The online forum known as the 600 club (a pun on the evangelical 700 club) closed their doors this year. The forum served as a long time meeting place for Satanists, mostly of the atheistic variety.
The 600 club’s roots stretch back to the earlier days of the internet. It was founded in 1996 by Rick Rinker and Karla LaVey. Rick acted as a Satanic Community priest, representing the First Satanic Church.
Their original motto was that they were “Satanic Evangelists”. The early site didn’t have a forum but they did have a Satanic link exchange. You can view the classic 600 Club site here from the Internet Archive.
The First Satanic Church was the foundation of this forum. The First Satanic Church was created by Karla LaVey. Karla was an original member of the Church of Satan and a daughter of Anton LaVey.
Karla worked for the Church of Satan for over four decades, promoting it, doing television appearances and radio interviews and going on tour and lecturing for the Church of Satan at special events.
However, America’s first Satanic family had a dark side. See, after LaVey left his first wife (Diane Hegarty) he continued a relationship with Blanche Barton. During that time it was LaVey’s oldest daughter Zeena that ran the Church, acting as High Priestess from 1985 to 1990. But after that, LaVey bestowed the title and responsibility onto Karla, and she served the Church until 1997.
After LaVey died in 1997, Karla LaVey held a press conference with SF Gate, to announce the death of her father, and the plans she had for his church. At that time, Blanche Barton and Karla decided to run the church together. It wasn’t until some time later that Barton produced a hand-written will that claimed that LaVey had decided to leave everything to Barton and his son, Xerxes. Not believing it, Karla contested the will and it was later deemed to be found invalid.
So afterwards, Karla decided to start her her own venture in Satanism. On October 1st 1999, hoping to carry on the legacy of her father’s work, the First Satanic Church came into being.
From the Web Archive of the 600 Club:
“Let it be known that on this Day, Oct. 31, XXXIV Annos Satanas, Church of Satan founder, Anton LaVey’s eldest daughter Karla LaVey has founded the “First Satanic Church.” After two years of mourning, legal entanglements, and rumors, High Priestess LaVey has returned to continue where her father left off, vowing to take Satanism into the twenty-first Century.“
It was websites like the First Satanic Church, and forums like the 600 Club that gave Satanists a place to gather and to learn from. The 600 Club’s founder – Rick Rinker, had a long history with Satanism and was the perfect person to initiate the task of maintaining and growing a Satanic internet forum.
Rick had been involved with Anton LaVey’s church and had even been initiated as a reverend. However, he decided to give up his red card and leave the Church of Satan after Anton’s passing.
Rick also regularly hosted the 600 Club’s radio show, “The Voice of Satan“.
A quote from an interview at LaSpirale Magazine with Mr Rinker shows how he intended the 600 club to represent Satanism:
“The 600 Club took its name from the 700 Club, an organization whose mission is to combat the narrow-mindedness, ignorance and hatred generated by the Christian right. Although instead of preaching the believers as they love to do, we strive to educate the public directly.“
Much like his friend, Karla, Rick wanted to continue the same philosophical teachings and aesthetics that the people from the original Church of Satan knew and appreciated.
So, the 600 Club served the Satanic community for well over two decades, giving people a place to learn and talk about Satanism. However, with the rise of social media and web 2.0 in the past decade, forums like the 600 Club were doomed. Facebook, Youtube and Instagram and other social media sites had taken on that role while blogs and forums became obsolete.
Satanists who are new to the movement aren’t familiar with this history or why it’s important to Satanism. Forums like the 600 Club gave us an insight into the development of Satanism in the digital age, when it was no longer relegated to books that you could read.
Back in the 90’s, you could join a forum and meet other like minded people. And for Satanists, finding each other is a rare thing. The movement wasn’t as large or as popular back then. And, it wasn’t so freely available to the public. You would have had to know about the 600 Club by talking with other Satanists.
So, yet another chapter is closed on the history of Satanism. Goodbye, T600CL, you are gone but not forgotten!
Internet Archive of The 600 Club (also known as T600cl for short) (accessed 10/29/20) https://web.archive.org/web/20200629113845/https://www.satanicchurch.com/
Press Conference with Karla LaVey at SF Gate (accessed 10/29/20) https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Satanist-s-Daughter-To-Keep-the-Faith-Famed-2823677.php
Interview with Rick Rinker, LaSpirale, 1996, author Laurent Courau (Google Translated, accessed 10/29/20) https://laspirale.org/texte-15-rick-rinker-the-600-club.html