Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, displayed an interest in experimentation long before the Church of Satan was created. He alleges having worked at various unusual jobs including lion tamer for a circus, carnival hypnotist, organ player at a burlesque club, and photographer for the San Francisco police. While in San Francisco in the 1950's LaVey started a group known as the Magic Circle, an occultist club which began to attract much attention. Lavey used this opportunity to make money by selling tickets to their meetings.
According to LaVey, the Church of Satan was founded on April 30, 1966 - the last day of April being Walpurgisnacht , a sacred night in European witchcraft. LaVey shaved his head, declared himself the High Priest of the Church and the "Black Pope," and announced that a new era had arisen 2 . He criticized many religions, especially Christianity and Eastern mystic traditions, for forcing unnatural laws upon humans and causing unnecessary guilt and remorse. Thus LaVey emphasized the need for a religion which worshipped the individual as a carnal beast with desires that needed to be fulfilled.
The Church of Satan received attention nationwide when LaVey presided over the first satanic wedding in 1967. LaVey bested himself by staging a satanic funeral for a Church member and a satanic baptism on his three year old daughter Zeena later that year. The suddenly popular LaVey wrote several books, including the Satanic Bible (1969), which sold over a million copies combined. He also was an actor and consultant in several Hollywood films, including playing the role of the devil in Rosemary's Baby (1968). Many celebrities have been alleged to have connections with the Church, including Sammy Davis Jr., Jayne Mansfield, and Kim Novak 3 . More controversial connections such as Marilyn Manson as well as a killer in the Charles Manson family also have been members 4 . Since the inception of the San Francisco group, other local chapters, or grottoes, have been founded across the nation.