How ROSEMARY'S BABY Wrote the SATANIC BIBLE -- and got away with it!
Rosemary's Baby is a 1967 horror novel by Ira Levin, and it sold over 4 million copies, making it the best-selling horror novel of the 1960s. Horror fiction would achieve enormous commercial success due, in part, to its contribution. The Satanic Bible is a collection of essays, observations, and rituals published by Anton LaVey in 1969. It is the central religious book of LaVeyan Satanism. There have been thirty printings of The Satanic Bible, through which it has sold over a million copies. How, then, are these two books related?
was born on August 27, 1929, in Manhattan. His father, Charles, was a toy importer. Levin was educated at the private Horace Mann School in New York. He attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa from 1946 to 1948 and then New York University, where he majored in philosophy and English. He graduated in 1950. He served in the Army Signal Corps from 1953 to 1955.
After college, Levin wrote training films and scripts for radio and television. The first of these was "Leda's Portrait", for Lights Out in 1951.
Levin's first produced play was No Time for Sergeants (adapted from the Mac Hyman novel), a comedy about a hillbilly drafted into the United States Air Force. It starred Andy Griffith and jump-started his career. But Levin's best-known play is Deathtrap, which holds the record as the longest-running comedy thriller on Broadway. In 1982 it was adapted to film, starring Christopher Reeve and Michael Caine.
Levin's first novel, A Kiss Before Dying (1953), was well received, and he won the 1954 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. A Kiss Before Dying was adapted twice as a movie of the same name, first in 1956 and again in 1991. But Levin's best-known novel is Rosemary's Baby, and in 1968, it was adapted as a film written and directed by Roman Polanski and starring Mia Farrow. In 2002 Levin said, "I feel guilty that 'Rosemary's Baby' led to The Exorcist, The Omen. A whole generation has been exposed, has more belief in Satan. I don't believe in Satan. And I feel that the strong fundamentalism we have would not be as strong if there hadn't been so many of these books. Of course, I didn't send back any of the royalty checks."
Other Levin novels that were adapted as films included The Stepford Wives and The Boys from Brazil.
In the 1990s Levin wrote two more bestselling novels: Sliver and Son of Rosemary, the sequel to Rosemary's Baby.
Stephen King has described Ira Levin as "the Swiss watchmaker of suspense novels, he makes what the rest of us do look like cheap watchmakers in drugstores."
Levin was married and divorced twice, first to Gabrielle Aronsohn (from 1960 to 1968), with whom he had three sons, Adam, Jared, and Nicholas. He later married Phyllis Sugarman (died 2006). He had a total of four grandchildren.
Ira Levin died from a heart attack at his home in Manhattan, on November 12, 2007.
was born Howard Stanton Levey on April 11, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois. LaVey's family moved to California, where he spent his early life in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attended Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California, until the age of 16. LaVey claimed he left high school to join a circus and later carnivals, first as a roustabout and cage boy in an act with the big cats, then as a musician playing the calliope. LaVey later claimed to have seen that many of the same men attended both the bawdy Saturday night shows and the tent revival meetings on Sunday mornings, which reinforced his increasingly cynical view of religion. In the foreword to the German language edition of The Satanic Bible, he cites this as the impetus to defy Christian religion as he knew it. He explains why church-goers employ moral double standards. However, journalist Lawrence Wright investigated LaVey's background and found no evidence LaVey ever worked in a circus either as a musician or a cage boy.
In 1950, LaVey met Carole Lansing. They married the following year, when Lansing was fifteen years old. Lansing gave birth to LaVey's first daughter, Karla LaVey, born in 1952. In order to avoid the Korean War draft, he studied criminology at City College of San Francisco. Lavey then attained a job as a photographer for the San Francisco Police Department, where he worked for three years. He dabbled as a psychic investigator, looking into "800 calls" referred to him by SFPD. Later biographers questioned whether LaVey ever worked with the SFPD, as there are no records substantiating the claim.
During this period, LaVey was friends with a number of writers associated with Weird Tales magazine; a picture of him with George Haas, Robert Barbour Johnson, and Clark Ashton Smith appears in Blanche Barton's biography The Secret Life of a Satanist.
Anton and Carole divorced in 1960, after LaVey became entranced by Diane Hegarty. Hegarty and LaVey never married and lived for approximately three years in the Colonial Hills neighborhood of Worthington, Ohio. She was his companion for 24 years and mothered his second daughter, Zeena Galatea Schreck, in 1963. At the end of their relationship, Hegarty sued for palimony.
Anton Lavey became a local celebrity in San Francisco through his paranormal research and live performances as an organist, including playing the Wurlitzer at the Lost Weekend cocktail lounge. He was also a publicly noticeable figure; he drove a coroner's van around town, and he walked his pet black leopard, named Zoltan. He attracted many San Francisco notables to his parties.
LaVey formed a group called the Order of the Trapezoid, which later evolved into the governing body of the Church of Satan. According to Faxneld and Petersen, the Church of Satan represented "the first public, highly visible, and long-lasting organisation which propounded a coherent Satanic discourse".
LaVey began presenting Friday night lectures on the occult and rituals. A member of this circle suggested that he had the basis for a new religion. According to LaVey himself, on Walpurgisnacht, April 30, 1966, he ritualistically shaved his head, allegedly "in the tradition of ancient executioners", declared the founding of the Church of Satan and proclaimed 1966 as "the Year One", Anno Satanas-the first year of the Age of Satan (it was later demonstrated that LaVey in fact shaved his head because he lost a bet and made up the "ancient executioners" story after the fact). LaVey's image has been described as "Mephistophelian," and may have been inspired by an occult-themed episode of the television show The Wild Wild West titled "The Night of the Druid's Blood" which originally aired on March 25, 1966 and starred Don Rickles as the evil magician and Satanic cult leader Asmodeus, whose Mephistophelean persona is virtually identical to that which LaVey adopted one month later. Media attention followed the subsequent Satanic wedding ceremony of journalist John Raymond to New York City socialite Judith Case on February 1, 1967. The Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle were among the newspapers that printed articles dubbing him "The Black Pope". LaVey performed Satanic baptisms (including the first Satanic baptism in history for his three-year-old daughter Zeena, dedicating her to Satan and the Left-Hand Path, which garnered worldwide publicity.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, LaVey melded ideological influences from Friedrich Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, H. L. Mencken, and Social Darwinism with the ideology and ritual practices of the Church of Satan. He wrote essays introduced with reworked excerpts from Ragnar Redbeard's Might Is Right and concluded with "Satanized" versions of John Dee's Enochian Keys to create books such as The Complete Witch (re-released in 1989 as The Satanic Witch), and The Satanic Rituals.
In 1980 the FBI interviewed LaVey in connection with an alleged plot to murder Ted Kennedy. LaVey told the agents that most of the church’s followers were “fanatics, cultists, and weirdos.” The agents reported that LaVey’s “interest in the Church of Satan is strictly from a monetary point of view,” and that he “spends most of his time furnishing interviews, writing material, and lately has become interested in photography.”
In July 1984, Hegarty issued a restraining order against LaVey, which he did not contest. LaVey's third and final companion was Blanche Barton. On November 1, 1993, Barton gave birth to Satan Xerxes Carnacki LaVey. Barton succeeded LaVey as the head of the Church after his death and has since stepped down from that role and handed it to Magus Peter H. Gilmore.
Anton LaVey died on October 29, 1997, in St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco of pulmonary edema. He was taken to St. Mary's, a Catholic hospital, because it was the closest available. A secret Satanic funeral, attended by invitation only, was held in Colma, after which LaVey's body was cremated.
Three months after his death, his estranged daughter Zeena Schreck and her husband Nikolas Schreck published a nine-page "fact sheet", in which they endorsed Wright's earlier allegations and claimed that many more of LaVey's stories about his life had been false.
centers on Rosemary Woodhouse, a young married woman who has just moved into the Bramford, an historic Gothic Revival-style New York City apartment building, with her husband, Guy, a struggling actor. Guy had so far appeared only in small roles in the stage plays Luther, Nobody Loves an Albatross, and various TV commercials. The pair is warned that the Bramford has a disturbing history involving witchcraft and murder, but they choose to overlook this. For some time Rosemary has wanted children, but Guy wants them to wait until his career is more established.
Rosemary and Guy are quickly welcomed to the Bramford by neighbors Minnie and Roman Castevet, an eccentric elderly couple. Rosemary finds them meddlesome and absurd, but Guy begins paying them frequent visits.
After a theatrical rival suddenly goes blind, Guy is given an important part in a stage play. Immediately afterward, Guy unexpectedly agrees with Rosemary that it is time to conceive their first child. That night, she dreams of a rough sexual encounter with a huge, inhuman creature with yellow eyes. Rosemary finds claw marks on her breasts and groin the following morning, which Guy dismisses as the results of a hangnail. She subsequently learns that she is pregnant.
Rosemary falls severely ill, but her severe pain and weight loss are ignored by everyone around her and attributed to hysteria. Her doctor and Minnie feed her strange and foul concoctions. Rosemary also develops a peculiar craving for raw meat.
Guy's performance in the stage play brings him favorable notices, and he gains other, increasingly important roles. He soon begins to talk about a career in Hollywood.
After receiving a warning from a friend, Edward "Hutch" Hutchins, who also becomes mysteriously ill, Rosemary discovers that her neighbors are the leaders of a Satanic coven. She suspects that they intend to steal her baby and use it as a sacrifice to the devil. Despite her growing conviction, she is unable to convince anyone else. She comes to believe that she has no one on her side, least of all her own husband. Ultimately, Rosemary finds that she is wrong about the coven's reason for wanting the baby. The baby that she has delivered is the Antichrist, and Guy is not the father; Satan is.
The Satanic Bible
is composed of four books: The Book of Satan, The Book of Lucifer, The Book of Belial, and The Book of Leviathan. The Book of Satan challenges the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule, and promotes Epicureanism. The Book of Lucifer holds most of the philosophy in The Satanic Bible, with twelve chapters discussing topics such as indulgence, love, hate, and sex. LaVey also uses the book to dispel rumors surrounding the religion. In The Book of Belial, LaVey details rituals and magic. He discusses the required mindset and focus for performing a ritual, and provides instructions for three rituals: those for sex, compassion, or destruction. The Book of Leviathan provides four invocations for Satan, lust, compassion, and destruction. It also lists the nineteen Enochian Keys (adapted from John Dee's Enochian keys), provided both in Enochian and in English translation.
There have been both positive and negative reactions to The Satanic Bible. It has been described as "razor-sharp" and "influential". Criticism of The Satanic Bible stems both from qualms over LaVey's writing and disapproval of the content itself. LaVey has been criticized for plagiarizing sections, and accusations have been made that his philosophies are largely borrowed. Attempts have been made to ban the book in schools, public libraries, and prisons, though these attempts are somewhat rare.
How it Came to Be
There are multiple stories about the origin of The Satanic Bible; most of them dubious. In the introduction to the 2005–present edition, High Priest Peter H. Gilmore describes LaVey as having compiled The Satanic Bible on his own from monographs he had written about the Church of Satan and its rituals. Gilmore lists a number of people who influenced LaVey's writings: Ayn Rand, Friedrich Nietzsche, H. L. Mencken, the members of the carnival with whom LaVey had supposedly worked in his youth, P. T. Barnum, Mark Twain, John Milton, and Lord Byron.
However, the most reliable explanation was given by LaVey's estranged daughter Zeena Schreck, who wrote that it came about after a suggestion by Peter Mayer, a publisher for Avon Books. According to Schreck, Mayer proposed that LaVey write a Satanic Bible to draw from the popularity of both the book Rosemary’s Baby and the 1968 film, which had caused a recent rise in public interest in both Satanism and other occult practices. She has said that, aided by Diane Hegarty, LaVey compiled a number of writings he had already been distributing: an introduction to Satanism, a number of short essays, a guide to ritual magic, and articles he had previously published in The Cloven Hoof, a Church of Satan newsletter.
Either to meet length requirements set by the publisher or out of agreement with the ideas, LaVey and Hegarty borrowed heavily from writings by other authors. These included a social Darwinist book published in 1890 entitled Might Is Right by Ragnar Redbeard, as well as Dee's Enochian keys from Aleister Crowley's The Equinox, modified to replace references to Christianity with those to Satan. Some accuse LaVey of paraphrasing the Nine Satanic Statements from Rand's Atlas Shrugged without acknowledgement, though others maintain that LaVey was simply drawing inspiration from the novel. LaVey later affirmed the connection with Rand's ideas by stating that LaVeyan Satanism was "just Ayn Rand's philosophy, with ceremony and ritual added".
The Satanic Bible has received a large amount of criticism from people and organizations who find its content to be dangerous. Much of this criticism came during the period of "Satanic panic," when Satanic ritual abuse was feared to be epidemic. Much of this media coverage, however, has been denounced as "uncritical and sensationalized." It has been condemned as "blasphemous" and "socially seditious," and blamed for causing an increase in gruesome violence, ritual abuse, and other obscene acts. Critics have also accused The Satanic Bible of encouraging violence and murder, particularly in young people considered to be impressionable. Possession of The Satanic Bible has been used by some studies to identify adolescents who are antisocial, and some warn that possession of the book is a warning sign of emotional issues. The Council on Mind Abuse took a very negative view of The Satanic Bible. Former Executive Director Rob Tucker warned parents to look for The Satanic Bible in their children's bedrooms, saying, "You have to help the child fight this obsession like any other addiction" and "It's like giving drugs to a kid who is already on the edge." Attempts to ban the book from schools and public libraries have been made in various places around the world.