"I'm one helluva liar. Most of my adult life, I've been accused of being a charlatan, a phony, an impostor. I guess that makes me about as close to what the Devil's supposed to be, as anyone. It's true. I lie constantly, incessantly. Because I lie so often, I'd really be full of @#$% if I didn't keep my mouth shut and my bowels open."
- Anton LaVey, Satan Speaks, page 101
"The bigger the lie, the more the people will believe it" - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
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 relatives.
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 ancestry.
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 youth.
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: 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 raids.
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: 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 property.
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.
And, yes I am aware that Blanche Barton is refuting this.....