The Illuminati – The Big One
No reputable people have come forward with a personal account, but we can’t exclude this one.
One secret society that has maintained its power into the modern-day – if you believe it exists to start with – is the Illuminati. Like so many of our clandestine organizations, the Illuminati charts itself back to the 18th century, when the likes of the Freemasons, the Rosicrucians and the Carbonari were also finding their feet. They began life as an order of rationalists in a conservatively Christian society – Bavaria, in their case – that wanted to negate the influence of religion in public life and curb the power of the authoritarian German order. Naturally, this sort of behavior did not endear them to the ruling class of the time and necessitated that movement towards a secretive organizational structure.
Nevertheless, the Bavarian Illuminati persisted and grew, forming a network of political liberals and reformers that spread out from their home base in Ingolstadt, Bavaria across southern Germany. They had degrees like Masons, pseudonyms to maintain secrecy and a sophisticated system of spying on each other that was designed to keep everyone honest and deter police informers. The original grouping in Bavaria clashed with the Freemasons, from whom they regularly stole members, and the Rosicrucians, whom they considered not to be revolutionary enough in their zeal for a rational, technocratic society. Eventually, the anti-monarchical nature of the Illuminati caught up with them and in 1785, all secret societies were banned by Duke Karl Theodor of Bavaria and their membership fizzled out.