Secret societies. You know, those blanket forts you built as a child before sticking your tongue out at anyone that wasn’t allowed? Where you made up a secret handshake and stupid rules and vowed to only be loyal to each other forever and ever, until it was time to go home?
Well, these are the adult versions of those.
So, strap in, folks! This one’s gonna be a doozy.
Ever read The Da Vinci Code? Well, if you have, then you’d be dead wrong about your “knowledge” of this society. The book pitted the Priory of Sion (another organization we will address below) against Opus Dei to bring to light a sinister plan. However controversial for their strict religious practices, Opus Dei provides no secret threat to society. Fun fact: their only main belief is that everyone is called to holiness, and several investigations by the Catholic Church itself have debunked the idea that they are nefarious and up to no good.
No further investigations have been done as to their use of secret handshakes.
The Priory of Sion
Again, if you have read The Da Vinci Code and are ready to get your priory on, then the fun fact of the day is that this group is completely fictitious. It was a hoax perpetrated in 1956 by a lonely Frenchman named Pierre Plantard. Oh, and the book entitled The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail is fake, too. Because the group doesn’t exist. Because we have letters between Plantard and his friends, de Cherisey and de Sède. Those letters address the fun April Fool’s Day joke that Plantard was constructing, I assume, because he was lonely and devoid of entertainment.
The Bilderberg Group
While this group doesn’t have a fun membership card you can stick in your wallet, it is an actual meeting of very influential people that is held every year in secrecy. The topics are kept secret, the location is kept secret, and their handshake is kept secret, and the above picture is where the first official meeting took place. Fun fact? The justification its the secrecy is the idea that people can have the comfort to speak freely without having to consider how their every word might be interpreted by the mass media.
Friggin’ media. Spawning secret societies and crap.
I know, I know. I can hear the groans and the equally powerful squeals of glee. Just, here me out. This name is given to many groups, both real and fictitious. The actual group refers to the Bavarian Illuminati (their founder, Adam Weishaupt, is pictured above) and their goals were to oppose superstition (irony!), obscurity within the highest levels of government, abuses of state power, and the mindless religious influence over public life. Essentially, they wanted total transparency while not believing in a higher power. Their message has been skewed today to mean that this majestic group of highly-privileged individuals want to take over the world.
I bet they, too, have a secret handshake.
Ordo Templis Orientis
Originally based around Freemasonry, it shifted movements around a religious order called Thelema, which is based around a single law: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, love is the law, love under the will.”
Aleister Crowley (one of their more famous inductees) created a Mass, called Gnostic Mass, for this religious founding, and in their services there is a virgin priestess that eventually does a naked ritual.
Sounds like my kind of party.
This is a group that has confirmed their handshakes! Finally! We have confirmed handshakes!
Anyway, Freemasonry has two recognized groups: regular freemasonry and continental freemasonry. The former deems it necessary to have a volume of scripture open at all times in a working lodge, that every member profess belief in some sort of deity, that no women are allowed (I stick my tongue back out at you!), and that the discussion of religion and politics is banned, despite the open scripture. The latter is now the general term for more open jurisdictions who have removed and tailored some, or all, of these restrictions. Fun fact? Henry Ford, Benjamin Franklin, and and John Hancock were all Freemasons.
Skull And Bones
This Yale University society has an awesomely fun fact: both of our Bush presidents were a part of it. This group was originally known as the Brotherhood of Death (yikes) and is one of the oldest student societies in the U.S. Their biggest claim to superstition fame is the rumor that this group is a breeding ground for the CIA. And yes, the CIA eventually made an official statement claiming its falsehood. However, many of its members have gone on to generous fame and fortune, and that, alone, is enough to make people speculative.