Who controls the British Crown?
Who keeps the metric system down?
We do, we do.
Who keeps Atlantis off the maps?
Who keeps the Martians under wraps?
We do, we do.
Who holds back the electric car?
Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star?
We do, we do.
Who robs cave fish of their sight?
Who rigs every Oscar night?
We do, we do!
-The Stonecutters Theme-
Very few topics get the public’s imagination sizzling more than the publicity of a Secret Society. When historical data provokes yawning, when the ineptness of politicians induces heartburn, and when civic responsibility incites migraines why not a nice valium of Secret Society conspiracy to make life more bearable?
There are easier targets to blame for society’s ailments, such as Jews, immortal bankers, and homosexuals—or maybe gay, Jewish bank-tellers attempting to rule the world by offering mind-controlling Ipods with every new checking account. Yet shadowy, Caucasian males in lavish frocks, invoking Baphomet or the gods of business networking, and pulling the strings of civilization is just a more digestible explanation on who keeps back the electric car or who made Steve Guttenberg a star.
But the Kool-Aid-spilling truth is that most of the notorious Secret Societies were either rank failures or never existed at all. So please allow me to introduce to your average Facebook conspiracy addict something called reality:
The Illuminati: The boogeyman of all Secret Societies was founded in Bavaria in 1776, by a Jesuit-trained professor named Adam Weishaupt. The Illuminati believed in promoting atheism, science and egalitarianism through the paradoxical use of religious belief, occultism, and hierarchy. One of its major strategies was infiltrating Freemason lodges in order to convert members to their brand of clandestine brotherhood.
The Illuminati’s incestuous and contradictory tactics were a complete failure. Less than a decade after its formation, most of Bavaria and much of Western civilization knew about its monkeyshines. The only person who ever publicly supported the Illuminati was, oddly enough, Thomas Jefferson. The Bavarian government outlawed all Secret Societies in 1784, in large part because of the pathetic reputation of the Illuminati. It quickly dissolved into nonexistence, although to this day its legend continues to swell the imagination of Conspiracy Theorists and Christian Fundamentalists, as well as the bank accounts of bad novelists.
The Rosicrucians: In 1614, a mysterious pamphlet called the Famma Fratenitas made its rounds across Germany. It announced the coming of a Secret Society called the Brothers of the Rose Cross. Claiming esoteric lineage through the Cathars and all the way back to the ancient Gnostics, the Rosicrucians promised to usher a new age of liberty, enlightenment, and perhaps Steve Guttenberg. Hopefully, it would also explain why a Secret Society would be publicly heralded in the first place.
The pamphlet and subsequent Rosicrucian writings created a furor among a population starved for religious and economic freedom. Some scholars have proposed the Rosicrucian literature sparked The Thirty Years’ War in 1618.
Unfortunately, the Rosicrucians forgot to show up to their own party. It seems the Famma Fraternitas was what is known as a ‘pious hoax’ or ‘true lie’. Its mere revolutionary message changed the course of human history, especially when various counterculture groups claiming to be Rosicrucians later emerged and were involved in the more turbulent aspects of the Enlightenment era.
The rumors are legion concerning the Brothers of the Rose Cross, including the ‘coincidence’ that Martin Luther used a rose and a cross as his personal emblem. It is very doubtful the primordial Rosicrucians ever existed, likely invented in the imagination of some idealistic but bored authors envisioning an era of electric carriages. That hasn’t stopped many New Agers in modern times from appropriating the name in order to create bogus ancestries to give weight to their wispy organizations.
The Thule Society: In the field of Nazi Occult studies, nothing brings more mental erections to Conspiracy Theorists or seals more Hollywood movie deals than the Thule Society. It was established around 1916 by Rudolf Sebottendorf. This renowned occultist championed a pagan revival, a pure Germanic race, and the rejection of a Jewish-Masonic cabal attempting to control Europe.
The Thule Society was widely successful in German society, drawing a wide cast of respected and influential members. It promoted all types of magic, from unleashing the power of Teutonic runes to the search of enchanted artifacts in fabled lands like Hyperborea (and certainly wearing lavish frocks—it’s important to look regal during business network meetings and plots to destroy rival Secret Societies, even if they doesn’t exist).
The one, small problem the Thule Society had was that Adolf Hitler couldn’t be bothered with it. Hitler never was a member, more than likely cementing his perverse mind after joining the German Worker’s Party (who bragged the same paranoia about Jews and Secret Societies as the Thule Society, sans the Harry Potter flair). Hitler actually had little patience for the Occult, unless it could be used to manipulate some superstitious faction, like atheists.
By 1923 the Thule Society was no more, several of its high ranking members murdered by Bavarian Soviets over some mild disagreements. Sebottendorf himself escaped to Turkey, returning in 1933 to write a book called Before Hitler Came, in which he took credit for Hitler’s rise. Hitler must have not agreed with Sebottendorf, since he had him arrested after the books’ publication. The founder of the defunct Thule Society escaped and materialized again in Turkey (let’s assume it was magic, to give Nazi Occult aficionados something to post on their Facebook status).
In 1945, Sebottendorf drowned in the Bosphorus River in Istanbul. Many assume it was suicide because of a mystic vision that informed him that neither his nor the descendants of Adam Weishaupt would earn a single penny from the commercial behemoths that the Thule Society and Illuminati would become.
The Priory of Sion: Made famous by Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, this Secret Society did and didn’t exist. It was manufactured in 1956 by a Right-Wing, Anti-Semite named Pierre Plantard. It membership consisted of Plantard and a handful of artist friends (something akin to our contemporary version of a group of losers in one of their mother’s basements, sharing a spliff and solving the world’s problems before a marathon session of World of Warcraft).
The Priory of Sion was a fabrication similar to the Rosicrucians, except it was far from a ‘pious hoax’. Plantard created a mythical royal pedigree, with him as the latest grandmaster with rightful claims to the French throne. His lineage began with the Knights Templar, needled through the Merovingian Dynasty, and of course lassoed famous figures like Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaac Newtwon, and Jean Cocteau. Plantard never made any mention of a Jesus-Mary Magdalene bloodline; but that didn’t stop inept scholars from drawing their own crackbrained conclusions.
In reality, Plantard’s only real Holy Grail was gaming himself into some position of authority or fame in France, maybe dipping into the chalices of future Dan Brown female readers. Although the Priory of Sion has been repeatedly debunked from all sides, including the mystic visions of Rudolf Sebottendorf, many presently across the globe still believe its authenticity.
None of these facts will change the perception of individuals desperate for simple answers in a complicated world. Just as humans need semi-imaginary heroes like King Arthur or Al Gore, they also need semi-imaginary villains. Secret Societies provide both heroes and villains that the imagination just can’t stand them being there for too long; they are also politically correct ways to project our own shadows upon a blank canvass of powerlessness.
There is far more documentation on the mentioned Secret Societies, and many more not included (some that are indeed real and dangerous). Unfortunately, no more information could be revealed, as the author was recently given a mind-control Ipod by a meticulously-dressed Steve Guttenberg during a bank visit.
That is a true lie.
(Research from this article was taken from Gary Lachaman’s Politics and the Occult and Phil Gardiner’s Secret Societies)