Anton LaVey's Black House now condos

For decades, the Victorian seen in the far left photo was a San Francisco landmark known as the Black House. It was home to Church of Satan founder Dr. Anton LaVey from 1967 until his death in 1997. After falling into disrepair, the Black House was sadly demolished in 2001. The current owners of the property built three cheesy condominiums in its place that are just now up for sale. My friend Greg Long snapped this photo of the new development last weekend. I hope that a rich Satanist buys the condos and paints them black as a memorial. Here's what the Church of Satan said about the Black House in 1998 during their efforts to save the place:
 Graphics News Blackhouse Balckhouseee Originally built in the 1880's, it survived the devastating 1906 fire and earthquake. It's been a speakeasy, a "spook parlour" and, when Dr. LaVey bought it in 1956, it was owned by one of Mammie Pleasant's girls, one of the most notorious madams in San Francisco. Dr. LaVey made it world-famous when he performed history's first Satanic wedding and baptism here; his 500-pound lion, Togare, was raised here. Dr. LaVey was forced to sell the house several years ago because of a relentless civil suit. That fight almost killed him, but this house meant a great deal to him. He said it was part of his own personality - that its roots went all the way to Hell.
Link to the 1998 letter from Church of Satan, Link to a 1998 San Francisco Chronicle article on the house


  1. That’s 21st Century San Francisco for you. LaVey may have sold his soul to the devil, so to speak, but at least he HAD a soul.

  2. Beelzebub aside, SF let somebody tear down an Edwardian cottage to put up ugly condos? I thought that these kind of houses were what gives the city its character.

  3. HahahHAHahaha

    I hope the condos hold a Christian family, a Jewish family, and a Muslim family.

    That would be hilarious. The first church of Satan gettin’ sanctified…

    Thank God!

  4. this kinda stuff
    The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth

    by Anton Szandor LaVey ©1967

    [Spanish, Croation]

    1. Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked.

    2. Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.

    3. When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.

    4. If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.

    5. Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.

    6. Do not take that which does not belong to you unless it is a burden to the other person and he cries out to be relieved.

    7. Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.

    8. Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.

    9. Do not harm little children.

    10. Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.

    11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.

  5. Three livable units instead of one in disrepair? In a city busting at the seams, this sounds sensible to me. Just sayin’.

  6. From Wikipeida: “Unlike Theistic Satanism, which is rejected by the Church of Satan as Christian heresy rather than Satanism, it [LaVeyan Satanism] does not literally worship Satan, but rather uses “Satan” as a symbol for people’s natural inner desires.”

  7. i’d say those rules are… reasonable.

    At least they seem a step up from rules that direct you to kill people who don’t share the same belief system.

    I’d prefer rules that were less with the attacking and destroying though.

  8. If he sold it because of a civil suit, then how can he have lived there until he died? Or did he sell it and then rent if from the new owner, and then die?

  9. Funny that when you go to check out the property on Google Streetview maps you can see it under construction, with a knocked-over portable toilet in front of it that has a mysterious liquid pouring from it. Also, on the same block, in front of California Dental, there’s a door that has large skull and crossbones and says “this property protected by pirates.” Excellente!

  10. Antinous, how so? Do you mean #1 and #2? Because the presence of a comment system, and the near-command “Post a comment” seems to fulfill #1’s “unless you are asked.” And people reading the comments, when it’s clear what they are due to the “Discussion” heading, seems to fulfill #2’s “unless you are sure they want to hear them.”

    Not that I’m advocating these rules, I just thought it was interesting.

  11. @#9:

    “11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.”

    Where’s the LOLpic for EPIC FAIL?

  12. I was one of the many people who participated in the effort to save the Blackhouse, after LaVey died. We loved and respected LaVey, but several hundred thousand dollars were needed in a short amount of time, and we were not able to raise the cash. In the end, I think we came to see that it was appropriate that the ship dissapeared with the captain – kind of like the legends of the ghost ship Flying Dutchman.

    LaVey was a wonderful character – full of dry humour and knowledge of arcane music and film.

    By the way, I am a priest in the Church of Satan, and I am an ATHEIST – I don’t believe in angels, devils, smurfs, etc.

  13. I remember seeing the Black House, when I was a teenager, I walked by it, not knowing what it was, until much later. It’s a damn shame that it wasn’t preserved for historical reasons. I hope the yuppies that move into the condos go Amityville crazy living there.

  14. > LaVey was a wonderful character – full of dry humour and knowledge of arcane music and film.

    You’re breaking rule #1, Satanist. ;)

  15. @#17:

    I think the rule that Antinous was talking about (“You do realize that those rules would shut down BB comments?”) was the eighth:

    “Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.”

  16. Nope. He didn’t break number one, because I was thinking to myself, aside from the dark forces of the abyss what did LaVey like? And there the answer is… show tunes.

  17. As much as I love San Francisco history, it seems that 9 out of 10 buildings in this city claim to have been a speakeasy at some point.

  18. well, that’s interesting. are we going to get an update on what is happening at the old PT Barnum house, too? ‘cuz… you know… cut from the same cloth, and all….

  19. Flipa,

    You have correctly identified the prime directive, although #3 comes close.

    When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.

  20. I want to know whether those rules were taken from the Satanic Bible. I have my reasons.

    The Church of Satan’s website has a surprising but logical set of Chat Room Policies.

  21. “By the way, I am a priest in the Church of Satan, and I am an ATHEIST – I don’t believe in angels, devils, smurfs, etc.”

    But apparently, you still feel the need to belong to something that calls itself a church, take a title that implies a religious function, and perform ceremonies.

  22. Even as someone who almost always dresses in black or navy blue whenever I’m not at work (in fact, I physically resemble LaVey a bit), I wouldn’t have wanted to keep the house with its last color scheme; it would have been more important to restore it to something approximating its 1880s appearance than to keep LaVey’s decorations and furnishings, which, if the list in the second linked article (near the end) are any indication, your average suburban goth teenager would have found cheesy. But, yeah, the condos aren’t an adequate replacement.

  23. walked by it on the way to the bus this morning…it’s for sale! the replaced all the concrete in front, it used to have some anton related graffiti. i loved when it was a vacant lot between two houses, it felt like what ever had been there hab been sucked into the bowels of hell.

  24. I enjoy the fact that the google street view link in Shannou’s #16 leads directly to an intense closeup on a skull-and-crossbones a few doors down from the house in question.

    And a big fat “Bwah!” to numbers 14, 24, and 28.

  25. When I toured the property this weekend. I was REALLY interested in whether the realtor would be upfront about the history of the site.

    I also wanted to know what the rules of disclosure are for property buying. Would they need to disclose the Church of Satan issue?

    I asked her & she flat out said that she had never heard of anything to do with the Church of Satan, Anton, or any of the other history of the lot. Surprised would be the word I’d use.

    However, she had a 17 or 18 year old (son? nephew? apprentice?) with her who totally knew what was up when I spoke with him.

    He didn’t have answers, but he did know that the black house had been the prior structure.

    – Greg

  26. Yeah, because it’s important to keep SATANISM alive. Come on, people. Seriously, I think ALL religions should be sent back to the Middle Ages, but SATANISM?

  27. “5. Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.”

    So two Satanists can never mate because they will both sit around waiting for the other to make the first move? This is not a good way to grow your ranks folks…

    Although from what I have heard second hand about old Anton the mating signal was pretty much “breathing”.

  28. The esoteric arms of most religions, like yoga or qabala, generally fall more into the category of philosophy than religion. Of course, they can become dogmatic too, but mostly they tell you not what to believe, but rather help you to organize and process your own psychic material. Mostly.

  29. I had a girlfriend in college who said when she was a kid, her parents were personal friends of Mr. LaVey. She said she fondly remembered LaVey’s pet lion. I only half believed it, but I guess it’s true.

  30. Since I’m not a Satanist, I guess I’m free to give unasked-for opinions.

    I had a friend who was into Satanism. She loaned me a copy of The Satanic Witch. I thought it was flawed but charming and overall horrifying. I’ve met several sociopaths in the past and that book tripped every alarm I’ve got. (But seeing as I’m not a psychologist, you should take that with a grain of salt. Just, as I told my friend, please don’t stop thinking while you read.)

    Anyway, it’s a shame about the house.

  31. ‘you still feel the need to belong to something that calls itself a church, take a title that implies a religious function, and perform ceremonies’–
    that’s it exactly! While many groovy ‘good vibe’ types like to say they believe in spirituality, but not religion, a LaVeyan Satanist believes in religion without spirituality. Dark symbols and pageantry are fun – no self-deceit or gods are needed. Here’s a youtubes of the current Church of Satan high priest, on a TV news program, admitting it’s all show biz:

    As Irving Berlin said: There’s No Business like Show Business Like No Business I Know**

    **Berlin was in many ways a de facto Satanist- a nocturnal curmudgeon, who although he wrote treacly songs like “God Bless America”, also wrote a number of pro-Devil songs, like “Stay Down Here Where You Belong” and “At The Devil’s Ball”

  32. “a LaVeyan Satanist believes in religion without spirituality”

    While that may well be the way the current CoS views things, LaVey himself seems to have believed enough in the spirit world to curse people who displeased him, such as Jayne Mansfield’s manager, Sam Brody, and credit that curse for their later deaths.

  33. As per #10, turning one dilapidated living space into three functional living spaces in an area of high density population seems like a perfectly sensible, and maybe even responsible, thing to do. I just don’t feel bad about this at all.

  34. Or, the three single people who were going to buy the condos and live alone in more space than they need could have just moved in together in the house, the way that God intended San Franciscans to live. Living in San Francisco, in a condo, without weird roommates? It’s just so not the point.

  35. Except that anyone who had enough money to actually renovate a Victorian in San Francisco probably isn’t going to be having roommates.

  36. Great! More bland condos to celebrate more bland lives. I lived in Bay area for almost 20 years- and the Bush daughters(Christians) were a bigger problem as far as celebrity is concerned than the LaVey sisters ever were. Now that’s a paradox for you to ponder!

    The house should have been saved. It was a piece of SF history. Lavey may be gone but I hear his church lives on. Doing well, obviously because they just had a documentary made about them.

    Part of that which made SF desireable was its unique and sometimes naughty history. How boring if you all are going to be just like everyone else. I think the link is :

    I got the link from Joshua P Warren’s website, Speaking of Strange.

  37. Where does he lives? there’s something that needs to be done. Becasue I’m a very busy person that must complete on DOOMSDAY.

  38. For the record, the 6114 CALIFORNIA STREET address has been officially retired. These condos all have new numbers.


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