Fred Baggen - The Adversary

A Life with the Church of Satan


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Perhaps Maarten J. Lamers (b. 1947) is the last Dutch adventurer, artist, and entrepreneur for whom anyone had the courage to write a biography on. Lamers, once the Magister Templi of the Church of Satan, is so much more than just the former leader of the Grotto Magistratis Amsterdam who built an erotic-occult empire in the 1970s and 1980s with resourcefulness and swagger, bamboozled the police and tax authorities, and to whom newspapers devoted many columns on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis.

In The Adversary all the myths and secrets of this enfant terrible are revealed: from the moment he was thirteen, lived on Mallorca and caught the eyes of all the girls of Mallorca and Spain with his stage act as a rock ‘n roll singer, followed by successes in Amsterdam as an actor, comedian, theater director, and founder of the world’s first sex theater.

In the early 1970s, Lamers booked the American nude revue Oh! Calcutta! for stages in the Netherlands which instantly made him a celebrity as willful and independent director of ground-breaking theater, with commotion and parliamentary questions guaranteed.

In San Francisco, Lamers met Anton Szandor LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, who promptly appointed the Dutch theater maker as a high priest. Back in the Netherlands he founded the Dutch ‘Kerk van Satan’, initially as an illegal night café, later as a ‘serious’ society in the small Dutch village of Etersheim, half an hour north of Amsterdam. From 1980 it became a thematic sex empire in the Amsterdam red light district, where the Grotto Magistratis, the Sex Theater, and the Walburga Abbey (currently the Banana Bar) were iconic features of the city for years.

In the mid-1980s, Lamers briefly was the director of the erotic Casa Rosso theater and a pioneer in exploiting the highly profitable telephone sex lines. When the Dutch Church of Satan closed its doors in 1988 after seventeen years, Lamers traded his black-red cape for comfortable business suits and he became the CEO of companies like Antillephone (phone sex) and Monacall (communication services and telephone casino) with which he earned the Big Bucks.

Nowadays, Maarten Lamers tirelessly is and does everything simultaneously: lord of a castle, composer, musical writer, entrepreneur, and (former) Dutch celebrity without a biography. The latter will finally change with the publication of The Adversary.

Published in December 2018 | paperback | 876 pages | ca. 300,000 words (shortening is possible) | with photographs
Dutch edition published by Aldus Boek Compagnie

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Fred Baggen (1967) spent five years writing Maarten Lamers’ biography, interviewing dozens of people involved, including childhood friends, classmates, former colleagues, and employees, former members of the Church of Satan who were willing to talk, police officers, journalists, family members, ex-partners, Lamers himself, and many other unknown and well-known people who share their raw stories for the first time – anonymous or not – about the Adversary, Maarten J. Lamers.


Prestage, The Lamers surname

First Act, Tableau de la troupe (1959-1969)
1. In the footsteps of the father
2. Back in the Netherlands
3. From jeune premier to enfant terrible
4. Tents, temples, and theaters
5. Stage theater, chariot play, ballet, pub theater, and musical

Second Act, Theater in Adam’s and Eve’s suit (1969-1971)
6. Sex in Amsterdam
7. Oh! Calcutta!

Third Act, With Satanical pleasure (1971-1988)
8. New York, San Francisco
9. Grotto Magistratis
10. The idyll disturbed in Etersheim
11. The philosophy of Le Boudoir and the Walburgines Sisters
12. Cantharis Productions presents…
13. The Satanic Broadcasting Foundation
14. Satan in the Red Light District (1)
15. Hubbub in the abbey
16. Shemhamforash

Entr’acte — Walpurgis Night
17. Satan in the Red Light District (2)
18. Black Christmas
19. Blue Angel

Fourth Act, Leaving church after singing (1989)
20. The Church of Satan goes underground

Fifth Act, Big business, big deal (1986-present)
21. 0800 avant la lettre
22. The savior of Curaçao
23. Taking a gamble on a microstate
24. Like a God in France

Backstage – Magister today

Photo credits

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