Here is Express.co.uk’s list of the top five most famous and powerful secret societies who carry out bizarre rituals and conduct their business behind closed doors.
1. Skulls and Bones
Founders: Frederick Ellsworth Mather, Phineas Timothy Miller, William Huntington Russell, Alphonso Taft and George Ingersoll Wood
Where? Yale University in a building called the ‘Tomb’.
Why? The secret society was formed after a dispute between several debating societies at Yale.
Famous alleged members: John Kerry, George Bush, and William Taft
Feared because: Members, known as Bonesmen, use their bonds of power and influence to make their way up through the rank’s of America’s elite.
Most famous conspiracy theories: The group has been blamed for everything from the nuclear bomb to the Kennedy assassination.
Founders: Adam Weishaupt
Why? To create secular societies in Europe.
Famous alleged members: Barack Obama, Jay Z, Madonna, and Beyonce
Feared because: Rumours say the entertainment and music industry have been infiltrated by Illuminati members who are using the media to brainwash the masses.
Most famous conspiracy theories: The group was broken up by the German authorities after the French Revolution, but modern conspiracy theorists assert the group survived and now operates as a sinister shadow government, directing world industry and politics as it sees fit.
3. The Freemasons
Founders: Four English Lodges
Why? To teach self-knowledge through participation in a progression of ceremonies.
Famous alleged members: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, Mozart, Harry Houdini
Feared because: The all-male group has six million members across the world which are all powerful members of society.
Most famous conspiracy theories: The Freemasons designed the Pyramids, plotted the French Revolution and are keeping the flame alive for the Knights Templar.
4. Bohemian Grove
Founders: Henry Edwards
Where? Bohemian Avenue, Monte Rio, California
Why? A meeting of the rich and powerful to escape “frontier culture” – or uncivilised interests of common men.
Famous alleged members: Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon
Feared because: The attendees claim they are there for social reasons, but many believe use the meetings for more sinister reasons.
Most famous conspiracy theory: That planning for the Manhattan Project – the world’s first nuclear bomb took place there – which turned out to be true
5. Bilderberg Group
Founders: The Dutch royal family
Where? The Netherlands
Why? To bring together Northern American and European leaders to promote relations between the US and Europe and cooperate on political, economic and defence issues.
Famous alleged members: Angela Merkel, Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Tony Blair, David Cameron and Margaret Thatcher
Feared because: Things discussed at the group’s annual meetings are not made public and journalists who have tried to interview participants have been arrested.
Most famous conspiracy theories: The group is run by the Nazis, it is trying to impose one world government and it runs the US Republican party.
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