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Top 10 Secret Societies

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A secret society, as the name suggests, is meant to be something the public knows nothing, or little, about. It wouldn’t be a secret otherwise! However, the existence of these societies is not a secret from the public, only their doings, sometimes their mission and mostly their inner rules and pursuits. Very occasionally we as ‘normal people’ get a glimpse of what such a secret society does. Usually this is the case when the society in question takes a measure against society, and usually these confrontations are not too pleasant.

But that aside, secret societies are timeless, and come in all shapes and sizes. Nowadays it is easy to maintain an international society, after all, the Internet provides access to everything and everyone all over the world. However, limited communication via pen and parchment did not prevent societies from spreading worldwide in the past. Below we list ten great societies that our history has known (and some have been around for centuries, and still are!)

10. Ordo Templi Orientis

ordo templi orientis

We start with a ‘young one’. The Ordo Templi Orientis is a new-age esoteric, and focuses on finding your own identity. Members perform ritual and other occult acts to rise in the ranks of the Ordo. A well-known Ordo member was Aleister Crowly, who wrote the manifesto Mysteria Mystica Maxima for the Ordo Tempi. After his death, however, the Ordo Tempi declined in popularity.

They still exist, but to a small extent, mainly in the United States and England. They have also become more and more open in their practices, although those practices are not decreasing in remarkableness! For example, the Ordo Tempi have a strange fascination with sexuality and the ‘magic of masturbation’. What could possibly be magical about such an act?

9. The Bilderberg Group

bilderberg group

Let’s take a broad interpretation of ‘society’, because the Bilderberg group is in principle not really a society, but a group of like-minded people. They are no less secretive for that, and so they deserve a spot on this list. It is a group of people that meets every year (you must have an invitation!). Only world leaders, media moguls and multinational SEOs get such an invitation.

This group has been meeting since 1954 (first meeting was at the Dutch Bilderberg hotel in Oosterbeek, hence the name), and their official agenda is to discuss the integration of different cultures around the world. That, at any rate, is what they claim to do. However, nobody knows what is actually being discussed, and media is not allowed, nor do the invitees speak about their findings after the meetings!

It’s hard not to form suspicious feelings about this. The most popular theory (though by no means the only one) is that these gatherings are striving for world dominance by one government. But no one knows the truth! Except, of course,… the invitees!

8. Hashshashin

Hashshashin

Health! We go back in time, about seven centuries back, at least. Hashshashin literally means assassin and its members lived in the Middle Ages. They were Muslims, but a group that had split off from the others because they didn’t agree with the way they ran their affairs.

These Shia Muslims thought it would be a good idea to establish their own utopian state. However, their numbers were small, so they needed all kinds of military tactics to keep things in check and keep their enemies out of their utopia. They therefore did not shy away from sabotage, espionage, and especially political assassination attempts. But don’t judge them too harshly, because the members of the Hashshashin were known for the minimal civilian casualties they managed to inflict!

Unfortunately, they were brutally wiped out by the Mongols, who conquered almost all of Europe around that time, led by Genghis and grandson Kublai Kahn. Unfortunately, their library, containing precious manuscripts about their actions, was completely destroyed. However, there is a rumor that members used drugs during their attacks. After all, hashshashin could mean ‘hashshash-in’ or, hashish-taker. However, the original meaning, ‘murderer’ is really the more credible interpretation for most historians!

7. The Black Hand

black hand

Pietje Bel had a youth gang with this name, but The Black Hand, translated ‘The Black Hand’, was a society of a slightly different order. It consisted of anti-imperialists and revolutionaries in Serbia, and dates back to 1912. The idea: a united Slavic people. Their goal: to split the Austria-Hungary monarchy. The plan: to instigate a war between Serbia and Austria so that the areas where Slavic peoples lived could be reclaimed.

Perhaps the group would have fallen into oblivion, had they not played a decisive role in the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the trigger for, yes, the First World War. However, this war didn’t quite bring the members what they wanted, and instead ultimately resulted, through World War II, in Russian rule for over 30 years!

6. The Knights of the Golden Circle

Knights of the Golden Circle

A century before the Black Hand and on the other side of the World, the Knights of the Golden Circle were active. This group of men were active during the American Civil War. This society, however, was not limited to mysterious gatherings and rituals. They formed an outright guerrilla army with which they, sometimes successfully, made life miserable for the enemy. Unfortunately, we don’t know anything about their internal rituals, but because they have a wonderful name, they deserve to be included in this list!

5.Thule-Gesellschaft

Thule-Gesellschaft

Many societies have been accused of malicious intent, but this one is one of the few that has evidence that this was actually the case. Its origins lie in Germany, just after the First World War. They soon developed a focus on the Aryan race, starting with discriminatory ideas against Jews and other “less fortunate.” In 1919 they started a political branch called the German Workers’ Party. Rumor has it that Adolf Hitler was a member of this society. At least he was a member of the party! In fact, he gradually took over the party…

4. Sons of Liberty

Sons of Liberty

The Sons of Liberty, not so much one central society, as an agglomeration of smaller groups operating more or less under the same heading. All this just before the American Revolutionary War (War for Independence from England, 1775–1783). They met around an elm, and this elm is now known as the liberty tree. There they discussed their plans to promote resistance (against English domination). They are particularly known for their saying “no taxation without representation” (but of course it sounds much nicer in English). Another world-famous act of the Boston’s Sons was the Boston Tea Party, where they disguised as Native Americans tossed a whole load of tea into the harbor. Now the English can have a lot,

3. Skulls and Bones

Skulls and Bones

Translated, this is the ‘skulls and bones’ society, and both Presidents Bush (Senior and Junior) are members of it, as is John Kerry! It is a university student organization (exactly, one of those infamous student clubs). New members are sought every year and the only requirement to participate is that you are a campus leader. In other words, only top athletes, student council members, and other major club presidents are eligible. Very open, so, and yet a little limited…

To the disappointment of conspiracy buffs, few occult rituals appear to be performed at the club’s weekly meetings. In any case, nothing like this comes out! As an initiation, members are required to submit their sex history to the entire club, and are given a nickname based on it. Thus Bush Senior would be called ‘Magog’. Well, with such a nickname, this society deserves a nice third place.

2. Illuminati

Illuminati

They are the subject of a very successful book, and an even more successful film adaptation, but what Dan Brown wrote is not all fiction. The actual organization comes from Germany, from 1700, and consisted of a group of enlightened free-thinkers. The media, however, turned their backs on them and soon they were seen in the eyes of the general public as dissidents and rioters seeking to sabotage the government. Shortly after this, the group broke up, but thanks to their constant attention in popular media, they are far from being forgotten.

Some conspiracy theorists believe that the Illuminati has not disappeared, but merely gone into hiding. As a real secret organization, that is of course possible. After all, they are only really a good secret if we don’t know about them. The Bush family, Obama, Churchhill, all would have been members of it! However, as long as they are a truly secret organization, we will never know for sure. Because they are so popular in the media, and because everyone knows them, this officially non-existent society gets a well-deserved second place here.

1. The Freemasons

Freemasonry

Perhaps not as secretive as it used to be, this is one of the oldest, widespread and once secretive organizations in the world. It is estimated that about 5 million people are members of the Freemasons, today. They started small, of course, in 1717, although it is suspected that something was going on much earlier. Some historians believe they can find documents as far back as 1300!

The central idea was the need for moral sincerity, agogia and charitable work. However, conspiracy theorists suspect that such a good thing is never possible, and that is why there are rumors that the Freemasons participate in all kinds of occult rituals. One of the few rituals that has been confirmed, however, is that you should not join until another Freemason recommends you. Art, with 5 million members…

They deserve the top spot because of their size, and because they have had an aura of mystery about them for so long.

As the Illuminati illustrates, it is difficult to say which secret societies exist in the world, after all, the ‘good’ secret societies are unknown to us. However, the less ‘secret’ secret societies, those that exist openly and are only secret with their practices, those societies have been reviewed here. That is, a very small sampling of a huge number. In any case, as far as societies are concerned, secret or not, occult or not, past or present, there is something to suit everyone’s taste. And if not… then you create your own society, right?

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