Throughout history, humans have always been drawn to the allure of secrets. This intrigue intensifies when it pertains to the world’s Secret Societies. These clandestine groups, often shrouded in mystery, have played significant roles in shaping world events. In this detailed exploration, we delve deep into the histories, rituals, and objectives of these societies, offering readers an unparalleled insight into their enigmatic world.
Contrary to popular belief, the establishment of secret societies wasn’t a modern-day phenomenon. The roots of such organizations can be trace back to ancient civilizations. For instance, the Mystery Schools of Ancient Egypt were the forerunners to contemporary secret societies, offering teachings on subjects from alchemy to metaphysics.
The Knights Templar
The Knights Templar, formally known as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, were a Christian military order founded in the wake of the First Crusade around 1119 A.D. Their name originates from their initial headquarters on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Established by Hugh of Payns, a French knight, their primary aim was to ensure the safety of Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land.
With their vast estates and revolutionary banking systems, the Knights Templar accumulated immense wealth. This wealth, combined with their independent structure, made them influential and, at times, intimidating to both religious and state authorities.
Their power, however, also led to their downfall. By the early 14th century, the Templars faced criticism and envy. King Philip IV of France, deeply indebted to the Templars, sought to neutralize the order. In 1307, on Friday, October 13, many Templars, including their Grand Master Jacques de Molay, were arrest on charges of heresy, blasphemy, and various other fabricated accusations.
The order was officially dissolve in 1312 by Pope Clement V under pressure from King Philip IV. Many Templars were execute, while others were imprison or assimilate into other knightly orders.
The Freemasons, often simply referred to as Masons, trace their roots to the medieval stonemasons guilds in Europe. These guilds were associations of craftsmen who built cathedrals, castles, and other monumental structures during the Middle Ages. The term “freemason” was used to describe skilled masons who were free to travel to work on any project, differentiating them from those bound to serve specific lords or localities.
Over time, these guilds began to admit members who were not actual stonemasons, evolving from a literal craft guild to a more symbolic and philosophical one. By the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the shift towards modern speculative Masonry was in full swing, with lodges focusing more on rituals, moral codes, and allegorical teachings than actual stonecraft.
The first Grand Lodge, an overarching governing body for multiple local Masonic groups, was founded in London in 1717. This event marked the beginning of organized, modern Freemasonry, which rapidly spread throughout Europe and then to other parts of the world.
Founded in 1776, the Illuminati, or the Order of the Illuminati, had its roots in Ingolstadt, Bavaria. Established by Professor Adam Weishaupt, the order’s primary intent was to champion Enlightenment ideals, especially in regions where the Church and monarchical structures suppressed such beliefs. The core tenets of the Illuminati emphasized secularism, rationalism, and the separation of church from state.
Rapidly accruing members from various sectors – including intellectuals, liberals, and even some members of the clergy – the Illuminati expanded its reach, creating clandestine cells within existing Freemason lodges. This strategy allowed them to permeate deeper into the socio-political fabric of European societies.
However, the secretive nature of the Illuminati, combined with their progressive ideologies, inevitably drew suspicion and opposition from conservative factions, particularly the Catholic Church and some governments. By 1785, under pressure from the ruling class, the Bavarian government outlawed the group, effectively forcing it into obscurity.
Skull and Bones
Established in 1832, Skull and Bones stands as one of Yale University’s oldest and most enigmatic secret societies. Founded by William Huntington Russell and Alphonso Taft. It is based within the confines of the Ivy League institution, residing in the notorious “Tomb,” a windowless, gothic building on Yale’s campus in New Haven, Connecticut.
Each year, only 15 Yale juniors are tapped for membership, and the selection process remains a tightly guarded secret. Prospective members are usually choose base on a combination of characteristics, including lineage, influence, and potential for future leadership. Once inducted, these members, known as “Bonesmen,” commit to a lifelong association with the society.
The roster of past members reads like a who’s who of American elite. Notable Bonesmen include U.S. Presidents William Howard Taft and George H.W. Bush, along with his son George W. Bush, and numerous other influential figures spanning diverse fields from politics to media.
The Bilderberg Group
Founded in 1954, the Bilderberg Group emerged as an international forum for informal discussions aimed at fostering dialogue between Europe and North America. The group takes its name from the Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, Netherlands, where the first meeting was place. Unlike many other organizations, Bilderberg doesn’t have a fixed agenda. Instead, it serves as a confidential environment for influential figures from various sectors – including politics, finance, academia, and media – to discuss pressing global issues.
While the Bilderberg Group doesn’t have an official membership per se. It boasts a steering committee responsible for organizing the annual conferences and setting broad topics for discussion. Each year, approximately 130-140 participants are invites to attend the meetings. These attendees typically include heads of state, financial experts, business magnates, renowned academics, and prominent journalists.
A distinct feature of Bilderberg meetings is the Chatham House Rule: participants are free to use the information discussed but cannot reveal the identity or affiliation of the speaker. This encourages open and frank dialogue without fear of external repercussions.