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Casper Crowell is a busy man. He’s the spiritual leader of a religious non-profit organization, the Holy Nation of Odin, Inc. Crowell designs some of its greeting cards, which he sells along with a host of other merchandise on his group’s website. He also recruits followers through several MySpace pages, a blog and his own YouTube channel. He’s been interviewed for a National Geographic Channel documentary. And in 2007 he endorsed the presidential candidacy of Republican Ron Paul.
Crowell, 46, has done all of this and more while serving a life sentence for murder in a California maximum-security prison that also is home to the likes of Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan. He proclaims himself “the honorable allsherjargothi in the Holy Nation of Odin, Inc.” That’s from Old Norse meaning “the People’s (Folk’s) Priest/servant,” Crowell says. Membership is $40 a year, unless like Crowell, you’re incarcerated.
Racist versions of Odinism and its Icelandic version, Asatru, have become increasingly popular theologies among imprisoned racists and others on the radical right in recent years. Odinism features Norse gods such as Odin, the warlike father of all gods and men. The racist version advocates the ultimate triumph of a pure, white race.
So does Crowell, who calls himself “Dr. Casper Odinson Crowell” and sports a large swastika tattoo on his chest. He is a former leader in the violent and racist Aryan Brotherhood prison gang. He left that organization because it wasn’t pure enough for him.
After quitting the Aryan Brotherhood, Crowell busied himself with the Odinism organization, which lists his wife, Linda, as executive administrative director. Linda Crowell works for the Social Security Administration in Fresno.