Shhhh… It’s A Secret
The enigmatic words ““¿NOV SCHMOZ KAPOP?” appeared as the last words of many an issue of The Cloven Hoof, the official newsletter of The Church of Satan. If you only knew how many times we would get a request to know what those words meant in English… or French… or Spanish… or Romanian. We would answer those requests in the same way. “It’s a secret.”
Nothing holds the attention like the promise of the revelation of a secret untold. I asked the question myself, because the words were somehow familiar to me, and I had the feeling that I had seen them in writing somewhere. It seems that everyone else who asked had seen it “someplace” as well. So, when I asked, LaVey told me, “It’s a secret, Jake.” I was determined that one day, I would know.
The way I found it was simply dumb luck, sitting in a stack of old newspapers. It was in a “topper” or cartoon strip usually found at the top of a print sheet, by the cartoonist Gene Ahern, called, “The Squirrel Cage.” The protagonist of the strip was a little bearded hitchhiker who spoke his own nonsensical language that seemed to mean “something,” but was, of course, gibberish. The only consistency in the hitchhiker’s gibberish was the phrase “¿Nov Schmoz Kapop?”, which most people concluded must mean “something,” but actually didn’t. Many people assumed that it meant “Going My Way?”
I took my findings to LaVey and laid them before him as he was sitting at the kitchen table, having a cup of coffee. He picked up the note, and as he read, a smile came to his face. He looked at me, put his finger to his lips and said, “Shhhh, Jake. It’s a secret.
LaVey enjoyed The Squirrel Cage as a child from its earliest appearance in the funny papers on June 21, 1936 in his birthplace of Chicago, IL. Gene Ahern, the cartoonist was also a Chicago resident. Ahern would transport the little hitchhiker to his succeeding comic strips until 1953, when he retired his last strip, Room & Board. Ahern died in 1960.
When LaVey formed The Church of Satan in 1966, the Cloven Hoof followed soon after, and when LaVey finished typing in that 1st issue on his IBM “Selectric” typewriter , he smiled as he keyed “¿Nov Schmoz Kapop?” as a tribute and personal “thank you,” to Gene Ahern.
So you too now now the truth. “¿Nov Schmoz Kapop?” — It don’t mean nothin’!