“There is nothing more enjoyable than being a member of an enlightened group of people that meets in complete darkness in complete secrecy.” ― Jarod Kintz.
Today we bring you 10 secret societies that lives or lived under shadows.
List of Top 10 Greatest Shadowy Secret Societies
The Freemasons are listed among the most controversial and secretive religious societies ever. One of the world’s oldest secular fraternal societies, the Freemasons believed in leading a moral and ethical life. Critics have often accused the member of this shadowy society of being Satanists and occultists. During the Nazi regime, some recorded 80,000 and 200,000 Freemasons were put to death in the concentration camps.
9. The Priory of Sion
Many believe The Priory of Sion is apparently a myth. It was founded in France in 1956 by Pierre Plantard. The goal was to find and install the secret bloodline of the Merovingian dynasty who ruled the Franks for nearly 300 years. It is said that, Plantard created fictitious history of the organization, planting evidences of its historical activities in various locations around France. The group was later dissolved but some believe the Priory of Sion is called the great hoaxes only to conceal its subversive secrets. Till date its popularity has been recorded in countless number of books, films and websites.
8. The Knights Templar
Also known as the Order of Solomon’s Temple or the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon. The organisation was founded under the leadership a French nobleman Hugh de Payens in Jerusalem in 1119. It had eight other members and together they protected pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land from attackers. Later they transformed into chivalrous knights fighting in the Crusades. The organisation became a favoured charity in 1129 after being officially inducted by the Roman Catholic Church. This secret society was one of the most powerful and wealthiest of all secret societies in the world. During the Middle Ages, it thrived for 200 years.
7.The Order of the Skull and Bones
It’s an undergraduate senior secret society at Yale University. The society was founded in 1832 by Alphonso Taft and William Huntington Russell. In 1871 Lyman Bagg provided the first official description of the society in his book Four Years at Yale. Since 1879 the societies started a tradition of selecting new members every spring. For a long time only white Protestant males had exclusive membership to the society. People of different ethnic and religious groups began entering Skull and Bones by means of sports. Women began being inducting since the 90s. Members of this shadowy group call themselves Bonesmen.
6.The Knights of the Golden Circle
It’s an anti-slavery organisation found in USA in the mid 19th century. George W. L. Bickley, a doctor based in Virginia founded the society in 1854. Their goal was to annex territories – Mexico, Central America, the rest of the Caribbean and northern South America and Cuba – expand the number of slave states and establish a country called Golden Circle. During the American Civil War, the society went underground. Over years a number of people were accused of being members of the Knights of the Golden Circle and were consequently imprisoned.
5.The Sons of Liberty
Founded on the Thirteen Colonies, the society’s objective was to protect the right of its people. As colonists, they fought against the unnecessary unfair taxations imposed by the British government. In 1773, in opposition to a new taxation called the Tea Act of May 10, 1773, the Sons of Liberty destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company. This incident went down in history as the the Boston Tea Party. The Sons of Liberty held the famous motto of, “No taxation without representation.”
4.The Thule Society
Named after Thule, a mythical country in Greek legend, the society was founded as a ‘German study group’ by a wounded World War I veteran and art student named Walter Nauhaus in 1911. The group concerned itself with the origins of the Aryan race. Notably it was first recognised by the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei and then by Adolf Hitler himself. It is said that though Nazis were brought in meetings to speak but they were pretty much disconnected with the society. And although many will like to believe but lack of evidences suggests that the Thule Society never had Hitler in one of their meetings.
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Illuminati meaning ‘enlightened’, has a number of real as well as fictitious versions. Originally it’s referred to the Bavarian Illuminati founded in 1776. Their goal was to put an end to religious influence over public life, to fight superstition, abuse of power etc. Soon the Illuminati along with other influential secret societies were declared illegal. And years later, many believed that this shadowy society kept working underground and was responsible for the French Revolution. In recent years Dan Brown’s bestseller fictitious novel Angels and Demons, using a mixture of historical fact and established conspiracy theory has brought international attention to the group.
They were a band of shadowy assassins located in Middle East. During the 13th century, a group of Shia Muslims broke away from a major society to build a nation exclusively for the Shias. They were famous for carrying out political assassinations. Known for their patient, stealth moves, the Hashshashins had a tendency of scaring their enemy via espionage and other clever tactics. But with the arrivals of the Mongols, the Hashshashin turned into mere paid assassins. Moreover at one point, the group was so hard hit by the ruthless Mongols that the former Assassin leader travelled all the way to the Mongol capital to offer his submission to Mongke Khan. That marked the end of the fearsome Hashshashin.
The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei is better known as the Opus Dei which in Latin means ‘Work of God’. Its members are referred as ‘The Work’. The society was founded in 1928 by a Catholic priest named Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer in Madrid. He said that the idea of the society came to him via a supernatural character in his dream and that the mission was to help ordinary Christians understand the ideal of holiness. Over the years Opus Dei has been criticised for being too secretive, misogynistic and elitist in attitude, having strict governance rules, recruiting methods etc. In recent years, the society has been brought to worldwide attention by the novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and the film of the same name.