Motorcycle clubs often bring to mind images of guns, drugs, bikes, and leather. From afar their lives seem mysterious and full of danger. The US has many motorcycle clubs all over the country, and most are harmless enough, with rules that denote what members can and can't do. In general, it's believed 99% of these clubs are law-abiding groups of people brought together by a particular passion for riding. Unfortunately, that leaves 1% of clubs that aren't interested in following the rule of law.
Out of the many motorcycle gangs in the US, few are as feared as the Pagans Motorcycle Club. The group has been causing mayhem and frustration for law enforcement since the mid-1960s. Read on to find out more about one of most notorious and deadly motorcycle gangs in America.
Pagans Identify As ‘One Percenters,’ Which Means They’re Part Of The ‘1%’ Of Troublemaking Bikers
The American Motorcyclist Association has proclaimed that 99% of motorcyclists in the United States are law-abiding citizens. The Pagans, however, don’t identify as being part of that 99%. Instead, they are considered an OMG (outlaw motorcycle gang), and openly identity as part of the “one percenter” group of motorcyclists - meaning they don't bother with following the law.
The illicit activities they partake in range from petty theft to extortion and murder. The group has been implicated in weapons deals, bombings, and drug trafficking.
The Pagans MC are considered to be part of America’s Big Four outlaw motorcycle clubs, which also includes the Hells Angels, the Outlaws, and the Bandidos. The group is constantly being investigated by law enforcement and have been the source of a lot of fear due to their ties to the Italian Mafia and the Aryan Brotherhood.
The Pagan MC claim to have invented the 1 percenter patch, but the patch has been adopted by other 1 percenter organizations and is often seen on members' vests.
Pagan MC Patches Depict The Norse Fire Giant Surtr, And Numbered Patches Have Various Meanings
MC members wear leather or denim vests and jackets with patches identifying the club they are part of. For the Pagans, their denim vests are emblazoned with a patch that depicts the Norse Fire giant Surtr sitting on the sun and wielding a sword. Surtr is a figure from Norse Mythology. He is a fire giant who was prophesied to lead his kin into battle during Ragnarok, the end of times, and whose sword will destroy the world.
In addition to their emblem, the Pagans have many other patches with symbolism on their vests. Among these patches is the 1% diamond patch that indicates their illicit activity as well as a variety of patches with numbers. The number 13 on a vest is believed to have a variety of possible explanations, including 12 jurors and 1 judge, the thirteenth letter of the alphabet, or the 13 original founders. A 5 patch represents someone with Nazi affiliations. Skull and crossbones, wings, and Third Reich symbols are also common to see on vests. Symbols tend to describe that member and their activity. Seeing a member with an ace of spades on their vest indicates they are willing to kill for the MC, or perhaps already have.
To conceal where their members are from, the Pagans don’t include their chapters on their vests. This makes it especially difficult for law enforcement to solve crimes linked to the Pagans. A member's jacket is one of his most prized possessions, and he must care for it above all else.
The Pagan Motorcycle Club Started In Prince George, MD, With 13 Members
The founding of the Pagan MC goes back to 1957, when 13 men led by Lou Dobkin created a “brotherhood” tied together by their beliefs and love of riding. The Pagans were officially recognized as an MC in 1958.
The group remained largely non-violent and small until the 1960s. As member numbers swelled into the thousands, thanks to a new club president, so did the group's penchant for trouble. With new members came ties to drugs and mayhem.
The group was originally based out of Prince George’s County, MD, but expanded quickly up and down the East Coast in the 1960s. Through their illicit activity and ties to other likeminded organizations, they quickly became one of the most dominant MCs in the mid-Atlantic and East Coast region. To this day they remain one of the largest MCs in the country, with at least 44 known chapters.
The Pagan MC Used Triumph Bikes At Their Start But Switched Exclusively To Harley Davidson
Back in 1957, when the the Pagans were founded, members didn't use Harley Davidson motorcycles. Rather, the group favored Triumph bikes instead. Triumph motorcycles are an English enterprise and the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the UK.
As the Pagans expanded, however, their preference for bikes turned exclusively to Harley Davidson.
Their First President Made The Same Salary As The President Of The United States
After their founding in the late 1950s, the Pagans went through a time of intense reorganization in the 1960s. This resulted in a structure that included a constitution, ruling council, and president. During the 1960s, the first official club president was John “Satan” Marron.
Marron was originally president of the Sons of Satan MC, an outlaw group based out of central Pennsylvania. When the Pagans MC began encroaching in Sons of Satan territory, Marron decided to create friendly ties rather than react violently. He, along with several other members, eventually patched over to the Pagans MC. When Marron became president, the club made the decision to pay him the equivalent of what the US president at the time was making - $100,000 a year. They called this a “show of class.”
The Sons of Satan MC became a support club for the Pagan MC. The Sons of Satan are still active in Pennsylvania and wear a P on their vests in a show of support for the Pagans.
Women Have No Rights In The Pagan Motorcycle Club But Can Be Designated As ‘Old Ladies’ Or ‘Honeys’
Women hold no rights in the club, yet some investigations have pointed to them playing small roles in the organization’s illicit activities. No information about the Pagans' activities are divulged to any woman regardless of whether she’s an “old lady” or a “honey.”
“Old Lady” is the title given to a Pagan MC wife or steady girlfriend of a member. An old lady is entitled to wear a special patch or other marker that identifies her as the “property” of another member. MC members are allowed to have more than one old lady.
“Honeys,” sometimes called “Train Honeys,” are women who are considered property of the club as a whole. Members can trade, sell, or give these women away. These women are often sexually exploited. Within the MC, women are considered to be below dogs in the organization’s hierarchical structure. Members excuse their views of women by claiming that the women who are involved in the MC lifestyle choose to be there and know the rules they must abide by.