Posts Tagged ‘horror’

What is the basic history of the Church of Satan?

Nov
13
In the 1950s Anton LaVey formed a group called the Order of the Trapezoid, which later became the governing body of the Church of Satan. The group included: "The Baroness" Carin de Plessen, Dr. Cecil Nixon, Kenneth Anger, City Assessor Russell Wolden, Donald Werby, Michael Harner, and Shana Alexander. Other LaVey associates from this time period include noted Science Fiction and Horror writers Anthony Boucher, August Derleth, Robert Barbour Johnson, Reginald Bretnor, Emil Petaja, Stuart Palmer, Clark Ashton Smith, Forrest J. Ackerman, and Fritz Leiber Jr. The Church of Satan was established in San Francisco, California, on Walpurgisnacht, April 30, 1966, by Anton Szandor LaVey, who was the Church's High Priest until his death in 1997. In the first year of its foundation, Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan publicly performed a Satanic marriage of Judith Case and journalist John Raymond. The ceremony was attended by Joe Rosenthal. The church also performed a public funeral for Church of Satan member Edward Olson, at the request of his wife. The Church of Satan has been the subject of books, magazine and newspaper articles during the 1960s and 1970s. It is also the subject of a documentary, Satanis (1970). LaVey appeared in Kenneth Anger's film Invocation of my Demon Brother, acted as technical adviser on The Devil's Rain, which starred Ernest Borgnine, William Shatner, and introduced John Travolta. The Church of Satan was also featured in a segment of Luigi Scattini's film Angeli Bianchi, Angeli Neri, released in the United States as "Witchcraft '70". According to Peter H. Gilmore, "Satanism begins with atheism. We begin with the universe and say, 'It’s indifferent. There’s no God, there’s no Devil. No one cares! In 1975 LaVey phased out the Church's "Grotto" system and eliminated people he thought were using the Church as a substitute for accomplishment in the outside world. Thereafter, conventional achievement in society would be the criterion for advancement within the Church of Satan. At the same time, LaVey became more selective in granting interviews. This shift to "closed door" activities resulted in some rumors of the Church’s demise, and even rumors of LaVey’s death. In the 1980s the media reported concerns of criminal conspiracies within the Church of Satan. Members of the Church of Satan, such as Peter H. Gilmore, Peggy Nadramia, Boyd Rice, Adam Parfrey, Diabolos Rex, and musician King Diamond, were active in media appearances to refute allegations of criminal activity. The FBI would later issue an official report refuting the criminal conspiracy theories of this time. This phenomenon became known as "The Satanic Panic". In the 1980s and 1990s the Church of Satan and its members were very active in producing movies, music, films, and magazines devoted to Satanism. Most notably Adam Parfrey's Feral House publishing, the music of Boyd Rice, and the films of Nick Bougas, including his documentary Speak of the Devil: The Canon of Anton LaVey. The Church of Satan and Anton LaVey were also the subject of numerous magazine and news articles during this time. After Anton Szandor LaVey's death, his position as head of the Church of Satan passed on to Blanche Barton. Barton remains involved in the Church; however, in 2001 she ceded her position to long-time members Peter H. Gilmore and Peggy Nadramia, the current High Priest and High Priestess and publishers of The Black Flame, the official magazine of The Church of Satan. The Central Office of the Church of Satan has also moved from San Francisco to New York City's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, where the couple resides. The Church of Satan does not recognize any other organizations as holding legitimate claim to Satanism and its practice, though it does recognize that one need not be a member of the Church of Satan to be a Satanist. As the Church of Satan does not publicly release membership information, it is not known how many members belong to the Church. In October 2004 the Royal Navy officially recognised its first registered Satanist, twenty-four year old Chris Cranmer, as a technician on the HMS Cumberland. On June 6, 2006 The Church of Satan held the first public ritual Satanic Mass in 40 years at the Steve Allen Theater in the Center for Inquiry in Los Angeles. The ritual, based on the rites outlined in The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals, was conducted by Reverend Bryan Moore and Priestess Heather Saenz.

What are the symbols of Halloween?

Oct
30
Development of artifacts and symbols associated with Halloween formed over time encompassing customs of medieval holy days as well as contemporary cultures. The souling practice of commemorating the souls in purgatory with candle lanterns carved from turnips, became adapted into the making of jack-o'-lanterns. In traditional Celtic Halloween festivals, large turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces and placed in windows to ward off evil spirits. The carving of pumpkins is associated with Halloween in North America where pumpkins are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips. Many families that celebrate Halloween carve a pumpkin into a frightening or comical face and place it on their doorstep after dark. The American tradition of carving pumpkins preceded the Great Famine period of Irish immigration and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 1800s. The imagery surrounding Halloween is largely a mix of the Halloween season itself, works of Gothic and horror literature, in particular the novels Frankenstein and Dracula, and nearly a century of work from American filmmakers and graphic artists, and British Hammer Horror productions, also a rather commercialized take on the dark and mysterious. Halloween imagery tends to involve death, evil, the occult, magic, or mythical monsters. Traditional characters include the Devil, the Grim Reaper, ghosts, ghouls, demons, witches, goblins, vampires, werewolves, zombies, skeletons, black cats, spiders, bats, and crows. Particularly in America, symbolism is inspired by classic horror films (which contain fictional figures like Frankenstein's monster and The Mummy). Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins, corn husks, and scarecrows, are also prevalent. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween. Halloween costumes are traditionally those of monsters such as ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. They are said to be used to scare off demons. Costumes are also based on themes other than traditional horror, such as those of characters from television shows, movies, and other pop culture icons. The colours black and orange are associated with the celebrations, perhaps because of the darkness of night and the colour of fire, autumn leaves, or pumpkins.