“you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave….”
The Satanic Temple officially announced on September 14 that their clandestine Salem, MA headquarters will be opening as a center of operations for the organization and its guests. Salem Art Gallery has been a refuge and base for members and allies of The Satanic Temple privately during its renovations for nearly a year and is the meeting location in the Washington Post article that broke the After School Satan Club story. One of its first events had Adam Parfrey of Feral House exhibiting and discussing the works of William Mortensen in October last year. Salem Art Gallery will begin holding ticketed and invitation-only events for the public on September 23rd. The privately donated historic Victorian property dates back to 1882 and also currently houses the Baphomet monument until it can be donated to a suitable home on state property where religious monuments and plurality are welcome.
Salem Art Gallery will open to the public with a permanent exhibition dedicated to the Satanic Panic and witch hunts from the past and present. Grey Faction is the foundational organization within the Satanic Temple which focuses on Satanic Ritual Abuse claims and their current incarnations such as Dissociative Identity Disorder. Members of the Grey Faction, many of whom have personal experience with harmful conspiracy theory masquerading as mental health therapy, curated the Satanic Panic exhibit along with Lucien Greaves. The gallery also features a media room for film screenings, book events, lectures, and educational events. The Satanic Temple’s ordainment coursework that is under development and nearly complete and ritual events such as marriage dissolution rituals and pet funerals are also being discussed as they are underserved but important life events that serve human emotional need. Yes, weddings will likely happen too… Salem Art Gallery will be the only still existing brick and mortar religious destination for Satanists in the United States excluding the Luciferian Church that opened up in Texas last year. Luciferians do not typically identify themselves as Satanists however.
The building is a large Victorian two story home whose public areas are all on the first floor. The media room is large with a projector screen and podium used for lectures and films or videos of interest to the Satanic community. Its circuitous scarlet-walled layout is sometimes confusing to navigate and is probably due in part to its former use as a funeral home. The Baphomet monument resides in a specially constructed structure whose interior decoration is Roman inspired and sits apart from the main building. Artists, performers, authors, writers, and filmmakers are frequent guests as well as chapter heads and members of TST. It is a place well suited to the continuing cultivation of the Gnosticism-hued Satanism of The Satanic Temple. The social and creative culture of The Satanic Temple and Satanism in general is usually overlooked and underreported which inhibits the willingness of many people to understand the religion. Now, with a headquarters announced publicly and more TST cultural events and gatherings being reported on or attended by larger audiences Satanists are prioritizing designing and creating their own culture in a town historically fit for both their insight and influence.
The first exhibits for Salem Art Gallery as the official base of operations for The Satanic Temple will include Mark Porter (the artist who sculpted the Baphomet monument) and sculptor Chris Andres who specializes in Satanic themes and taxidermy style monsters including Baphomet masks and sculptures. Halloween, Salem’s heavy tourist season, will see events not yet announced at Salem Art Gallery with plans to carry on through the entire Holiday season with Krampus events in December and events on into January still in discussion. There will likely be an online component available for members and allies who cannot physically attend events in the space.