Zeena Lavey

Zeena was born in San Francisco, California to Anton LaVey (April 11, 1930 – October 29, 1997), and Diane Hegarty (b. July 10, 1942), co-founders of the Church of Satan. On May 23, 1967, three-year-old Zeena had the first and most highly publicized Satanic baptism in history performed by her father.  The ceremony garnered world-wide publicity with a reenactment of the ceremony recorded for The Satanic Mass LP.

Beginning in early childhood, Zeena was subjected to hundreds of journalistic reports and interviews. Due to her parent’s frequent coverage in exclusively adult media, Zeena was regularly featured world-wide in tabloid crime and men’s magazines as a child.  Author and Anton LaVey biographer, Burton H. Wolf described a thirteen-year-old Zeena in his introduction to her father’s The Satanic Bible (1976 edition: thirteenth printing, Avon Books) as “Zeena, remembered by people who saw the famous photo of the Satanic Church baptism as a tiny tot, but now a gorgeously developed teenager attracting a growing pack of wolves, human male variety.”

She became pregnant at the age of thirteen.  She credited learning meditation for getting her through her C-section delivery.

In 1985, Zeena became the High Priestess of the Church of Satan.

In the 1980s in the United States, there was a moral panic about Satanic ritual abuse, sometimes referred to as the “Satanic Panic”. It started with the publication of the now-discredited memoir Michelle Remembers in 1980, and culminated in the McMartin preschool trial, a heavily publicized trial which ran from 1984 to 1990, during which prosecutors, through aggressive and leading questions, managed to get over 300 of the preschool’s children to testify that they had been sexually abused by their teachers as part of Satanic rituals. The charges were all eventually dropped. Media coverage during the trial tended to side with the prosecutors, and often singled out the Church of Satan as the culprit. This led Zeena to volunteer to serve as the Church of Satan’s first spokesperson. In a September 2011 interview, Zeena recalled,

“In 1985, a US news show called 20/20 accused The Satanic Bible of being responsible for child daycare Satanic ritual abuse, allegations which were new then. […] I called my father and asked him what his media strategy would be to deal with this catastrophe. Nothing. He didn’t care. As far as he was concerned it didn’t concern him. It wasn’t anything he needed to worry about. He certainly wasn’t going out in public to do anything about it. He admitted that many media sources had already contacted him and he was just going to ignore it until it went away. I tried to convince him that this would only get worse if he didn’t respond and that he really needed to get someone to answer calls quickly or it would be taken as an admission of guilt or suspicion. Finally he admitted he had no one to deal with interviews or media. I offered to help temporarily until he found someone. This was not what I’d intended to do with my life, I had other plans.”

As the Church of Satan’s spokesperson, Zeena appeared in nationally syndicated programs such as The Phil Donahue Show, Nightline with Ted Koppel, Entertainment Tonight, The Late Show and Secrets & Mysteries. Zeena also appeared on the Sally Jessy Raphael Show, alongside her husband, debating several Christians who were invited onto the program to expound their own religious views. Internationally, she appeared in such media presentations as Italy’s RAI Mixer show and Toronto’s Industrial Video presentation dedicated to a compilation of Zeena’s TV appearances, ending with a lengthy radio interview for CUIT.

She was also interviewed in the legendary broadcast of “Devil Worship: Exposing Satan’s Underground” released by Geraldo Rivera in 1988. Zeena sat alongside Michael A. Aquino (Temple of Set founder/High Priest), and repeatedly denied the rumors circulating at the time that the Church of Satan was in any way involved with ritual abuse. She also called the testimony of claimants involved into question, asking them rhetorically why, if people were being forced to give birth to babies for sacrificial rituals, no remains had ever been found.

In 1989, Anton LaVey’s 1971 book The Compleat Witch, or What to Do When Virtue Fails was reprinted as The Satanic Witch, with an introduction by Zeena. She toured the U.S. promoting her father’s work in his absence, as he was no longer interested in making media appearances. Most of the appearances were made at the behest of the Church of Satan as its spokesperson.

In 1989, while promoting the book, Zeena appeared with her then husband Nikolas Schreck (not a member of the COS) in an interview with televangelist Bob Larson, during which they both refuted any Satanic criminal ties, and pressed Larson on his own ideals, stating that it was hypocritical of him to endorse such claims by Christians, pointing out the Christian background of many criminals, and violent acts within Christian history, such as the crusades.

Zeena’s Interview on KJTV with Tony Valdez, 1990, was the last interview she granted as public representative and High Priestess of the Church of Satan before resigning.

In a March 2013 interview televised by Network Awesome, Zeena spoke for the first time on camera about her experiences with media during the “Satanic Panic” years.

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