A Man of Wealth and Taste

Does a photograph show Senator John Kerry shaking hands with Anton LaVey?

Claim:   Photograph shows Senator John Kerry shaking hands with Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan.

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2003]

John Kerry and Anton LaVey(Click to enlarge)

PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF: Anton La Vey, high priest of the Church of Satan, meets with noted Attorney John Kerry at CISPES function.

Origins:   Politics often joins some strange bedfellows, but it doesn’t get much stranger than this: Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts posing with Anton Lavey, the self-proclaimed High Priest of the Church of


This one is easy to debunk even without knowing anything about the origins of the photograph. Although a portion of the date in the putative newspaper clipping is (deliberately) obscured, enough of it shows to reveal that the article in question supposedly comes from an edition of the San Francisco Chronicle published on a Sunday, July 17, sometime in the 1980s. Only twice in the 1980s did July 17 fall on a Sunday, in 1983 and 1988, and the 1983 date is ruled out because the article refers to “congressman John Kerry,” but Kerry wasn’t first elected to Congress until 1984. A search of the 17 July 1988 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle turns up no such article.

This item is doubly debunkable because we do know something about the origins of the photograph. It’s a fake, a composite made from two other images: one of John Kerry greeting clown Rami Salami in 1998, and a picture of Anton LaVey posing with rocker Marilyn Manson in 1994:

Rami Salami

Marilyn Manson

Last updated:   28 October 2004


Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes