But he was much more than a pathetic, violent crank. LaVey and Church of Satan cofounder Kenneth Anger influenced the delusions of countless people, including serial killers Charles Manson and Manson family member Susan Atkins, Richard Ramirez (the Night Stalker), and the infamous Son of Sam.
The hysteria of the 1980s over the alleged ritual sexual abuse and killing of children in Satanic rituals may have been without basis, but then how does one explain an article earlier this week in which a Welsh victim of child sexual abuse claimed that she was raped approximately 1,800 times by Satanic cult members?
And Satan himself? Current Magus High Priest Gilmore explains: "Satan is not a conscious entity to be worshipped, rather a reservoir of power inside each human to be tapped at will." Rather New Age, no?
Here’s some final food for thought. According to Benjamin Cloth, "LaVeyan Satanists believe that you have but one … life with no punishments or repercussions attached afterwards. They easily answer the question, ‘What’s the purpose of life?’ with a simple response: ‘To enjoy it by getting your way!.’" (Emphasis in original.)
How many people in North America and Western Europe are living according to this same precept?
Susan E. Wills
is spirituality editor of Aleteia’s English edtion.