Burton H. Wolfe - The Book Of Satan

Burton H. Wolfe - The Book Of Satan

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On a winter's evening in 1967, I drove crosstown in San Fransisco to hear Anton Szandor LaVey lecture at an open meeting of the Sexual Freedom League. I was attracted by newspaper articles describing him as "the Black Pope" of a Satanic church in which baptism, wedding, and funeral ceremonies were dedicated to the Devil. I was a free-lance magazine writer, and I felt there might be a story in LaVey and his contemporary pagans; for the Devil has always made "good copy", as they say on the city desk. It was not the practice of the black arts itself that I considered to be the story, because that is nothing new in the world. There were Devil-worshipping sects and voodoo cults before there were Christians. In eighteenth-century England a Hell-Fire Club, with connections to the American colonies through Benjamin Franklin, gained some brief notoriety. During the early part of the twentieth century, the press publicized Aleister Crowley as the "wickedest man in the world". And there were hints in the 1920s and '30s of a "black order" in Germany.