Dear Enemies Of Lucifer:

To fulfill my pledge to keep you abreast of the follies and phonies found on the religious scene, I recently visited the Church of Satan in San Francisco. Armed with a hefty imaginary inkpot, a la Luther, I attended a black arts lecture given by Anton Szandor LaVey, the cult’s high priest. My meeting with the Mephistophelian-bearded, Yul Brynner-shaven, black-velvet-robed ambassador from the nether regions convinced me, however, that a chuckle was my best protection.

In the black-walled living room of a black Victorian house, LaVey leads ritualistic services, lectures on the black arts, and gives charm courses for witches. Bizarre objects fill the house: a skeleton, a stuffed “werewolf,” an operating table, a tombstone coffee table. Over the fireplace-altar (where a nude reclines during solemn celebrations) hangs the cult’s red medallion, a goathead enclosed in a star at whose five points are Hebrew letters representing biblical names of Satan.

LaVey’s Satan-worshiping cult promotes a message of lust so crass that the appeal to self-indulgence becomes untemptingly banal. He advises his witches to entrap a man by dressing in “modified-prostitute” style, enticing him with a secret aphrodisiac and high-cholesterol food for virility, and hexing him by burning his picture while thinking erotically of him during pre-dawn sleeping hours when his ESP is most receptive. What attracts would-be witches and warlocks most to his lectures ($2.50 admission) is the hope of gaining amazing occult powers. Both the henna-haired lady who introduced herself as Lenore the “head witch” and a former Russian Orthodox seminarian, now a minister of Satan, told me of their belief in sorcery. Among the twenty-five present was a ...

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