My husband Don and I became friends of Anton LaVey in 1958, years before he -- or his PR man -- thought up the Church of Satan. At the time, we were involved with Camera Obscura Film Society and shared his interest in movies. We were never involved with the Church of Satan in any way. Never joined. Never attended a mass or ceremony. And we emphatically did not dine on a human leg (yuck!).
I never even heard of a "Magic Circle," nor Forrest Ackerman, nor yet a "dildo manufacturer." Mr. Boulware, who showed such intelligent skepticism about the famous LaVey background, accepted these details with utter credulity. The book in question -- I forget the title -- was written by someone named Burton Wolfe, who got all his "facts" directly from Anton, without checking them.
The closest we came was attending Anton's Halloween parties -- until a group of guys showed up in Nazi uniforms, which made us uncomfortable -- and we ended the practice.
Editor's note: SF Weekly did not intend to imply that Mr. or Mrs. Werby had eaten human flesh. The passage Mrs. Werby notes above was intended only to detail the popular legend the credulous had helped build around Anton LaVey, as described in books like Burton Wolfe's The Devil's Avenger. SF Weekly regrets any confusion that may have resulted.
Standing Tall and Eating Ice Cream
Your piece on the Church of Satan ("Has the Church of Satan Gone to Hell?") was interesting, and the very fact that it was considered newsworthy displays some of Dr. LaVey's principles far more effectively than the bitch-fighting of pseudo-satanic occultniks.
It has become impossible, and rightly so, to discuss Satanism in any form without starting with LaVey. Far from stealing ideas, he always accredited his sources, citing the diabolists of history who inspired him: Nietzsche, Machiavelli, Jack London, Wagner, and many others from whom the satanic archetype is derived. Dr. LaVey never promised pie-in-the-sky wonder and was a firm social Darwinist.
It is interesting to note that these sour-grapes critics spend more time attacking than they do creating. Anyone whose identity is defined primarily by their enemies is surely lacking the intelligence and self-confidence to stand on their own merits.
I know where I stand, and I know where I'm headed. HAIL SATAN AND STRENGTH THROUGH ICE CREAM!
Christopher J. Turner, Member
Church of Satan
Standing Tall and Taking a Leak
While the detractors of Dr. Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan throw curses ("Has the Church of Satan Gone to Hell?"), our members throw their shoulders to the grindstone.
Whether or not a "black house" stands, our organization has been and will continue to stand on its own, even if only to piss on the parade of those who would say otherwise. Of course it is a higher concern than that for us as Satanism is our religion and our way of life.
Hail the Citizens of the Infernal Empire!
Reverend Andre Schlesinger, GM
MIB Grotto/Church of Satan/NYC
Thank you to James Rocchi for pointing out the absurd marketing practices going on in the antidepressant business ("A Spoonful of Sugar," Bay View, June 24). As I am a psychiatrist, I am deluged with studies sponsored by drug companies and by drug reps who market these products.
Drug companies have such a grip on the information available that we have access to almost no independent studies of the risks and efficacy of various antidepressants. The new direct marketing schemes make it even harder, as patients will constantly hear about the great new drug around the corner.
It's hard to compete with Matthew Fox, Paula Devicq, and Dr. John Gray. I hope they also mentioned that Wellbutrin can cause seizures in some individuals. Glaxo Wellcome has even repackaged Wellbutrin (buproprion) as a stop-smoking medication and given it the trendy new name Zyban. I've actually had patients on Wellbutrin ask me if they could start on Zyban to help them stop smoking.
Steve Pittelli, M.D.
The RaZor Skyline photo in last week's Night + Day section should have been credited to Susan Jennings.