A small Satanist cult in San Francisco, California, held a bizarre Satanist "wedding" late Tuesday night (Jan 31).
A small Satanist cult in San Francisco, California, held a bizarre Satanist "wedding" late Tuesday night (Jan 31). The rites were conducted by a self-styled priest of the Devil. There was some doubt about the legality of the ceremony.
The "services" were held in the Satanist Church of America in San Francisco, an eerie old mansion which had once been a brothel. The founder of the "church," Anton Szandor LaVey, claims a membership of about 30 in the group. As its only pastor, he teaches indulgence rather than sacrifice and abstinence. He said the "marriage" was conceived "not in heaven but in hell." He was once a lion tamer.
The happy-- or unhappy--couple whom Mr. LaVey joined in unholy wedlock were 26 year old Judith Case and 35 year old John Raymond. Miss Case is the daughter of a prominent New York City attorney and political figure and Mr. Raymond is an unemployed former newspaperman.
The ceremony featured a red-haired girl, Miss Lois Murgenstrumm, who reclined atop an altar during the ceremony. She was to symbolize earthly pleasure, according to Mr. LaVey. During the ceremony, she removed a leopard skin covering and posed nude.
The ceremony itself was carried out in near-darkness, litonly by candles, Immediately afterwards, the participants repeated the ceremony under illumination suitable for photography and with Miss Murgenstrumm politely covered by her leopardskin.
Mr. LaVey began the service by ringing a gong. Then he waved a sword and invoked various devils. He muttered what sounded like Latin incantations. Mr. Raymond, in response to the incantations, placed a ring on Miss Case's finger. Mr. LaVey then instructed Mr. Raymond to take possession of Miss Case, which he did by kissing her enthusiastically.
Mr. LaVey wore a devil's beard, horns and robe for the occasion. He explained later that no marriage license had been obtained and, if the couple wished to be legally wed, they would have to undergo a normal civil marriage service.
A small crowd of members of the church and witchcraft devotees attended the services. The mansion was filled with skulls, skeleton mystic pictures of the devil and other paraphernalia of witchcraft. It was not clear why Mr. Raymond and Miss Case wished to undergo the peculiar rite.
Miss Murgenstrumm was understood to be a student of witchcraft who had been taking a series of lessons in the subject from Mr. LaVey.
The text of Mr. LaVey's incantation, as excerpted in our film, follows: