+quot;S.F. Satanist Ordered to Sell Home and Cult Memorabilia+quot; by Bill Wallace, _San
"S.F. Satanist Ordered to Sell Home and Cult Memorabilia"
by Bill Wallace, _San Francisco Chronicle_
August 28, 1991, Page A-17
Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, faces a devil
of a problem: A San Francisco judge has ordered him to sell his
home and collection of Satanic memorabilia and split the money
with his common-law wife.
The "Black House", LaVey's 2-story home at 6114 California Street,
is the headquarters for LaVey's international Satanic church and
is considered something of a Mecca by his followers.
On August 5 Judge Ollie Marie Victoire ruled that LaVey had defaulted
on a lawsuit filed by the woman who had been his common-law wife since
1962, Diane Hegarty. The judge ordered that a receiver sell LaVey's
home and contents to pay Hegarty's damages, court costs, and legal fees.
According to an inventory filed in San Francisco Superior Court, the
house contains a unique collection of art objects, historical oddities,
and items related to the occult, including a shrunkenhead, a reproduction
of Tutankhamen's sarcophagus, an antique Egyptian skull, and a stuffed
LaVey's lawyer, Kent Russell, is asking the court to give the famous
Satanist a new hearing or at the very least to reduce the damage award
issued against him. "Mr. LaVey was not represented by a lawyer [during
the litigation] and was ill," Russell said. "He didn't know all that was
going on ... The damages he has been assessed with are excessive."
LaVey, a former circus animal trainer, carnival organist, and "psychic
investigator", lived with Hegarty from 1962 until 1986. The pair
incorporated the Church of Satan in 1966, and Hegarty helped LaVey run
the organization for 20 years and write several books on devil- worship
and occult subjects.
The wrangle over the house began in the 1980s after a number of domestic
disputes between the couple, including incidents in which Hegarty claimed
LaVey physically and verbally abused her. Despite the friction the couple
remained together until 1986. In 1988 Hegarty filed a breach-of-contract
suit against LaVey, saying he had not kept a 1985 agreement under which
he said he would partition the "Black House" and build a private entrance
for Hegarty and her daughter.
Early in the litigation LaVey fired his lawyer and began representing
himself, court papers show. In recent years he missed at least 3
depositions during which he was to be questioned about the lawsuit, the
most recent of them in June of this year. When the suit came to trial
August 5, LaVey did not appear in court or send an attorney to represent
him. He was ruled in default, and Victoire ordered his house and
memorabilia to be sold within 60 days. Among the items scheduled to go
on the auction block under Victoire's order are several electronic
synthesizers, two fake machine guns, an assortment of automatic pistols,
a collection of movie posters, two crossbows, 3 pinball machines, and
a classic Rock-ola jukebox. A hearing has been set for September 17 on
LaVey's request for a new hearing.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank