NAME: Mike Peterson
HOME BASE: 6486 Henry St Allendale MI 49401 Phone – 616-795-1630
It’s not a new thing that neo-Nazis use neo-Paganism to hide behind and advance their agenda, but in recent years a lot of people in the scene who aren’t Nazis have gone after those groups and individuals that do. They have done so particularly successful we should say. So much so that now those neo-Nazis just come off as wackjobs, as well they should. That is most certainly the case of one group out of the Grand Rapids, MI area called the Gallows Tree Wotansvolk Alliance, founded as a prison group by an then-inmate named Mike Peterson.
South Side Chicago Anti-Racist Action (ARA) was the first ones to profile Peterson back in 2011 after they had a few run-ins with him online and in person, most notably at a celebration of Adolf Hitler’s birthday in Chicago that year that ended with a smoke bomb in the restaurant where it was being held. As they noted Peterson spent nine years in prison and it was while he was in prison he started the Gallows Tree group, which the article describes as “a culty religious group that blends Norse Paganism with white supremacy”. When ARA caught up with him he was fresh off parole and a writing and journalism student at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC), which in 2010 saw a bit of controversy when an article in the student newspaper about how a “White culture club” was getting started on campus. There was also racist flyers littering the campus at the time that caused a bit of concern. ARA immediately smelled a rat:
“On the Gallows Tree Forum (now defunct) Michael owns up to the fact that he and other Gallows Tree members started the White Culture Club to help promote the religion he leads. But look up earlier on the thread at the article by the name of “White culture club tries GRCC”. It ran in the Collegiate, GRCC’s student newspaper, at the beginning of the controversy. And its author: Mike Peterson, Collegiate Staff Writer. That’s right, an active Nazi got to write THE FIRST ARTICLE about the group he helped start FOR THE PURPOSE OF BRINGING NEW MEMBERS into his own organization, and quite possibly got paid for it. Great journalism Mike!
And to the GRCC students wondering whose been passing out the racist flyers promoting “whitepridemi.com” (now defunct) around campus, the wondering’s over. The e-mail listed as a contact on the flyer is also Mike Peterson’s, put up on his mead expert page online.”
Peterson never got into any trouble because of his White culture club, although he did at some point leave GRCC without finishing. Over the years he continued building Gallows Tree, getting more members and maintaining a blog called Wotan’s Reich as well as a YouTube page. He has also made some curious associations; one being Chester Doles an ex-con who once ran the Georgia Chapter of the National Alliance. Doles gained a bit of notoriety in 2003 when he was busted on a weapons possession charge and neo-Nazis raised tens of thousands of dollars for his defense, only for him to plead guilty. Another is Paul Waggoner of the Wolves of Vinland, a similarly styled neo-Fascist Pagan group out of Lynchburg, Virginia who has attracted a number of politically connected fascists such as Kevin DeAnna & Devin Saucier of the now-defunct Youth for Western Civilization, and Daily Caller contributor Scott Greer. Of course, being a one time prison group means his fellow ex-cons are also a part of this thing, and that has caused some complications from those who can’t seem to leave the old life when the public face of Gallows Tree is supposed to be one of reformation, proclaiming a crime-free lifestyle since the group got out of prison. At least one member is reportedly on house arrest and even with that is still living foul. And he has folks like this in the Gallows Tree membership around the country.
Peterson’s activities means everyone around him, be it directly or indirectly, have to deal with whatever it is he brings around. That could mean at the restaurant he works at called Dee-Lite in Grand Haven, MI, or it could especially mean at his home in Allendale, MI where he holds his Gallows Tree gatherings that he calls blóts, which were old Nordic pagan sacrifices to the gods. He has held several there, and it is possible any neighbors or even his landlord do not know what he has been bringing to the neighborhood.
Let’s be real, were this just a simple pagan thing we would not care. Violent career criminal Nazis using it to get over on people, that’s what gets our attention. And they should be treated in that regard first and foremost.