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The Most Powerful Elite, Secret Societies to Ever Exist

Secret Societies

There are certain groups in this world that are so exclusive that only a privileged few even know what goes on behind closed doors. Some people believe that the world is controlled by elite groups and that the rest of us are just puppets in their master plan. As the conspiracy theorists surmise, members are positioned in key places and have the power to steer the course of history by pulling strings in finance and politics. Whether or not you believe this exclusive groups wield some kind of power, you cannot deny that there were, and are, such secret societies whose actions are unknown to the public. What are they up to? Click here to discover what you didn’t know about some of the most secretive groups, organizations and fraternities on the planet.

1. Thule Society

One of the more frighting secret societies is the Thule society. It was founded in Germany after World War I and later lent its support to the rise of the German Workers’ Party, which later became the Nazi party under Adolf Hitler. Originally a mystical occultist group, it served as the center of many conspiracy theories.

secret societies

Conspiracy theorists believed that this society was responsible for the Nazi’s source of power, and that it used magic spells to create a Nazi UFO powered by an “energy form” called Vril. With this they say that the Nazis conquered the world and helped establish the Third Reich.

2. Bilderberg Club

Established by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in 1954, the Bilderberg Group set out to strengthen North American and European ties. It is, in effect, an annual meeting of European and North American elite, and it counts among its participants some extremely powerful men.

secret societies

The organization has been criticized for being secret and conspiratorial, as well as blamed for secretly governing the world with the purpose of benefiting no one but its own members’ interests. Furthermore, it is surmised that it was founded by a Nazi and continues to serve Nazi interests to this day. To this day, the annual Bilderberg meetings raise a lot of questions among many people and media outlets.

3. Illuminati

Out of all the secret societies, the Illuminati is probably the most famous. There were endless speculations and rumors about this ancient order founded in Bavaria, Germany in 1776. Its goal was promote enlightenment values of rationality, the state’s abuse of power, and religious control of public life. Over the years, a number of conspiracy theories have developed claiming that the Illuminati secretly control the world.

secret societies

Some believe that the Illuminati are still active to this day, and that they are responsible for key historical events. Conspiracy theorists believe that, among other things, they are responsible for the French Revolution and the John F. Kennedy assassination. Some also believe that many of the most powerful men and women in politics and in Hollywood are members and take part in the Illuminati effort to control the world.

4. The Free Masons

Originally a fraternity of stone masons, this order is famous for claims that they have immense influence and power. Some even speculate that they control the world. There are no clear cut signs, but there a few red flags which fuel conspiracy theorists to make that claim.

Secret Society

First, their symbol is portrayed on the dollar bill. Second, members swear to never truthfully testify against one another as a means to protect the order’s secrets. Furthermore, they are believed to have played a great part in space exploration and to have made secret efforts to control international finance and relations.

5. Knights Templar

Originally, the Knights Templar order started at the outset of the 12th century, when nine knights swore to dedicate their lives to protect pilgrims making their way through the Holy Land. More and more people took the oath and joined the order, until it became famous and extremely powerful.

secret societies

There are theories that these nights were in possession of the Holy Grail, as well as the blood of Jesus. There was never any evidence to substantiate these claims, however. The end of this order was bloody and violent— the members were tortured and then executed. No happy endings in the middle ages.

6. Priory of Sion

It is still uncertain whether or not this French order, first heard of in 1956 by a man named Pierre Plantard, actually ever existed. As the story goes, the Priory of Sion was an elaborate hoax created by Plantard, who claimed at the time that this order went back almost a 1,000 years.

secret societies

He and his accomplices planted evidence around France to accredit this order, which laid the grounds for Plantard’s subsequent claim that he was the true “Great Monarch” prophesied by Nostradamus. Some conspiracy theorists believe that this order indeed existed as Plantard claimed and that it still does. While it was mentioned in popular culture settings such as in the novel The Da Vinci Code and the movie Bloodline, it is generally thought to be the fictional work of one Frenchman.

7. Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

This order was established in Great Britain in 1887 focuses on matters of the occult, paranormal activities, and metaphysics. Using the teachings of the mystical Hermetic Qabalah, the order claims to have a secret system of wisdom that maximizes one’s spiritual and magical abilities and only members get to learn this system.

Secret Societies

The order originally consisted of three sub orders, the highest of which was administered by “Secret Chiefs,” which are basically transcendent cosmic authorities. Or gods, if you will. Members also master things such as Astrology, Geomancy, which is the spiritual interpretation of items thrown on the ground, and Tarot Card divination.

8. Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross

This secret society was founded in Germany, during the 1750s by Hermann Fichtuld, a German alchemist and Freemason. Indeed, if anyone wanted to join he had to be a Master Mason and be willing to immerse himself in alchemy, the medieval form of chemistry. The group was heavily involved in the study of the occult and magic. One of their main goals was to uncover the “Philospher’s Stone.”

secret societies

The Philospher’s Stone was a mythical substance that medieval scientists believed could turn cheap metal into gold or silver. Not much is known about this mysterious group and it faded away by the turn of the 19th century.

9. Opus Dei

This religious Catholic order was established in Spain in 1928 by a priest named Josemaria Escriva. The main belief of this group is that each and every person is holy and that life as we know it is a path to sanctity. Its religious practices have been the center of controversies, since they are regarded as incredibly strict.

secret societies

In the novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, Opus Dei was portrayed as a secret society at war with the Priory of Sion and anyone who threatened its efforts to uncover the truth about the real bloodline of Jesus. This order is indeed very secretive and does not allow its members to identify themselves unless given direct authorization from their superior.

10. The Hashashin

This legendary group of lethal assassins consisted of Shia Muslims who had a shared goal to create a Shia state. Since they were few, they had to hone their skills and perform wise and tactical assassination. As the legend goes, if you were alive in the 13th century and woke up with a Hashashin dagger in your bed, that meant you wouldn’t live much longer.

secret societies

The Mongols eventually ended the group once and for all. But before, at a certain point, members were hired as killers by England’s King Richard the Lionheart. There are some suggestions that this group of killers used to get high, and that the name Hashashin comes from the term Hashish, which means marijuana.

11. The Black Hand

The Black Hand society was formed in Serbia, circa 1912. Its purpose was to get Serbia to separate for good from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and establish a united Slavic state. Its methods of achieving these subversive goals were extreme.

Secret Societies

To reach its goals, The Black Hand started to spread anti-Austrian propaganda and train its member to perform sabotage and even assassinations. The scheme was basically to divide and conquer by turning Serbia and Austria against one another and then, from the wreckage, emerge as a united Slavic nation.

12. Oro Templi Orientis

This bizarre order, which originated in Germany around the end of the 19th century, has been known to draw on the mystical and the occult to perform extremely odd initiation ceremonies, which are said to involve sex and a bit of magic.

Secret Societies

The members of the order follow The Book of the Law of the Gnostic Catholic Church. This book is considered highly complex and philosophical, preaching about man’s True Will, and providing the order with one of its main tenants: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”

13. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)

This peculiar order was purportedly formed by Prince Regent of the United Kingdom, George IV, as a rival club to the Free Masons. Its tenets are friendship, love, and truth. It also has a spooky initiation ceremony: in order to convey one of the values of the order— mortality— the secret initiation ceremony involves the use of real human skeletons.

secret societies

It is said that it is common for IOOF chapters to have some part of a human skeleton lying in one of its closets or drawers. This order still exists to this very day, with 600,000 active members and 12,000 lodges. It must have been one hell of an order because British Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Stanley Baldwin were both members.


14. Skull and Bones

If you want to receive an invitation to join this secret society you have to be a prominent Yale junior. Since 1832, every member of the order has been handpicked by the organization according to his or her level of prominence.

secret societies

Bonesmen, as the members are called, form part of a “Power Elite,” meaning that they possess some achievement or talent that sets them apart from the rest of the herd. It could be incredible grades, athleticism, leadership, or any form of incredible talent. Skull and Bones is active to this day, and has become a coveted networking society. It also owns a lot of real estate, including Deer Island, which is used for gatherings.

15. The Molly Maguires

This secret society arrived to the U.S. from Ireland and was active in the 1820s. They carried out violent acts such as arson and murder, and they’d do it cleverly disguised as women, hence the order’s name.

When 24 employees of a Pennsylvania coal mine were found murdered, a special operation was launched to dismantle The Maguires. The Pinkerton Detective Agency planted a mole amid the ranks of the Irish order and used the info to eventually tear it down.

16. Sons of Liberty

The Sons of Liberty was a subversive separatist group founded in 1765, preceding the American Revolution. This group conspired to fight the harsh financial decrees of the British and protect the interests of the colonies. The term “Sons of Liberty” eventually was applied to anyone who resisted British actions in colonial America.

Wikimedia Commons

Meetings were organized anonymously and included summons to the Liberty Tree, an elm tree in Boston famous for being the rally point for American revolutionists. The Sons of Liberty would meet there in order to discuss further moves and tactics aimed mostly at alleviating taxes and undesirable British decrees.

17. The Improved Order of Red Men

The story behind this order is quite astonishing. In 1773, members of different groups of the Sons of Liberty, in an effort to protest the English tax impositions on tea, dressed as Indians, snuck into the Boston harbor, and threw 342 chests of English tea overboard. Oh, bloody hell.

secret societies

Decades later, in 1813, members of these groups reunited to form this order. A feigned Indian language was employed to describe the membership prerequisites, and back in those times, it was, ironically, reserved only for white men.

18. Loyal Order of Moose

This order was established in 1888 in Louisville, Kentucky as men’s social club with philanthropist goals. It started out with quite a racial bias, though, having stipulated membership upon one being a white man of high standing community who speaks English and never violated the law. Furthermore, there were racist incidents over the years. For example, one chapter which had a liquor license refused to serve African Americans.

secret societies

It was founded by a bishop named Dr. Henry Wilson and boasted some pretty famous members, including presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. Despite its racist past, it has been more recently engaged in many philanthropic efforts, such as in creating the Mooseheart Child City & School, a boarding school in Chicago that helps children in need.

19. Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm

Established in 1889 in Hamilton, NY, this unique order started out when a group of American student Masons wanted to keep in touch after they completed their degree. The group developed a very playful dynamic and frequently pulled pranks on one another. The group quickly gained new members.

secret societies

In 1890, the order adopted the name The Mystic Order of the Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm after a story which represented the type of fun rituals they wanted to perform in the group. Plus, obviously, it was short and quippy. The group is sometimes referred to as The Grotto and members maintain a tradition of wearing a black fez with a red tassel.

20. Knights of the Golden Eagle

Founded in Baltimore, Md., circa 1872, and based on the history of the Crusades, this order included a few degrees of members: the first, called the Pilgrim, preached devotion to both God and Man; the second degree exemplified the medieval knight and stressed values such as charity, courtesy, hospitality, valor, and fidelity.

secret societies

Having said that, membership was permitted only to Christian, white males who had no disability. The order was thought to have disappeared by the 1970s because Alvin J. Schmidt, a scholar, couldn’t find any address for the group.

21. Ancient Order of Druids

This English order was created in 1781 by Henry Hurle and was founded upon the heritage of the druids, who were priests of Celtic Paganism during the Iron Age. It was never a religious group in any capacity, but rather a movement focused on friendship and altruism.

Secret Societies

According to some sources, this ancient order was created by a group of friends who were merchants and artisans. They wanted the authority to keep undesired people outside of their cool little circle, so they decided to be a secret society, and since they dug the druids, they named themselves after them. It is still active to this day, offering members an opportunity to connect with the druid view of values and spirituality.

22. Modern Woodmen of America

The Modern Woodmen of America is one of the largest fraternal organizations in the US, with an impressive base of 750,000 members. It is estimated that the total assets of this order has reached a whopping $15.4 billion.

Secret Societies

The original idea purpose of the group, when it was founded on January 5, 1883, in Lyons, Iowa, was to supply financial insurance to the families of members whose breadwinners died unexpectedly. While it doesn’t have any strange ceremonies or connections to the occult, it is quite impressive. It provides benefits such as life insurance, community service opportunities, and scholarships to its members.

23. The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Shriners)

When it comes to secret societies, this order is definitely one of the most lighthearted. It was created by Mason members who wanted to create a fraternity that stressed fun, fellowship, brotherly love, and truth. As the story goes, it all started when actor William J. Florence was touring France and saw a musical comedy at an Arabian diplomat’s party.

secret societies

He took note of everything that occurred there and then shared it with Walter M. Fleming, one of the founding fathers of the order. Fleming quite took to it and began to work on a requirements for his new order, including symbols, costumes, rituals, and of course, the name.

24. Ancient Foresters Society

This British order, created in 1834 and active today mostly in England and the U.S, boasts an impressive 75,000 members. It doesn’t occupy itself with the occult or with alchemy efforts to discover the much prized philosopher stone, but rather it dedicates itself to something even more essential.

secret societies

Yup, apparently, being part of a this society comes with monetary benefits. Among other things, this group offers its members savings policies and insurance policies. What is interesting is that this organization initially only provided financial support to its members, who were professional foresters, but gradually morphed into a large insurance company operating in the US, the UK, and Australia.

25. Ancient Order of Hibernians

Formed in 1836, this exclusive organization is all about being Irish and Catholic. If you’re not, then you’re definitely not getting in. It was founded by Irish immigrants in the United States with the purpose of protecting Catholic Churches.

Secret Societies

Amid anti-Irish prejudice, the order sought to help Irish immigrants facing discrimination and workforce exploitation. From 1843 until 1993, they were the organizers of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Since the 1980s, the group has transformed into more of a philanthropic group.

26. Knights of Pythias

The Knights of Pythias was founded in Washington, D.C., on February 19, 1864. When a man was inducted into this order, he would be honored with a ceremonial sword. On the sword could be found the letters FCB which stand for the rallying cry of the members: “Friendship, Charity, Benevolence.”

secret societies

Knight of Pythias was the first order to earn recognition by the US Congress. It originally did not allow disabled individuals to join but changed the rules in 1879. In the 1920s, they had almost one million members. Famous “Knights” included Jazz legend Louis Armstrong and presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Warren G. Harding and William McKinley.

27. Knights of Columbus

In 1882, the Knight of Columbus was established by Father Michael J. McGivney in Connecticut because, at the time it was founded, Catholics were forbidden to join the majority of the popular fraternal organizations either because of the Catholic Church or due to anti-Catholic sentiment.

secret societies

The Knights of Columbus exists to this very day. It engages in many philanthropic endeavors and consists of more than 1.7 million members. However, it is not open to all. To this day, members have to be Catholic males who are at least 18 years old.

28. National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry

This order started when President Andrew Johnson sent a man named Oliver Kelley to collect data on Southern agricultural conditions. It was founded in 1867 and today is one of the oldest agricultural groups in the US.

Secret Societies

At points in its existence, Grange members have carried out a number secret rituals and ceremonies. Their meetings are kept secret and they employ a series of passwords. They also reportedly have adopted traditions from various mythologies, primarily Roman and Greek. Their main public activities, nowadays, is advocating for farmers and rural communities.

29. The P.E.O Sisterhood

Now for a little break from the boys. Give a shout out to the P.E.O Sisterhood (Philanthropic Educational Organization). P.E.O has 230,000 members but entry into the group is by invitation only. Each meeting opens with a prayer, though members do not need to be religious. To date, the group has given out over $304 million in educational awards and scholarships to women around the world.

PEO International/Facebook

It was founded by in 1869 by a group of seven women from the Methodist Church. It’s main focus was women’s rights and philanthropy, and currently, the international group helps support female scholars worldwide.

30. Ku Klux Klan

Founded in 1865, the notorious racist order has used horrific measured to carry out its goals of white domination. They are violently racist, anti-Semitic and very anti-immigration. It has been suggested that its famous regalia and insignia was partly inspired by the 1915 movie The Birth of a Nation.

secret societies

The famous white robes the members wear are meant to maintain anonymity while performing violent acts. The KKK used to carry out murders and extreme acts of violence against African Americans and Jews. It is still widely active today, voicing racist and xenophobic views around the world.

Sources: List25, EliteDaily, SmithsonianMag, FreeMasonry, Grotto

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