man to explain the dark side of American culture.

          Anton LaVey became a lightning rod. He was feared, loved, hated, and respected. He became an icon of popular culture. He was called the “Devil Himself.” Sprung from his intellect, and carried on his shoulders, the Church of Satan entered history, and will be mentioned for centuries to come.

          Anton LaVey certainly looks like the archetype of the archfiend: shaved head, goatee, piercing eyes, black clothes. When he invited me to his Victorian, the Black House, at 6114 California Street, San Francisco, he insisted I arrive at midnight on May 7, 1970. His wife, Diane, welcomed me into their parlor where I was left alone while the clock finished chiming twelve. The black room lined with book shelves resembled a faculty professor’s home, except for the huge tombstone coffee table, the animal heads, the art and scarves and candles piercing the shimmering gloom.

          To my left, the front parlor was painted black, with a red ceiling. Black curtains draped the windows through which I could not hear California Street. Against the west wall stood an altar installed over the fireplace. On its mantle candles guttered lighting on the wall above the altar a huge painted baphomet of the traditional five-pointed star in a circle. Director Roger Corman has always said that in a horror movie, a house is always a woman’s body. This sanctuary perfectly reflected the centrality of women in the Church of Satan. In fact, Diane LaVey later joked that the altar was exactly sized to fit a woman, precisely her.

          As the clock chimed fifteen minutes past midnight, a book case opposite the couch on which I was sitting, glided open. Anton LaVey appeared, all in black, wearing a Catholic priest’s Roman collar and a red-lined Bela Lugosi cape. He was everything he was supposed to be. He was absolutely charming. He was every inch the assured embodiment of his proverb in The Satanic Bible: “Positive thinking and positive action add up to results.” Our months of correspondence paid off. We each understood the other. For two and a half hours, we talked. Our time together was purposeful conversation more than interview, even though, from start to finish, he watched me write notes on my yellow legal pad of every word he said.

          At nearly three in the morning, Anton LaVey summoned Diane LaVey to join us. For thirty minutes, we three chatted. It was at that time Diane LaVey, lightening the room with humor, mentioned that the altar was perfect for a five-foot-three blonde woman, which, of course, that being the message, she happened to be. Anton LaVey asked me if I would like to participate in a ritual. But, of course. He asked Diane to bring out a baphomet amulet.

           “I would like,” he said, “to present you with this token.” The three of us entered the front parlor. Dianne LaVey stood to the side as a witness. Anton LaVey stood on the altar. I knelt on the altar step. Ritual to a Catholic like me is universally familiar, and universally respected. Anton spoke his invocation, and raised the red-and-black enameled amulet, embossed with the pentagram and a goat face, hanging from a silver chain above my head. Again he made an invocation. I had been blessed by many priests, and he was blessing me again.

          “Hail, Satan,” he said.

          “Hail, Satan,” Diane LaVey said.

          “Hail, Satan,” I said.

          The earth did not open up and swallow me. The ritual blessing was repeated three times. On the third pass, Anton LaVey, High Priest of the Church of Satan, placed the silver chain over my head. The metal baphomet rested cold for a moment on my forehead. I felt his fingers pull at the chain which was a perfect circle with no clasp. I had never told him that in 1963 the Catholic Church had ordained me as an exorcist. As his fingers struggled to fit the chain over my head, the chain broke and the baphomet fell to the altar step and rolled across the floor.

          Anton LaVey and I looked at each other.

          It was one of those inquisitive moments when two people’s eyes really connect.

          In the way that women introduce irony to levitate seriousness, Diane LaVey said, “Oh, you’re exactly like Anton. You have a big head.”

          We laughed.

          We breathed.

          We turned serious.

          We hailed Satan one, twice, thrice more.

          Then successfully, Anton LaVey, worked the chain down my head and across my face. My eyes studied up close the palms of his hands. He smelled human. Finally, the baphomet rested on my naked chest.

          Since that time, Anton LaVey has told people how pleased he was with the way the interview I wrote turned out.

“This is the best interview Anton LaVey has given.”

Fate Magazine

          This seminal interview, graciously given to me by Anton LaVey, is often referenced, quoted, and reprinted, and is, with all rights reserved, copyright Jack Fritscher. “I subtracted myself from this and all the interviews. I edited Anton LaVey’s conversation into a cohesive statement to represent his voice, his personality, and his philosophy as told to me during the interview. This is the truth of what Anton LaVey said. He himself has frequently endorsed the accuracy.”


Anton LaVey Speaks

“I don’t feel that raising the Devil in an anthropomorphic sense is quite as feasible as theologians or metaphysicians would like to think. I have felt His presence but only as an exteriorized extension of my own potential, as an alter-ego or evolved concept that I have been able to exteriorize. With a full awareness, I can communicate with this semblance, this creature, this Demon, this personification that I see in the eyes of the symbol of Satan–the Goat of Mendes–as I commune with it before the altar. None of these is anything more than a mirror image of that potential I perceive in myself.

          “I have this awareness that the objectification is in accord with my own ego. I’m not deluding myself that I’m calling something that is disassociated or exteriorized from myself the Godhead. This Force is not a controlling factor that I have no control over. The Satanic principle is that man willfully controls his destiny. If he doesn’t, some other man–a lot smarter than he is–will. Satan is, therefore, an extension of one’s psyche or volitional essence, so that the extension can sometimes converse and give directives through the self in a way that mere thinking of the self as a single unit cannot. In this way it does help to depict in an externalized way the Devil per se. The purpose is to have something of an idolatrous, objective nature to commune with. However, man has connection, contact, control. This notion of an exteriorized God-Satan is not new.

          “My opinion of succubi and incubi is that these are dream manifestations of man’s coping with guilt as in the case of nocturnal emissions with a succubus visiting a man or of erotic dreams with an incubus visiting a woman. This whole idea of casting the blame off one’s own sexual feelings onto convenient Demons to satisfy the Church has certainly proved useful in millions of cases. When the priest is confronted one morning by a parishioner holding a stiffened nightshirt, a semen-encrusted nightgown, the priest can tell him about this ‘terrible’ succubus who visited him in the night. They proceed to exorcize the Demon, getting the parishioner off the sexual hook and giving the priest a little prurient fun as he plays with the details of its predication on some pretty girl in the village. This, on top of it all, leaves the girl suspect of being a witch.

          “Naturally the priest can keep his eyes open as to who fits the succubi descriptions that he’s heard in the confessional. Of course, the concept of incubi and succubi has also been used by people who have engaged in what they would consider illicit sexual relations. More than one lady’s window has been left open purposely for the incubus to enter–in the form of some desirable male. This can then be chalked up the next day to Demonic possession. All these very convenient dodges have kept Christianity and its foibles alive for many hundreds of years.

          “The birth of a satanic child is another manifestation of the need to extend the Christ-myth of the virgin birth to an antithetical concept of a Demonic birth, a Devil-child. Rosemary’s Baby wasn’t the first to use this age-old plot. The Devil’s own dear son or daughter is a rather popular literary excursion. Certainly the Devil walks in the sinews and marrow of a man because he is the representation of fleshly deity. Any animal heritage, any natural predilections, any real human attributes would be seen in the personification of the Devil. Consequently, the Devil would have offspring and be proud of them, antithetic as they are to Christianity. Instead of being ashamed the child was conceived in sin and baptized out of sin, the Devil revels in the lust conception of his child. This child would be involved much more magically than one who was –carnal desire–that produced him.

          “Religious artists’ desexualizing of the birth process (Christ coming out of the bowels of Mary) has caused women to suffer childbirth pains much more than they need to because of the age-old collective unconsciousness that they must suffer this and the periodic suffering that comes every 28 days. Both these are attempts to stamp out or discredit what is in the animal world the most passionate feelings when the animal comes into heat at that time of the month. The ‘curse’ of the menstrual cycle is a manufactured thing, manufactured by society that recognizes this period as one of great desire. Automatically, we have overemphasized its pains, tensions, turmoil, cramps. This taboo is not just Christian. Women have been placed in huts outside many villages. Every culture has thought she’d cause more jealousy and turmoil at this time because of this increase in her passions. Male animals fight more when the female is in heat. Having been a lion tamer, I know even the females are more combative at this time.

          “Christianity has subjected women at this time to even more self-recrimination. This is the big difference between tribal customs and Christian: in the tribe, the woman is considered bleeding poison; in Christianity the woman is not only considered taboo, but she has to endure her pain as a ‘moral’ reminder of her mortality and guilt. The primitive woman can give birth relatively painlessly and return to the fields. She goes through the physical act, but not through the moral agonies of the Christian woman. Such is the compounding of guilt. This kind of hypocrisy is my ‘Enemy Number One.’

          “I don’t think young people can be blamed too much for their actions and antics. Although they coat their protests in ideological issues, I think what they resent most is not the actions of older adults, but the gross hypocrisy under which adults act. What is far worse than making war is making war and calling it peace and love and saying it’s ‘waged under the auspices of God’ or that ‘it’s the Christian thing to do.’ Onward, Christian soldiers and all that!

          “I think that the worst thing about Christianity is its gross hypocrisy which is the most repugnant thing in the world to me. Most Christians practice a basic Satanic way of life every hour of their waking day and yet they sneer at somebody who has built a religion that is no different from what they’re practicing, but is simply calling it by its right name. I call it by the name that is antithetical to that which they hypocritically pay lip-service when they’re in church.

          “Take, for example, the roster of people executed for witchcraft in the Middle Ages. They were unjustly maligned because they were free-thinkers, beautiful girls, heretics, Jews, or people who happened to be of a different faith than was ordained. They were mercilessly tortured and exterminated without any thought of Christian charity. The basic lies and propaganda of the Christian Fathers added to the torment of the people. Yet the crime in today’s streets and the mollycoddling of heinous criminals is a by-product of latter-day Christian charity. Christian ‘understanding’ has made our city streets unsafe. Yet helpless millions of people, simply because they were unbelievers or disbelievers, were not ‘understood.’ They were killed. It’s not right that a mad dog who is really dangerous should be ‘understood’ and those who merely dissent from Christianity should have been killed. At the Church of Satan we receive lots of damning letters from people condemning us in the most atrocious language. They attest they are good Christians, but they are full of hate. They don’t know if I’m a good guy or a bad guy. They only know me by the label they’ve been taught: that Satanism is evil. Therefore they judge me on the same basis those people did in the 13th through 16th centuries. These very same people hardly ever get worked up over a murderer.

          “I think, in short, that Christ has failed in all his engagements as both savior and deity. If his doctrines were that easily misinterpreted, if his logic was that specious, let’s throw it out. It has no place. It is worthless to a civilized society if it is subject to gross misinterpretation. I’m not just protesting the ‘human element’ in Christianity the way Christians do when something goes wrong with their system. I void the whole of the system that lends itself to such misinterpretation. Why the hell didn’t the writers mean what they said or say what they meant when they wrote that stupid book of fables, the Bible? This is the way I feel about it.

          “Anybody who takes up the sanctimonious ‘cult of white light’ is just playing footsy with the Christian Fathers. This is why the bane of my existence are these white witches, white magicians, people who’d like to keep their foot in the safety zone of righteousness.

          “They refuse to see the Demonic in themselves, the motivations Satan’s Majesty and Nature has placed inside them for their terrestrial goal. Materialism is part of Satanism, but a right kind of materialism. Everyone wants to acquire. The only thing wrong with money is it falls into the wrong hands. This makes it a curse, a disadvantage rather than an advantage. The marketplace is full of thieves. Easy wealth may be something would-be Faustian Satanists would like to get ahold of.

          “In my experience people have come to me after I had opened doors for them. They come back wanting to know how to turn ‘it’ off as they have more troubles than they had before. Once I offer to people what they think they want, given a week to think it over, they get cold feet. Success is a threat. Threatened by success, most people show their true colors. They show they need a God or an astrological forecast to really lay the blame on for their own inadequacy in the threatening face of imminent success.

          “Man needs religion, dogma, ritual that keeps him exteriorized outside of himself to waylay his guilt and inadequacy. Men will always, therefore, search for a God. We should, however, be men in search of man. The man in search of God is the masochist: he is the world’s masochist. There are more than we imagine.

          “In the beginning I may not have intended Satanism to evolve into an elitist movement. But experience has taught me that Satanism can be a mass movement insofar as its basic pleasure-seeking premise is concerned. You build a better mousetrap, and people are going to flock to it. A pleasure principle is going to be more popular than denying pleasure. I can’t help attracting the masses. As for the people who practice a truly Satanic way of life, you can’t expect the masses to transcend mere lip-service to the pleasure-seeking principle and get into the magical state of the Absolute Satanist.

          “The Absolute Satanist is totally aware of his own abilities and limitations. On this self-knowledge he builds his character.

          “The Absolute Satanist is far removed from the masses who look for Satanic pleasure in the psychedelics of the head shops.

          “We Satanists are magically a part of all this surface. I realize what my magical lessons have done, the things I’ve stumbled upon. We necessarily spawn our neo-Christian masses seeking their sense of soma through pills and drugs. Certainly I don’t oppose this for other people who get stoned out of their minds. When they do this, the more material things there will be for me and my followers since all those people who freaked themselves out on drugs will be satisfied with their pills and will move off to colonies based on drugs. The rest of us, the Materialists, will inherit the world.

          “Actually, I’m very much opposed to drugs from a magical point of view, from a control point of view. I feel drugs are antithetical to magic.

          “The pseudo-Satanist or pseudo-witch or self-styled mystic who predicates his success on a drug revelation is only going to succeed within his drugged peer group. His miracles go no farther than his credibility. This type of witchery is limited. This, I say, despite the fact that the druggies are no longer just a marginal group, but are a very large subculture which threatens to be the ‘New Spirituality’ or the ‘New Mysticism’ or the ‘New Non-Materialism.’

          “Druggies don’t realize the whole concept of witchery is manipulation of other human beings. Druggies are not manipulative witches. To manipulate someone you’ve got to be able to relate to that someone. Their idea of witchery is not witchcraft so much–in the sense of witchery being manipulative magic–as witchery equaling revelation of a spiritual nature. Their superego gets developed through the use of drugs. This superego can be the ear-mark of a new world of drones who, through soma, would attain superegos which allow them while so controlled to think they have superiority over those really enjoying the fruits of the earth.

          “This is why as the leader of the Satanic movement I have to examine these popular movements in the culture from a very pragmatic point of view.

          “The point is there will always be, among the masses, substitutes for the real thing. A planned way of life–not drugs–gets the materialist what he wants. There’s nothing wrong with color TV and cars in the garage as long as the system which provides them respects law and order–a terribly overworked term

          “But as long as people don’t bother other people, then I think this is an ideal society.

          “I’m in favor of a policeman on every corner–as long as he doesn’t arrest people for thinking their own way, or for doing within the privacy of their own four walls what they like to do.

          “We haven’t been hassled too much by the law because we have so many policemen in our organization. I’m an ex-cop myself. I worked in the crime lab in San Francisco and I’ve maintained my contacts. They’ve provided for me a kind of security force. But all in all we have a very clean slate. We are very evil outlaws in theological circles, but not in civil.

          “How could we murder? We–unlike Christians–have a real regard for human bodies.

          “The Satanist is the ultimate humanist.

          “The Satanist realizes that man can be his own worst enemy and must often be protected against himself. The average man sets up situations for himself so he can be a loser. We Satanists have ancient rituals which exorcize those needs for self-abasement before they happen. We wreck Christians’ tidy little dreams.

          “When you have somebody rolling orgasmically on the floor at a revival meeting claiming an ecstasy, you tell them they’re having a ‘forbidden’ orgasm and they hate you for enlightening them. You’ve robbed them of their ‘succubus,’ of their freedom from guilt. They push their evilness on to us. In this sense, then, we are very evil.

          “I needn’t send my child to a private school. Why should I when children are, in fact, all Satanists. My daughter has no trouble at school. Ironically enough, the majority of our members are that often-attacked silent middle-class. At least fifty percent of our members have children; the other fifty percent are not rebels, but they’re not losers.

          “I was very liberal in my younger years. I would have been thrown into prison during the McCarthy purge had I been of any prominence. I was ultra-liberal, attending meetings of the Veterans of the Spanish Civil War, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the Revisionist Movements of Israel’s founding. This was all very liberal at the time. I was always for civil rights. I had Negro friends when Negro friends weren’t fashionable. A man should be judged on his accomplishments, his kindness and consideration for others.

          “A certain planned form of bigotry may be a little healthy. I mean, if a person is the worst that his race has produced, he should be prevented from using his race unless he is a credit to his race, religion, whatever it is.

          “Martin Luther King was killed because he was an articulate gentleman, concerned about his wife and family. He tried to do things in a mannerly way. A man like that belongs on a pedestal. But these loud baboons–and I choose the term–are nothing but rabble rousers, spewing venom. The more a person has at stake the more he watches his p’s and q’s. This is my test of a person’s sincerity. The public is no judge. The public is not too particular in its choosing of heroes.

          “I voted for George Wallace to act out a magical ritual. [Wallace, segregationist governor of Alabama, ran for president of the United States on a third-party ticket in 1968 causing defection of southern Democrats, and making possible the election of Republican Richard Nixon.] I performed the political ritual–knowing Wallace would not win, but wishing simply to cast my runes. Wallace’s advantage was he would have been helpful in the inert area between action and reaction. The pendulum is swinging.

          “I’ve been misinterpreted when I’ve said people like Reagan and Nixon are doing a lot to help Satanism because they are causing tremendous popular reaction–whereby we’re getting off the hook in Vietnam.

          “Popular opinion is simply a reaction against the leaders who have made their stand so heinous that the protestors don’t realize they’re doing exactly what the masters want them to do: they’re getting the masters off the hook. The masters are using the old magical technique of allowing the people to think it’s their idea. This explains the government’s permissive attitude toward protest. The idealists of the early fifties during the McCarthy era were certainly just as against violence; but the Government posture did not lie in that direction so they had to be shut up fast. Currently the show of rebellion is, therefore, a very magical ritual.

          “The new emphasis will be placed on staging. Life is a game and we’ll realize it’s a game. Life is not ‘God’s Will.’ We have to go to the point of no return before we can return. We will get to the point where anybody who is establishment-oriented is suspect as being the worst kind of individual. This will happen before we return to a rather safe normality, to a sane discrimination as to who are really the contributing members of society and who are the cancerous tissue.

          “Satanically speaking, anarchy and chaos must ensue for awhile before a new Satanic morality can prevail.

          “The new Satanic morality won’t be very different from the old law of the jungle wherein right and wrong were judged in the truest natural sense of biting and being bitten back. Satanic morality will cause a return to intrigue, to glamour, to seductiveness, to a modicum of sexual lasciviousness. Taboos will be invoked, but mostly it will be realized these things are fun.

          “The various Liberation Fronts are all part of the omelet from which the New Satanic Morality will emerge. 

          “Women’s Liberation is really quite humorous. Supposedly women were liberated after the Industrial Revolution when they got out of the sweatshops.

          “Women are going to defeat themselves, because they’re not using the ammunition of their femininity to win as women. They’re trying to reject their femininity which is their greatest magical weapon.

          “They’re parodying themselves.

          “Speaking of parody, the historical Black Mass is a parody of a parody.

          “The Black Mass parodies the Christian service which parodies a pagan. Every time a man and woman go to church on Sunday they are practicing a Black Mass by parodying ‘ancient earth rituals’ which were practiced by their ancestors before they were inverted by the Christian Fathers. Our Satanic mass captures the beauty of the self and ritualizes that. The Satanic mass is no parody. It is catharsis. The Women’s Lib-ists should simply use their femininity by taking the Devil’s name and using it and playing the Devil’s game. They should take the stigma that cultural guilt has thrown at them and invert the values, making a virtue in their semantic reversal. This is what we have done in Satanism. What theologians have supplied in stigma, we use as virtue. We therefore have the attraction of the forbidden. This has greatly aided our success.

          “I know I have been rumored to have cursed Jayne Mansfield and caused her death. [Shapely blonde movie star Mansfield, alleged lover of President John Kennedy, was killed in a car crash, in which she was reportedly decapitated, leaving New Orleans, June 29, 1967.] Jayne Mansfield was a member of the Church of Satan. I have enough material to blow sky-high all those sanctimonious Hollywood journalists who claim she wasn’t. She was a priestess in the Church of Satan. I have documentation of this fact from her. There are many things I’ll not say for obvious reasons.

          “Her lover [lawyer Sam Brody, also killed in the front seat of the car], who was a decidedly unsavory character, was the one who brought the curse upon himself. There was decidedly a curse, marked in the presence of other people. Jayne was warned constantly and periodically in no uncertain terms that she must avoid his company because great harm would befall him. It was a very sad sequence of events in which she was the victim of her own–as we mentioned earlier–inability to cope with her own success. Also the Demonic in her was crying out to be one thing, and her Apparent self demanded that she be something else. She was beaten back and forth in this inner conflict between the ‘Apparent Self ‘and the ‘Demonic Self.’ He was blackmailing her. I have definite proof of this. She couldn’t get out of his clutches. She was a bit of a masochist herself. She brought about her own demise. But it wasn’t through what I had done to curse her. The curse was directed at him. And it was a very magnificent curse.

          “The dedication of my Satanic Bible to Marilyn Monroe and Tuesday Weld [the blonde movie star of Lord Love a Duck, Pretty Poison, and Who’ll Stop the Rain] was, in Marilyn’s case, homage to a woman who was literally victimized by her own inherent witchery potential which was there in her looks. I think a great deal of the female mystique of beauty which was personified in Marilyn’s image. In the case of Tuesday Weld, it’s part of the magical ritual. She is my candidate of a living approximation of these other two women. Unlike them, Tuesday has the intelligence and emotional stability to withstand that which Marilyn Monroe could not. For this reason Tuesday is not in the public eye as much. Her own better judgment has cautioned her not to bite off more than she can chew.

          “I’d like to point out that another popular American, Ben Franklin, was a rake without question. He was a sensual dilettante. He joined up with the British Hellfire Club. Their rituals came to them from the Templars and other secret societies. We practice some of these same rituals secretly in the Church of Satan. Not only did Ben Franklin influence the activities of the Hellfire Club, his very association sheds some light on the quality of members of what would appear to be a blasphemous group of individuals. This proves the Devil is not only a gentleman, but a cultured gentleman.

          “Throughout history, the witch most feared is the witch most antithetical to the physical standards of beauty.

          “In Mediterranean cultures, anyone with blue eyes would have been the first to be named as a witch. The black woman Tituba in Salem was antithetical to New England physical standards. Anyone who is dark has an edge because of all the connotations of black arts, black magic, the dark and sinister side of human nature. Tituba probably was not only more feared but also more sought after. She was set apart physically from the rest of the people. She was the magical outsider.

          “In terms of homosexuality, the church of Satan does not employ males as altars simply because the male is not considered to be the receptacle or passive carrier of human life. He possesses the other half of what is necessary to produce life. Woman is focal as receiver of the seed in her recumbent role as absorbing altar. A male would defeat the purpose of receptor unless he were fitted out with an artificial vagina and were physically and biologically capable of symbolizing the Earth Mother.

          “We do, however, accept homosexuals. We have many in the Church of Satan. They have to be well-adjusted homosexuals–and there are many well-adjusted homosexuals who are not on the daily defensive about their sexual persuasion. Many have a great amount of self-realization. Of course, we get the cream of the crop. Because they cannot relate to the basic heterosexuality of the Church of Satan, whatever they do must be modified.

          “If the homophile were involved in defining the dogma of our Church, it would be very imbalanced for the masses of people with whom we deal. The homophile would very easily like to substitute a male for the female altar.

           “It’s a fact that a heterosexual can accept homosexuality more readily than a homosexual can accept heterosexuality.

          “Relating to the existence of the other sex is something that must be in evidence. Women cannot be denied their function in our Satanic Church.

          “Needless to add, man-hating women cause us a great lack of sensual scintillation.

          “My book The Complete Witch; or What to Do When Virtue Fails is a guide for witches. It doesn’t stress the drawing of pentacles on the floor. It smashes all the misconceptions that women have had, not only about witchery, but about their own sexuality. I think of this book like Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. Even if a woman is a man-hater, she can use her femininity to ruin that man. This book tells her how to do it. If she wants to enjoy men, this book will open her eyes to a few things.

          “Sexual fetishes we find natural. Everybody has one. These should be catered to. Sexual deviations are only negative factors when they present an obstacle to one’s success. They present an obstacle when they are carried out of the ritual chamber, out of the fantasy room into the world where others will see them disapprovingly.

          “I must tell you something quite amusing. Rosemary’s Baby did for us what The Birth of a Nation did for the Ku Klux Klan.

          “I never realized what that film could do. I remember reading that at the premiere of D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation [Hollywood epic, 1915] there were recruiting posters for the KKK in southern cities. I chuckled because at the premiere of Rosemary’s Baby, there were posters of the Church of Satan in the lobby. Here at the San Francisco premiere there was a great deal of consternation, but the film started an influx of very worthwhile new members. Since Rosemary, the quality of membership has gone up. Immeasurably.

          “Since that film with Roman Polanski, I am constantly confronted with scripts by thick-skulled exploitation producers who want me either to be technical advisor or play the role of the Devil or the Satanic doctor in their new films. They think to one-up Rosemary. What they don’t realize is that Rosemary’s Baby was popularly successful because it exploded a lot of the preconceptions of Satanism. It didn’t chop up the baby at the end. Rosemary took her baby to her breast exactly like Christianity’s Virgin Mary. It threw all the crap down the drain and showed the public who was expecting the sensational the real image of the Satanist. It will remain a masterpiece.

          “The allegory of the Christ Child in reverse is simply the Birth of the New Satanic Age, 1966. The year 1966 was used in Rosemary’s Baby, as the date of the baby’s birth, because 1966 was our Satanic Year One. The birth of the baby was the birth of Satanism.

          Rosemary’s Baby stands foursquare against the popular image of child sacrifice. The role that I played in the picture–the Devil in the shaggy suit was not from my point of view anything other than it should have been: man, animal, bestial, carnal nature coming forth in a ritualized way. The impregnation of Rosemary in that dream sequence was to me the very essence of the immodest, the bestial in man, impregnating the virginal world-mind with the re-awakening of the animalism within oneself. This impregnation was very meaningful because it spawned literally the Church of Satan. Among all the rituals in the film, this was the big ritual in Rosemary’s Baby.

          “These other movie-makers who want my opinion on their scripts are simply producing more trash of the blood-sacrifice variety. In Rosemary’s Baby, the girl who went out the window and landed on the pavement died in the pure Satanic tradition. She had made it clear–although the people who saw the film didn’t realize it–that she was a loser. Everything she said pointed to it. She’d been kicked around. She’d been on the streets. She’d been on dope. She was obviously the wrong girl to be a carrier. Satan saw her lack of maternal instinct, of winning instinct, of spunk to carry this baby out into the world. She therefore, sort of fell ‘accidentally’ out the window. The end of the film shows Rosemary throw away her Catholic heritage and cherish the Devil-Child. The natural instinct of Satanism wins out in her woman’s heart over man-made programming.

          “Even though I have done the consulting for Mephisto Waltz for 20th-Century-Fox, that film still has the old elements of witchery. It’s going to take a lot to come up with a film that’s as much a blasphemy as Rosemary’s Baby. Polanski’s other film The Fearless Vampire Killers is like nothing else that’s ever been done before in the film world. That film explodes all the puerile Christian myths about vampires. The old professor, sort of a Count Dracula, is shown to be not only the doddering old fool he really is, but also the real victim at the end. The fact that all those unfortunate murders took place at Polanski’s home–his wife Sharon Tate and all the rest–was used by the press to highlight Polanski’s interest in witchery and Satanism. The deaths had nothing to do with the films. The Polanski household was simply plagued with hippies and drug addicts. If I were to allow it, my house would be full of sycophantic loungers. If I neglected them, they’d be paranoid. I would have been put in the same position as those people at Polanski’s house had I allowed it. He attracted, as people in Hollywood do, all the creeps, kooks, and crackpots. He wasn’t around to stop it, or was too nice to put his foot down. He, in a sense, put himself in much the same position as Jayne Mansfield. [Roman Polanski won the Academy Award as Best Director for The Pianist, but he could not be present at the March 23, 2003, Oscar telecast in Hollywood as he is a fugitive from America because of his conviction for statutory rape with a 13-year-old girl in 1979.]

          “Those people that were killed at Polanski’s house were all freaked out of their minds anyway. They were people who were only a little better than the killers. As far as their warped outlooks on life, their senses of values, it was a case of the blind destroying the blind. Sharon was probably the victim of her environment, but I can’t find it in myself to whitewash these people. I know first-hand how the people at the Warhol’s Factory and the Daisy discotheque and these other nightclubs behave. They’re quite indiscriminate as to the people they take up with.

          “The Devil in Rosemary’s Baby was depicted as a combination of many anthropomorphic ideals of the bestial man: the reptilian scales, the fur, claws. A combination of the animal kingdom. It was not a red union-suit with a pitchfork. Nor was it Pan transmogrified by Christians into a cloven-hoofed Devil. The Cloven Hoof title of our newsletter was chosen precisely for its eclectic image in the popular mind as one of the Devil’s more familiar and acceptable traits. Cloven-hoofed animals in pre-Christian times had often been considered sacred in their association with carnal desire. The pig, goat, ram–all of these creatures–are consistently associated with the Devil. Hence our title.

          “The truest concept of Satan is not in any one animal but is in man, the evolutionary accomplishment from many animals.

          “The historical note that Satan has an ice-cold penis is a very pragmatic thing, because when Satan had to service the witches who would assemble to aim to draw from his power at the Sabbaths, he could actually remain erect either with those who stimulated him–that is the magician who portrayed Satan–or until he became expended of his sexual vigor. Naturally then, under his fur cloak or garb, he had to strap on something of an artificial nature, a bull’s pizzle, a dildo. In the night air, it would cool off. So the witches all swore that the Devil’s penis was cold. He would have to use something like this to maintain his position as the Devil.

          “It is of interest to me that hippies and Hells Angels tattoo themselves with the markings of Satanism and other symbols of aggression. Tattooing is an ancient and obscure art. One of the few books on it is called Pierced Hearts and True Love by Hanns Ebensten [Britain, 1953]. There’s also George Burchet’s Memoirs of a Tattooist [Britain, 1958]. Certainly much needs to be said of the relation of Satanism and witchery to tattooing. We have members that were tattooed long before the Hells Angels made it fashionable. One man has the Goat of Bathona, the Satanic Goat, tattooed across his back. Beautifully done. The Devil-headed Eagle is on his chest. Then on each thigh he has the figure of Seth. He’s quite spectacular. He has a shaven head and the build of a professional wrestler. He is extremely formidable when he is in ceremony wearing only a black pair of trunks with a very small mask across his eyes. His tattoos are very symmetrically designed attempts at using tattoos for ritualistic purposes.

          “Witchcraft has a lot of show business in it. Religious ritual, after all, was the first theater. For this reason, I think, Dark Shadows and Bewitched are fine. White witches think these TV shows are terrible because they play the witch as a pretty girl who can snap her fingers and get things done. They try to impress the world that wicca is not up to that sort of thing. They try to play that they’re an intellectually justified ‘Old Religion.’ The popular image of the witch is a gal who can get things done in apparently supernatural ways. Like I Dream of Jeannie. Why not take advantage of the glamorized witch? If this has been the very element that has brought witchcraft out of a stigmatized, persecuted stereotype, then why put it down? It is the glamorization of witchcraft that gives the erstwhile white witches the free air in which to breathe. Why knock it?

          “This gets me to Gerald Gardner, whom I judge a silly man who was probably very intent on what he was doing. He was motivated to call himself a ‘hereditary witch’ because he had opened a restaurant and needed a gimmick to get it filled with customers. He had taken over a not-too-successful teashop and had turned it into a museum. He had to say he was a research scholar. He got the term white witch from a coinage in Witchcraft’s Power in the World Today. Gardner used the term because witchery was illegal in England at the time. To avoid persecution he opened his museum under the guise of research. He stated he wasn’t a witch until the repeal of the laws in 1953. Then he made it very clear he was a ‘white witch.’ That’s like saying, ‘Well, I’m a good witch. The others are bad witches. So don’t persecute me.’ Gardner did what he had to do, but I don’t think he was any more of an authority on the true meaning of witchcraft than Montague Summers. [Montague Summers: 1880-1948, author of The Vampire: His Kith and Kin, The Philosophy of Vampirism, 1928, and Witchcraft and Black Magic, 1946.] I think that he simply followed Summers’ crappy rituals of circles and ‘Elohim’ and ‘Adonai.’ They used the name of Jesus and crossed themselves.

          “I have broken the barrier. I have made it a little bit fashionable to be a black magician. A lot of them, therefore, are trying to say now that their horned God is not a Devil. It is just a horned God. Well, let me tell you, until five or six years ago they wouldn’t even admit to a horned God. Suddenly they like to intimate that perhaps they have made pacts with the Devil. For many years the Old Religionists used the writings of Albertus Magnus, the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, the Book of Ceremonial Magic, crossing themselves as they turned the pages, denying theirs was a Christian-based faith. [In the 13th century, writer and bishop, St Albertus Magnus (Albert the Great) was the teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), the premiere theologian of the Catholic Church. Even during his life, Albertus who died in 1279 was rumored to have been an alchemist who found the “Philosopher’s Stone” which according to legend he gave to Thomas Aquinas.] Why in the hell did they use all these accouterments? White witches are no more than a by-product of Christianity, or they wouldn’t have to call themselves white witches in the first place. I don’t think white witches have the courage of their convictions.

          “I have said that Aleister Crowley had his tongue jammed firmly in his cheek. I think Crowley was a pragmatist. He was also a drug addict [psychedelics and heroin]. The Demons he conjured were the products of a be numbed mind. Basically he was a sweet, kind man who was trying to emancipate himself from the throes of a very strict upbringing. He can’t be blamed for anything he did from a psychoanalytical point of view. He wasn’t really that wicked of a man. He had to work overtime at being bad. All the arbitrary numbers, dogma, and so on of his magical curriculum were constructs he invented to answer the needs of his students. Crowley’s greatest wisdom was in his Book of Lies [1938; followed by Magick in Theory and Practice, 1929; and The Book of the Law, 1938.] The particular page can be paraphrased: ‘My disciples came to me, and they asked, ‘Oh Master, give us your secret.” He put them off. They insisted. He said it would cost them ten thousand pounds. They paid, and he gave them his words: ‘A sucker is born every minute.’ This says more for Crowley than all his other work. His judgment of the popular follower was accurate; most of the public wants gibberish and nonsense. He alluded to this in his numbering of his Libers which are not immense volumes but just a few bound sheets of paper. He’s saying the real wisdom is about ten lines long.

          “Like Crowley, Gerald Gardner probably knew a good thing when he saw it and got something going that turned out to be more sanctimonious than it should be. Ray Buckland began the same way. Now he admits to once being part of the more mundane rather than the complete esoteric he was made out to be. Ray Buckland certainly knows a great deal about the occult. He has a good synthesis of the Arts. But sanctimony still comes through. His famous chapter on black magic threatens that if a curse is not performed properly it will return to the sender. He defines things like good and bad, white and black magic for those who–as I say in my Satanic Bible–are frightened by shadows. I maintain that good like evil is only in the eyes of the beholder. Ray Buckland has guts, though, to sit in his Long Island home conducting his rituals and not caring what the neighbors think.

          “I don’t know whether Sybil Leek is as big a fool as she sometimes seems, or whether she’s laughing up her sleeve. Sybil is a good businesswoman. I don’t want to judge her–if she is a good businesswoman she knows on which side her bread is buttered! My only complaint with Sybil–and I do know her personally–is she has done nothing to dispel all the crap about black and white witches. If she’s after the little old ladies in tennis shoes, fine. But she is a dispenser of misinformation.

          “Alex Sanders has become more public in proclaiming himself the ‘King of the Witches.’ He is a dispenser of misinformation too. He’s not too bad. Actually, in the stifling climate of England he’s a forward man among a backward people. He’s got a big load. For this I admire him. He’s great enough to claim himself King. I don’t put much credence in astrology–it’s a case of the tail wagging the dog. A competent sorcerer, however, should know his astrology because it is a motivating factor for many people. Sydney Omarr, the popular syndicated astrologer, is basically a level-headed guy who sees through a lot of the fraud.

          “I’ll be the first to give Sybil Leek and Louise Huebner and all these people their due. They don’t say, ‘We witches don’t want publicity.’ That takes moxie in a sanctimonious society. They’re not like these damn cocktail party witches who can’t defend their self-styled reputations when called to do it. These people give me a pain. It’s part of being a witch, the ego-gratification of being a witch, to want to talk about it in detail in public.” © Jack Fritscher, 1970, 1972, 2004, 2023.

No part of this interview may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author, Jack Fritscher.

Anton LaVey remains as controversial dead as alive. Although he died on October 29, 1997, his death certificate initially stated that he died October 31, Samhain, Halloween, a few days after he completed his last book, Satan Speaks. His work, philosophy, and personality continue with the worldwide Church of Satan now headquartered in New York. His surviving companion, Magistra Blanche Barton, is the author of the intimate memoir, The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey.

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