San Francisco

The Spooky History Of 6114 California Street, The Black House

If you're walking by 6118 California St. these days you won't see much unusual: a two-and-a-half story condo, beige and avocado green, with three units, which was built in 2008.

But scratch the surface a little bit, and you get to 6114 California St.—an address no longer even recognized by the city of San Francisco—which is the erstwhile home of Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan and author of The Satanic Bible.

The house, formerly known simply as "The Black House," due to its signature paint job, was once one of the Richmond's many innocuous little shotgun cottages. Pictured above, the house stood at 6114 California St. until after LaVey's death in 1997.

The condo at 6118 California St., pictured above, was built in 2008 on the site of LaVey's house. | photo: camden avery/hoodline

The Church of Satan, founded 50 years ago this spring, was in its early iterations (the church continues to this day) a vaguely costumey branch of atheism celebrating "Man’s true nature—that of a carnal beast, living in a cosmos that is indifferent to our existence." It has more roots in paganism and earth cults than Catholocism, as is commonly imagined.

The Church of Satan was, perhaps not surprisingly, distinctly an outpouring of 1960s culture in San Francisco, and it had ties all over the city, including the Westerfeld House, where LaVey also spent time, and the Upper Haight.

Through some circuitous links, including parties thrown in and people moving through the Westerfeld House in the 1960s, LaVey's Church of Satan was also related to—get ready—people like cult queer filmmaker Kenneth Anger, whose movie Invocation Of My Demon Brother starred LaVey alongside future Manson family member Bobby Beausoleil.

Which makes the house's address in the Richmond on a quiet block near the ocean all the more interesting.

Photos of the house as decorated by LaVey are few and far between, but there is a little footage available of the building front, below:

This interview with Anton LaVey features footage of the Black House in the late 1970s.

Because the city did away with the house's address, available records on the history of the property are scarce, but it's safe to guess LaVey began occupying the house some time after Kenneth Anger's exodus from the Westerfeld House, LaVey's previous choice for satanic rites, which we explored this time a couple of years ago.

LaVey's affiliations with celebrities and luminaries during the early years of the church included not only Bobby Beausoleil and Kenneth Anger but Sammy Davis Jr., Jayne Mansfield, Roman Polanski, before he and the church became tied inextricably to the Manson family killings.

Suffice it to say that blood rites aside, 6114 California St. saw some serious parties in its day.

Upon LaVey's death, in 1997, ownership of the house reverted to church co-founder and former High Priestess (as well as LaVey's former romantic partner) Diane Hegarty, whose affiliations with the church continue to this day.

So when you're strolling by this weekend, take an extra minute to tip your hat to Anton and think what it must have been like.


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