Any Reliable Record of "Black Mass" Being Performed?

A “Black Mass” is (supposedly) a parody of the Roman Catholic Mass. It is supposed to be a total desecration, with the Lord’s Prayer being recited backwards (how on earth do you do that?), and something terrible substituted for the Eucarist (communion wafer).
Is there any record of such a bizarre ceremony actually being conducted, or is the “Black Mass” an example of 19th century fiction?

Apparently, the band “Coven” used to perform them as part of a stage show, and there are recordings available.

Black mass.

This cite is terrible. “However, other satanic groups do conduct their versions of the Black Mass that include deviant sexual acts and orgies, necrophilia, cannibalisms of sacrificial victims (including human beings), and drinking the blood of the victims.” Orly?

If it’s an urban myth, it’s a really old and pervasive one. All of the Catholic parishes of which I’ve been a member keep any consecrated hosts leftover from Mass in a locked tabernacle (an item itself not easily carried off), with the express purpose of protecting them from sacrilege. The parish my family belonged to when I was in high school even experienced a break-in. Nothing was stolen, but somebody tried (unsuccessfully) to force open the tabernacle doors.

The thing is, it is a fairly old and pervasive myth, in some form or another.

So, assuming you do find some evidence of such a ritual, you’re going to run into the question of “was this a real tradition that inspired warnings, or was it done because of and in imitation of the warning/myth?”
I have absolutely no doubt that somewhere, sometime, someone or small group of someones performed some kind of Black Mass in imitation of the myth, whether because they really wanted to perform a satanic ritual and this was the best description they could find, because they wanted to do something shocking and this was a convenient description, just for silly fun/camp value, or a combination of all of the above. But that doesn’t mean the myth is true; it means people were imitating the myth.

Just like, say, smoking banana peels, which was in the 1970s reputed to get you high. Did someone try smoking banana peels because they heard this? I’m sure someone did. Was there an established culture of banana peel smokers getting high before the myth went around? Of course not.

I think this is close, but doesn’t give the concept enough historical weight.

While religion is a hot topic in today’s America, we live in a world in which the Church has been greatly reduced as a representation of the establishment.

Up until the 20th Century, the Church had a dominant role in western culture. The Estates-General of France were the Clergy, the Nobles, and the commoners, with the Clergy being the First Estate. Almost every (possibly every) country in Europe had an official state religion. Even in England every professor at Oxford and Cambridge had to be an ordained Anglican minister until the 1880s. The Vatican wielded enormous power over the Catholic countries.

Today anti-establishmentism is waged mainly against the state. There’s every evidence that in the past it was waged as heavily or more so against the Church, with a long list of names from Voltaire to de Sade.

A black mass would be the ultimate protest and we make a mistake today in thinking of it as some sort of Halloween prank. There were undoubtedly times where it was deadly serious and could literally mean death. Nor should we see it as the Aleister Crowley ritual involving a naked virgin or anything like that. Black masses were anti-establishment masses, and covered a range of types and rituals. The page I linked to actually provides a history of anti-clerical activities. And if you click on the link at the bottom you’ll see a very long page of sources for the articles in that series. The sources are of varied provenance, from academic histories to popular junk, but some are certainly sound.

Most people conducting black masses for real did so in utter secrecy, so our records of them today are bound to be scanty and fragmented. In fact, much of the evidence for black masses appear in church pronouncements banning them or otherwise calling out the behavior. These are obviously biased sources if you think of the practice as being anti-establishment and like all authorities they are prone to lumping any and all activities they dislike together. However, the first cite I can find is that the Church Council of Toledo in the 600s denounced the “mass of the dead” which apparently was a rite to “consign a living man to death.” That’s the origin of the black mass.

They weren’t just smoking bananas in those days. They smoked people, too.

I can say with certainty that someone did.

Nor exactly a Black Mass, but in the middle ages there were the festum fatuorum and the festum asinorum.

The Hellfire Club, of which Ben Franklin was allegedly a member, was accused of performing the Black Mass.

And Sammy Davis Jr. mentions in his second autobiography Why Me? that he was a Satanist for a while (he apparently painted one little finger nail red as a sign), but quit after a ceremony in which he participated went too far even for him. He doesn’t describe it as a Black Mass specifically, nor does he say exactly what went on, but he more or less re-converted to Judaism (although he thanked Jesus in one of his last public utterances).