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It's Spooky: CA Scenario

In high school I knew “California Scenario” as “Satan Park.” The rumor growing up went like this: now-deceased Church of Satan High Priest Anton LaVey owned a sedate Costa Mesa office complex and constructed a garden in the middle that would give employees a rest area by day... and Satanists a perfect worship ground by night.


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Having just heard the rumor, six or seven of us headed for the park one late Saturday night to see for ourselves. The park was strange, to be sure. At night, especially, it had this surreal quality: a giant stone table (perfect for beheadings??) surrounded by an equally tremendous granite bench. It suggests that one could sit at the table - if the bench wasn't a good five feet away. Compound that with the giant shadows projected on the parking garage walls, the stark pyramids, the giant green hill to nowhere. Nothing here makes sense on the surface, it's an enigma.

Of course, we totally disregarded the enormous signs identifying our would-be worshipping ground as “California Scenario” by late Japanese landscape architect and sculptor Isamu Noguchi (also the creator of this memorable and iconic table). The satanism rumor was probably sparked by nearby Anton Blvd, kind of a stretch but forgivable for kids. Maybe the uneasy feelings I got (and still get) are all tied to how incongruous the garden is in the context of the reasonably normal mall and office complex that surround it: it doesn't belong there. Sometimes I get the feeling that I don't, either, but that's a story for another post. (Not to mention a good subject for a blog.)

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