People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies

Alli - September 29, 2021

It’s hard not to get sucked into the idea of a secret society. Spooky rituals, clandestine meetings, and powerful members bring chills to the skin. The chill factor is taken further when you discover that many of history’s most elite have belonged to one secret society or another. Rumors of midnight gatherings and whispered oaths give an air of almost paranormal type activity. Throughout the ages, these societies have created fear and folklore around their comings and goings.

Most secret societies seem to be steeped in mystery – that’s what makes them secret, right? But what happens when the secrets start to come out? Are they just as scary as before or do we start to see the utter humanity behind the smoke and candles? We’ve scoured resources to try and find the history of some of the world’s most interesting secret societies as well as first-hand accounts of these secret societies. In the tradition of keeping secrets, we’re going to allow our witnesses to remain anonymous.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Men toasting outside bar Bar Harbor, Bohemian Grove. historyinphotos.

The Bohemian Grove – A Camp Where Powerful Men… “Misbehave”

For those of you that don’t know, the Bohemian Grove is a playground for the social elite. Every July, some of the richest and most powerful men in the world come to the Bohemian Grove, an enormous campground in Monte Rio, California, for two weeks of drinking, secretive rituals, and making global decisions. Members of the Bohemian Club have included former U.S. presidents, musicians, oil barons and many more historic figures. Some of these figures include Presidents Nixon, Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Bush senior and junior, Hoover, Ford, and Raegan. Additionally, other politicians such as White House chiefs of staff, senators, secretaries of state, and secretaries of defense have also partaken in the clandestine festivities.

So what is the Bohemian Grove? It’s an Elks Club for the rich; basically a fraternity party in the woods every summer. a boy scout camp for old guys, complete with an initiation ceremony and a totem animal, the owl. The Bohemians started going on their little retreat shortly after the club was founded in 1872 and by the 1880s, it became a hub of debauchery and a meeting for powerful men to simply play and make huge world decisions. Even to this day. For more details on what goes on in this camp, our article on the Bohemian Grove.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Jack Kemp, Former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and New York Congressman, Jim Stockdale, former United States Navy vice admiral, and Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States from 1977 to 198, at the Lakeside Talks at the Bohemian Grove. Ebaumsworld.

This Staff Worker Who Has the Inside Scoop on the Bohemian Grove

“I worked at the Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio, CA a couple of years ago. First, it’s in the middle of a huge redwood grove, and parking space is very limited. You often have to be escorted through the front because there are crazy old hippy protesters trying to get in your way. You take a shuttle in through a few security checkpoints. This was all to get to the dining circle. Along the way, you notice there are tons of Owl-themed signs, statues, etc, just like a theme. You get to the dining circle and it’s basically hundreds of picnic tables in a clearing. There’s a large building behind it that serves as the kitchen and server stations. During the summer events, there are literally hundreds of servers, cooks, bussers, etc that all work in this area. Most are younger kids from the high schools around there. I was a server and was chosen as one of like 7 dudes to serve at the ‘Wine Chalet Dinner’ deep in the grove (no women allowed!).

This is pretty cool because you get to wear a white tux they give you from the linens department. On that night we took a separate shuttle deep into the grove, where typically only members and high-level staff go. As you drive away from the dining circle, something strange comes into view. A 40 foot tall stone Owl alter in front of a large fluorescent blue pool. Behind that, there is a sort of amphitheater-style seat. It becomes clear this is where they perform the ‘Cremation of Care’ ceremony. We got to the wine chalet house, where we’re essentially serving all these high-level bankers who caused the 2008 financial crisis I’m guessing. Nothing shady, just old fat white guys getting plastered and eating good food. That’s what most of the Bohemian Club is about, old rich dudes getting wasted and maybe cutting a backroom deal. Anyways, all the servers got to eat some pretty good food and drink some wine in the back so that was cool.”

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Steps of the Free Masons and their rites. Bushy Wood.

Freemasons – From Humble Beginnings to Suspicious Powerhouse

One of the most secretive organizations as well as one of the most well-renowned. Everyone has heard of the Freemasons, they’re active in most Western countries and by conservative estimates can boast somewhere in the region of 5 million members worldwide. Freemasons are typically pretty open about their membership and they are always taking new members. While some people may say this is not great, let’s look at why this society is high up there. The origins of Freemasonry is rooted in fairly innocent intentions.

The Freemasons began as a secret society of stonemasons, whose professional knowledge was required to be secret for their profession to exist. The masons in this society could not simply go out and share their secrets – anybody would be able to do their job. So that would be bad for business. So originally, the Freemasons were more likened to a union than a secret society. So when did that change? That’s when things get a bit sketchier. There were individual groups in the Mason organization like you’d see in various chapters today. During the early 18th century, their influence grew. Throughout Europe and the British Empire, their reputation morphed into one based on fear. Many believed that they were a separate religion – possibly even a Satanic organization. It is strange that there have been so many powerful figures from George Washington to John Hancock. The Catholic Church has even threatened excommunication to those who might join.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Theodore Roosevelt as a Freemason. Wikimedia.

This Current Freemason Member Paints an Innocent Picture

“Anyone can join the masons, providing you meet their requirements (usually just an adult male in good mental health who believes in a higher power, but that’s all variant depending on the lodge). You seriously just need to google your local Freemason temple and send them an email. They’re happy to have new people join because in general membership has been dropping. There are definitely ‘rituals’, but they don’t claim to be spiritual and are really more of a tool to build a sense of brotherhood between generations.

“Technically the rituals have punishments for breaking the secrets, but that is not something anyone does and is just a matter of tradition at this point. It’s just another allegory, which the rituals are all heavy in. At the end of the day, it’s just an excuse to hang out with the guys one night a week. It can definitely be great networking since you do feel a sense of camaraderie and the environment fosters maturity, charity, responsibility, and all-around virtue. There’s nothing sinister or particularly amazing about it though, so don’t get your hopes up. It’s just a social club, albeit a widespread one with strong roots.”

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Hellfire clubs were originally wild parties thrown with blasphemous themes. Wikimedia.

Hellfire Club – a Hair Raising Origin Story

This society is responsible for more than one goosebump among us. Just the name creates a sense of otherworldly sin. The history of the Hellfire Club is actually a history of multiple organizations that operated under the title of hellfire clubs. They were known for their iniquity and out-of-control revelry. Philip, the Duke of Wharton(1698-1731), is credited with founding the first so-named Hellfire Club in 1719 when he was just 20 years old. The original intention of Wharton’s club was for the performance of “satirical religious ceremonies”. The original club even accepted female members – unlike its predecessors.

According to Geoffery Ashe’s The Hell-Fire Clubs: A History of Anti-Morality, club members came to meetings dressed as characters from the Bible and dined on such delicacies as “Holy Ghost Pie,” “Breast of Venus,” and “Devil’s Loin,” while drinking “Hellfire punch.” To nobody’s surprise, these blasphemous gatherings did not go over well with more religious authorities and monarchs. King George I disbanded the group in 1721. However, other, more infamous and dark clubs popped up with their own intentions. The Hellfire Club of Dublin was founded by Richard Parsons in 1735 and boasted a devilish reputation. Black masses, sacrifices, and general dark practices were hosted there. There is even one story of the Devil himself appearing at one gathering.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
This ruined building at the summit of Montpelier was originally built as a hunting lodge but its association with the Irish Hellfire Club has given it a sinister reputation. Wikimedia.

A Paranormal Investigator Who Won’t Go Back to the Dublin Location

The spooky goings on of the Dublin Hellfire Club have created a media storm of paranormal intrigue. Many say the society itself is still running today. But unlike the Freemasons, they must be pretty good at keeping their happenings secret. They know how to operate a secret society. But many paranormal investigators have ventured onto the grounds of Montpelier Hill, better known as The Hellfire Club to Dubliners. This secret society has inspired many to chase the thrill of the clandestine meetings of ages ago. And who knows what the modern day Hellfire Club is up to? Some say they meet now in Trinity, Ireland. But this account from the Head of Paranormal Researchers Ireland certainly has us on edge.

“There have been two places I have been that I got absolutely terrified and I don’t usually. The Hellfire Club in the Dublin Mountains, and Loftus Hall in Wexford. We were up the Hellfire one night, a group of eight or ten of us. We stood in a circle and the next minute there was a thud, it was like a vibration went through the whole building and all the equipment went mental. One of the guys was in the hall and he is a cynic and he said a black shadow crossed him, 100 percent — a tall black shadow. Another guy started getting sick, and then a girl said she heard a whisper in her ear, very clear, and it just said ‘get out’. All in the course of one minute. Chaos. That was the first time ever I called an end to the night and said we didn’t feel safe.”

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Bilderberg Group. Independent.

The Bilderberg Group

This is one group that might not be as well known as some of the other notorious secret societies. Of course, there are far fewer rituals it seems, and more political intrigue and sketchy king making. According to Time Magazine, “Since 1954, the Bilderberg Group has been gathering in secret to discuss everything from the rise and fall of communism to nuclear conflict to cybersecurity. The group began as a way to create more cooperation between Europe and North America during the tumultuous 1950s, and Bilderberg releases an annual list of the people who will attend and the topics they’ll discuss, but beyond that, little leaves the walls of the meeting rooms.”

Bilderberg operates under the Chatham House Rule. This means that the information one discovers during a meeting can be used to make decisions, but that information may not be disclosed outside of the meeting. With so many powerful decisions being made in this group, conspiracy theorists have a field day as to what could happen. Many speculate that this is the beginning of new world order and that they strive to create the idea of one-world government. For doomsday preppers, this is a big buzz term that signifies the Biblical end of times as foretold in Revelations. Some of the people privy to these meetings have even admitted that the idea they’re trying to create a new world order may be sensationalized but is not too far off the mark.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Many people fear the governmental implications of such a powerful group. Wikimedia.

A Bilderberg Group Member at Happy Hour Caught with Loose Lips

“Went to college with a guy whose parents were both, individually, billionaires. His father was somewhat estranged, but I met his mother during a birthday dinner that was held for him. The mother was not only a mega-genius in building her own business but was also on the board of several publicly traded companies at the time — companies that virtually anyone alive today would recognize the names of right away. Long story short, we were all at a birthday dinner for my friend, and everyone had been drinking. I’d recently read a book about the Bilderberg Group, and gathered the courage to ask whether his mom was involved when I caught her alone for a second.

“To my shock, she admitted that she was involved. But to my disappointment, the scene she described was rather…. mundane, at least in comparison to what I was hoping to hear. The talk of world-changing power-grabs and under-handed deals was the stuff of legend, according to her. She described it more like an event where seriously wealthy and powerful people could let their hair down, experience a bit of privacy, and be around other people who had led similar lifestyles and had similar problems. Of course, the gravity of connections you’d walk away with were way higher than the ones my a** picked up at the local bar, but it sounded more like an excuse for them to get away than some maniacal conspiracy to subjugate the rest of the population.”

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Theophilus Schweighardt Constantine, aka Daniel Mögling (1596-1635), Speculum Sophicum Rhodostauroticum (The Mirror of the Wisdom of the Rosy Cross), 1618. Public Domain.

Rosicrucians – A Very Esoteric Organization

A society that springs from the same time period and the same religious background as the Freemasons is the Rosicrucians, a similarly secretive organization. Indeed, Rosicrucianism is seen as one of the major influencers on the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, one of the various ways by which Masonry is organized around the world. While this may seem like they would want to be secretive, Rosicrucians are also very open about their organization. Rosicrucians were believed to originate in Europe during the early 17th century after the publication of several texts. These texts were purported to announce the existence of a hitherto unknown esoteric order to the world and made seeking its knowledge attractive to many.

Christian Rosenkreutz, a doctor and supposed traveler ventured to the Middle East in the 14th century and returned with knowledge of Eastern esotericism, drawing on Islamic, Jewish, Kabbalistic and Zoroastrian traditions was the ideological catalyst for Rosicrucians. He then founded the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross to spread his message of newfound wisdom. Original members had to be doctors, single and willing to help the sick for no pay. In the 1600s, the Rosicrucian manifestos claimed the existence of a secret society descended from Rosenkreutz – members consisted of sages and alchemists. The manifesto’s mentions of a “universal reformation of mankind” to come from a knowledge of science that would only be released when society was intellectually ready to cope with it may not have yet happened, but perhaps the Rosicrucians are still sitting on the information and waiting for their moment.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Rosicrucian symbol of the rose. Wikimedia.

This Modern Day Rosicrucian Member Who Shares their Wisdom

“Rosicrucianism is a type of mystic Christianity. It’s closely related to and intertwined with Gnosticism. In a nutshell, this state of existence – the universe as we perceive it – is dualistic, made of opposing forces that fuel each other. It’s trapped in a circle, cut off from the harmonious creating principle that can be designated as “the divine plan.” Here there can be no absolutes nor spiritual development. A being on this plane can talk about “god”, but can’t comprehend what that would even mean. Now, humans carry within them a latent principle of a divine touch. If that principle becomes active, it can guide a person through becoming a vessel in which a new, transcendental human being can be born. That principle is symbolized by the rose on the rose cross. This work is done by changing oneself from within; this is called “walking the path.”

“The path cannot be described nor prescribed exactly. Teachings and rituals are a help and guidance. If you wish to walk the path, you begin by self-awareness and some basic purification – give up on cigarettes and alcohol, for example. The ritual work brings you in contact with the divine Light in accordance with how much you can stand. It’s conducted in a temple, a simple white room with a few symbolic items on display. Rituals are really just texts to be read out loud, usually by two designated readers, a man and a woman. The whole event is very graceful, without any trance, glossolalia or demons jumping from pentagrams. Organizationally, there are no designated ministers and everyone is encouraged to participate. There is a small membership fee and transparent financial reports twice a year. The money goes to maintaining the temple, electrical bills, that sort of thing. The group itself is a registered charity.”


People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Hugues de Payns, a Knight Templar. Pinterest

The Knights Templar – One of Pop Culture’s Favorite Secret Societies

The initially stated purpose of the Knights Templar was to serve as an order of monastic knights that would protect pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem. By the time of their foundation in the 12th century, European Crusaders held large chunks of territory in Syria and Palestine, but they remained surrounded by Muslim states with whom they were often at least in a state of hostility toward, if not outright conflict. Additionally, there was consistent trouble on the road even in the Crusader-controlled Latin States, as much of the Muslim population that had lived there before their invasion remained. At that point there were exactly 9 knights in total, so they were useful for little else.

Their secretive nature – with rumors of occult initiation rites involving an organization with such riches did not make them universally popular, however, and when the Crusades wound down, their international network came under suspicion. In 1307, amidst many allegations of varying offenses, King Philip IV of France ordered hundreds of Templars to be arrested. Pope Clement V, who at the time was based in Avignon, France, issued a Papal Bull that called for the arrest of every Templar in Christendom. The order was dissolved and countless Templars were burned at the stake. The name would live on, however, as the Masons adopted some of their traditions. Now, the secret society known as the Knights Templar does not have a tie to the original Knights. Instead, it is inspired by their ethics. You can only be a Knight if you are at the highest levels of Freemasonry. We couldn’t find a current member or witness to the Knights Templar, but we couldn’t leave this favorite out.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Saint Josemaria circa 1937 to 1945. Wikimedia.

Opus Dei – A Religious Society that Ruthlessly Controls its Members

Unlike the previous secret organizations, this organization has very shallow roots that only date back to 1928. Opus Dei was formed by Josemaria Escriva, a Spanish Catholic priest and later saint. His goal was to create an institution that proved that all people could be called to holy works and that everyone could ingratiate sanctity into their everyday lives. In essence, everyone should be as saintly as possible, all the time. Noble stuff, for sure. When Opus Dei was approved as a part of the Catholic Church in 1950, many compared it openly to Masonry and protested the secretive nature of Opus Dei’s operations while others pointed out the closeness of Father Escriva to the fascist regime of General Franco in his native Spain.

On the Opus Dei website, you can find the teachings of Josemaria Escriva. A couple of excerpts in his own words will enlighten many to how dedicated he was to this message: “Christ’s kingdom is not just a figure of speech. Christ is alive; he lives as a man, with the same body he took when he became man, when he rose after his end, the glorified body which subsists in the person of the Word together with his human heart. Christ, true God and true man, lives and reigns. He is the Lord of the universe. Everything that lives is kept in existence only through him. (Christ is Passing By, 180)… The kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent are taking it by storm (Matthew 11:12).” This violence is not directed against others. It is a violence used to fight your own weaknesses and miseries, a fortitude which prevents you from camouflaging your own infidelities, a boldness to own up to the faith even when the environment is hostile. (Christ is Passing By, 82).”

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Hollywood remade the idea of the Opus Dei society in the Da Vinci Code. Wikimedia.

A Non-Member Caught in the Middle of Opus Dei Control

The global controversy surrounding came from the publication of The Da Vinci Code. While the controversial aspects of Opus Dei depicted in the book and later film had always been there, the subsequent publicity was far from wanted by the organization. Members do not openly declare themselves to be members of Opus Dei and indeed, are not allowed to reveal membership unless allowed to do so by a superior. The conditions in which many members live have come under scrutiny too: some 20% live in closed residential centers that are heavily regimented in lifestyle. And as we will see in this witness account, contact with the outside world is censored. Critics claim that those who enter the residential centers may well do so of their own free will, but once inside, they are discouraged from contacting family members and friends in the outside world and thus may not be able to leave as and when they want to.

“I wasn’t a member but lived in their women’s hostel in London in 1986 when I left home and went there at 17. I had been very religious, and was interested in this Catholic hostel (as it was sold to me). However, the good friend that I made there and I soon realized how hypocritical the members were. They were only friendly to us at the beginning when they thought that they could convert us, and my friend worked out that they also saw that we were not going to bring in a lot of money so weren’t worth the effort. I moved out after several months but had the strange feeling of having to look over my shoulder all the time. Even as a non-member, and with such a brief encounter of them, I realized what it would be like to enter and leave a cult. Most unsettling.”

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
“The Tomb” is where Skull and Bones members meet. Wikimedia.

Skull & Bones – Yale’s Sinister Secret Society (Part 1)

While the members are not secret, the Skull & Bones activities certainly are. On the surface, the Skulls & Bones might just be a silly game played by spoiled students at one of the world’s most prestigious universities, Yale, but look a little deeper and you had found an alumni that certainly suggests something a little more sinister. Turns out, there have been three US Presidents who have been members of the Skull & Bones organization. William Howard Taft and both President Bushes, as well as several secretaries of Defense, have boasted membership. And when multiple political leaders are groomed under the shadows of a secret society, it tends to raise red flags.

Skull & Bones originated in 1832 and was founded by William Huntington Russell (who was also a founder of the Republican Party) and Alphonso Taft. Yes, that’s right. Father of William Howard Taft, himself. They scurried along barely noticed until the 1870s when a former Yale student wrote of it in his autobiography. The rituals of the society that are known somewhat cryptic: they use Yale’s “Tap Day” to invite a select group of 15 men and women whom they suspect will be notables in later life or on campus to become members. Once invited, the inductees are taken to The Tomb, as the meeting place of the Skull & Bones is known.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Members of Skull and Bones. Wikimedia.

Skull & Bones – Yale’s Sinister Secret Society (Part 2)

The society releases the names of the new invitees every year – but what takes place within the four walls of The Tomb and on the society’s private retreat, Deer Island, is to this day shrouded in secrecy. Members are required to take on society pseudonyms, usually taken from antiquity and classical literature, and use a complex numerical code by which clocks are set to 5 minutes ahead of the real-time and special importance is placed on the number 322. The origins of this are unclear, though speculation holds that it is something to do with Greek antiquity or an original founding chapter of the organization that existed before the Yale group was created, possibly in Germany.

According to some sources, members are assigned nicknames. “Long Devil” is assigned to the tallest member; “Boaz” goes to any member who is a varsity football captain. Many of the chosen names are drawn from literature (“Hamlet,” “Uncle Remus”), from religion and from myth. The banker Lewis Lapham passed on his name, “Sancho Panza,” to the political adviser Tex McCrary. Averell Harriman was “Thor,” Henry Luce was “Baal,” McGeorge Bundy was “Odin.” George H. W. Bush was “Magog,” a name reserved for a member considered to have the most intimate experience. George W. Bush, unable to decide, was temporarily called “Temporary,” and the name was never changed.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
This undated photo provided by Christie’s shows the 1872 ballot box belonging to Yale’s secretive Skull and Bones society that is being offered for sale at Christie’s New York City auction house. The ballot box, in the form of a skull and cross bones, is being sold on Jan. 22 for an estimated $10,000 to $20,000. AP Photo/Christie’s.

This Alleged Skull & Bones Member (Bonesman) Opened up a Q&A (Part 1)

In an interesting twist and parting from its usually secretive character, one alleged Bonesman came forward to offer an opportunity for people to ask them pressing questions about the secret society. The initial post said: “By Request — I am a member of Skull and Bones. AMAA. Things I will not answer are anything that compromises my own identity. A lot of my fellow Bonesmen take the secrecy of the organization very very seriously. Lucky for you guys, I like Reddit more than I like Bones.” He then opened it up to questions, here are some interesting ones:

“Q: Does Bones offer any financial support to members during or post their tenure at Yale? A: Bonesmen get cash when they graduate. It’s not enough to make you rich; it’s more like a sizeable parting gift.

Q: How did Alexandra Robbins’s book affect your society? It seemed all a bit of a joke to me that people took it so seriously. A: Bonesmen, especially old ones, seem to love the secrecy and mystique of Skull and Bones. I think it’s pretty stupid.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Screen grab from documentary on Skull and Bones. Amazon.

This Alleged Skull & Bones Member (Bonesman) Opened up a Q&A (Part 2)

Q: Whats the point of the club and what does it do? A: Bones is really all about helping other bonesmen. There isn’t a lot more to it than that.

Q: I know with other organizations (friend was in Scroll and Key) that the rolodex is the most powerful element; however, did you find the actual society meetings (debates, rituals, etc.) to be enriching? She often spoke of them as a kind of stepping stone of sorts – much as a modern finishing school. A: The society meetings are a cool element. You are “tapped” ie: informed and given a chance to accept or reject an offer. Some people (like Joe Lieberman, to give a famous example), have declined. There aren’t (that many) hard feelings about declining a tap. As I said above, they really force you to bond with your fellow taps in very short order.

Q: Has someone ever befriended, hired, or otherwise affiliated themselves with you in hope of benefiting from your membership? A: All the time. But it’s pretty easy to tell when people start sucking up to you right after the Rumpus publishes your name.”

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
The tomb house for Scroll and Key. Wikimedia.

More Yale Secret Societies

Fans of Leigh Bardugo’s “Ninth House” may have already recognized the name Skull & Bones. But this isn’t the only Yale secret society – and you can find multiple real Yale secret societies in her paranormal thriller. The Scroll and Key Society is another secret society, founded in 1842 at Yale University. It is one of the oldest Yale secret societies and reputedly the wealthiest. The society is one of the reputed “Big Three” societies at Yale, along with Skull and Bones and Wolf’s Head. Each spring, the society admits fifteen rising seniors to participate in its activities and carry on its traditions.

Its notable alumni include CNN news anchor and columnist Fareed Zakaria and “Dateline NBC” news anchor Stone Phillips. While Skull & Bones tend to be the more infamous of the Yale societies, that doesn’t mean that Scroll and Key doesn’t have its secrets. However, these secret societies are good at keeping their secrets. So we will have to trust that the next “member” is just that. They claim to be a part of the “tomb-owning” elite at Yale. Of course, that could mean they could be a part of a few secret societies on campus.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Yale University. Yale.

A Yale Secret Society Member Spills About Traditions

“Our week usually consists of an informal dinner on Sundays where it was just our current delegation (term for the current group/cohort). Afterward we’d either have a bio or just hangout (movies, movies, TV, drinking, laser tag, mixer with another landed society). Thursday nights are very different. We dress formally and have dinner with a small group of adults who are either members or honorary members. Honorary members are usually faculty members. We also usually have an invited speaker who is prominent in his or her field.

“After dinner, the adults leave, the delegation usually does the usual college hangout things. We only wear black robes and white masks around tap (the process/time when we pick a new delegation from the junior class). We do have meetings in the secret society where things get done, these more serious meetings usually occur in a special/sacred room. I wouldn’t say we control anyone’s future but our own. We encourage each other in our endeavors and learn to rely on other people who have been members. This usually leads to interesting, useful connections when it comes to career moves.”

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
An Illuminati Symbol. Complex

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.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
A Popular Symbol of the Illuminati

The Illuminati – The Big One

What marks out the Illuminati is not so much their origins, but where they (supposedly) are today. Despite going into abeyance in the last 18th century, many considered that the Illuminati were merely dormant rather than gone. They were blamed in some royalist quarters for the French Revolution – they certainly did share goals of Robespierre and Lafayette – and generally became to go-to bogeyman for all conservative fears. The appeal of a secret society on which all the ills of the world could be blamed has not diminished over the years, and arguably the myth of the Illuminati is now more powerful than the real group ever was.

Their goals – technocratic world government by the rational, rich and smart – could not have been better constructed for the modern-day conspiracy nut. The fears of the Illuminati began to manifest themselves in the aftermath of the 1848 Revolutions in Europe, which had largely won the goals of the original secret society, and only grew as the organization itself ceased to be. Right-wing conspiracy theorists have long pointed to an unseen hand and in both the United States and in Europe, writers pointed to the Illuminati as a cabal of (often Jewish) bankers and moneymen who controlled finance and thus the world. Of course, there was very little to the rumors, which were often virulently anti-semitic in their origin and goals, but nothing fuels a conspiracy theory like its adherents being told that they’re miles wrong – and so it persists to this day.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

Contributions made by D.G. Hewitt

NYTimes – The Secret World of Opus Dei

History Channel – 7 Things You May Not Know About Freemasons

Business Insider – 14 US Presidents Who Were Members Of One Of The Most Mysterious And Powerful Secret Societies In History

The Atlantic – What It’s Like to Join the Freemasons

News Week – Shadows in The Shadows: The Rosicrucians, A Fake Secret Society, Had A Real Impact on The World

The National Archives – The Templars’ ‘Curse’ On the King of France

The Connexion – The Knights Templar – A Christian Military Force Crushed by A French King

America Magazine – Opus Dei in the United States

World History Encyclopedia – The Assassins

Encyclopedia Britannica – Gavrilo Princip

Smithsonian Magazine – The Origin of the Tale that Gavrilo Princip Was Eating a Sandwich When He Assassinated Franz Ferdinand

The Guardian – Gavrilo Princip: Hero or Villain?

ThoughtCo – The Black Hand: Serbian Terrorists Spark WWI

History Extra – Why Europe’s Great Year of Revolution In 1848 Failed

BBC – The Birthplace of The Illuminati

Spy Scape – Secrets of The Illuminati: The Top-Secret Society with Plans to Rule the World

The Week – Who Are the Illuminati – And What Do They Control?

BBC News – Just Who Exactly Is Going to The Bilderberg Meeting?

New England Historical Society – Skull and Bones, or 7 Fast Facts About Yale’s Secret Society

The Washington Post – A Look Inside Yale’s Secret Societies — And Why They May No Longer Matter

Courant – Yale’s Secret Societies Go Bump in The Tap Night

History Collection – Secret Societies and the Occult Were More Prevalent During World War I Than You Realized