Secret societies are everywhere. In the underground corners of the planet, the elite are secretly coming together. Some of them don’t mind that we know about these social events, while others maintain that they’re not coordinated at all.
But doormen are talking to their mates, initiation rites are leaking, people are looking in the windows, singing in far underground lairs can be heard by a passerby. Conspiracy theorists have long held that someone, not the fates, controls our world, and maybe in these hidden societies, the strings are being pulled.
Here is a list of seven organizations, so secret that some members will never confess to their presence, and their meeting places will be concealed in plain sight.
Skull and the Tomb of Bones
Fresh HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
Article-Image of the Tomb. (Photo: Ross Sage/CC BY-SA 2.0)
Ivy League Yale University is held to be one of the most selective higher education institutions in the United States, if not the world. Their motto “Lux et veritas” translates from Latin as “light and truth.” On the historic campus in New Haven, Connecticut, there is actually a building where “light and truth” is reserved for carefully chosen members and alumni.
Everything is known about the secret society of Skull and Bones is limited. The organization began in 1832. The official list of its members was released in 1971. Bonesmen, as members are known, were heads of businesses, top government officials, Supreme Court judges, and even presidents. The hypotheses on what the Skull and Bones really do range from their representatives running the Central Intelligence Agency, being part of a multinational network aiming at world domination, to be a branch of the Illuminati.
It’s also unclear exactly what’s going on in The Crypt, the group’s headquarters. Still, there are curious stories about what’s in the windowless sandstone building. The Egyptian-Doric form of the building makes it look like an imposing tomb. The tomb is thought to hold hidden documents containing a list of all members, ritual details, and several stolen relics. Some of the bones that were rumored to be in The Tomb include the skulls of famous people such as Geronimo, Pancho Villa, Martin Van Buren, and the gravestone of Elihu Yale, the founder of the academy. Bonesmen are also known to control other communities in a show of thievery and cunning known as crooking.
Bilderberg Club: Hotel in Bilderberg
Hotel de Bilderberg, Germany
Hotel de Bilderberg, guys. (Photo: Michael1972/CC BY-SA 4.0)
In November 1954, 50 delegates from 11 countries in Western Europe and 11 Americans spent three days at the Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, the Netherlands. The purpose of the meeting was to encourage conversations between Europe and North America. The attendees included a prince, a prime minister, and the president of the CIA. After that conference, every year, a group of world leaders in the fields of politics, finance, media, and communications has gathered to discuss… we’re not exactly sure.
There is no agenda, no resolutions are presented, no voting of any sort is carried out, and no positions or policy statements are released. The meetings are held in various places each year, and the themes of the meeting are theorized by the general public each year. The list of attendees has never been officially made public, although there have been leaks over the years. Conspiracy theories abound, particularly due to the extreme degree of secrecy of the group. Some suspect that the community is plotting to enforce capital conquest, a world government, or a planned economy. What’s certain is that the more famous you are, the more likely you are to get an invitation to the Bilderberg conference next year.
Trementina Foundation of Scientology
Fresh Mexico, TREMENTINA
Trementina Foundation, New Mexico City. (Photograph: Google Earth)
Scientology is most recognizable today due to celebrities such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, but over the years, the company has been aggressive in confronting critics and protecting its secrets. One of the most divisive religious movements, some of them describe the movement as a cult.
Basic Scientology claims that humans are immortal creatures who have reincarnated and existed on other worlds until they find themselves on Earth. One of the factors that make religion controversial is its assertive nature, sometimes turning to character murder or lawsuits in dealing with atheists and critics who challenge their practices. The Church is also highly discreet, holding much of its teachings from its members until they have made it through several stages.
Scientology runs a variety of churches called Celebrity Centers that are open to the public but are mainly intended for “anyone with the power and vision to create a better world.” The Church of Spiritual Technology, or CST, is reserved for the most trusted members. Many of these members oversee elaborate foundations, including the Trementina Center. The official word from the Church is that the foundation is a position used to protect the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard’s writings, which are said to have been etched on steel sheets and sealed in titanium cases. However, it is assumed that Trementina is more than just a place to archive Hubbard’s works.
Trementina includes underground dwellings and tunnels, but what is most fascinating about the foundation is what you see from the outside. The aerial photos above the base show immense pictures sunk into the Ground. The photos are the emblem of the Church. Former Members have argued that the icons are meant to mark the point of return for members as they move into the future. Other members have said that this is where Hubbard is expected to go when he comes back.
Iluminati: Domus Sanctae Marthae
CITY VATICAN, VATICAN
Pope Francis entering Domus Sanctae Marthae (Photo: Pufui Pc Piffef I/CC BY-SA 3.0)
Formed in 1776 in Bavaria, Germany, this group of free-thinkers, humanists, and intellectuals rejected superstition, bigotry, religion, and its effect on the population and advocated women’s advancement.
The Illuminati is a mysterious organization, believed to be able to manipulate trends in government and the arts. The organization was infiltrated and shut down ten years after its formation, or so the official record goes. Conspiracy theorists have long been fascinated with the Illuminati manipulating the universe for generations. Several modern organizations claim to be descendants of the original Bavarian Illuminati. They go so far as to use the name “Illuminati” in their title, but there is no evidence that these recent organizations are related to the original.
In addition to its actions, the location of its headquarters is the key mystery of this party.
Theorists have reported that many famous sites include the headquarters of the Illuminati from places:
- Disney World in Orlando, Florida,
- Big Ben in London,
- the Statue of Liberty in New York City,
- the Eiffel Tower in Paris,
- the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah,
- the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.,
- And, among others, the Vatican.
The hypothesis that the Illuminati headquarters is situated in the Vatican is particularly important due to the resistance of the organization to the Church. Conspiracy theorists claim that the Church has long infiltrated society, making its chief, the Pope, one of the highest-ranking members of the Illuminati. The Pope now lives in a simple room at Domus Sanctae Marthae, a guest house adjacent to St. Peter’s Basilica. With 106 suites and 22 single rooms, the five-story hotel is built for clergy in town on the official Holy See company, or perhaps for an Illuminati meeting or two.
Ordo Templi Orientis: Thelemic Temple Bay Area
Ehrmann, the Thierry
The mural of Aleister Crowley in the Abode of Anarchy. (Photo: Thierry Ehrmann/CC 2.0)
The Order of the Temple of the East was established in Austria or Germany between 1895 and 1906. A wealthy industrialist, Carl Kellner, is thought to have begun the religious movement, but the prominent occultist Aleister Crowley, whose name and additions to the party shrouded him in curiosity and mystery.
OTO was modeled after another secret society, Freemasonry. But Crowley has introduced a layer, his own self-created belief system called Thelema. Thelema’s rituals and doctrines are written in a text called The Book of Law, and its central belief is Do what you want to do is the whole of the Law.” Theories of occultism and Eastern and Western mysticism have made their way into Thelema and thus into OTO. Religion is extremely secretive, and participants pass in order through a sequence of ceremonies and procedures, going up the ranks in the ways of initiation. Levels have curious names like Minerval, Master Wizard, Illustrious Knight, Grandmaster of Light, and so on.
There are two elements at the heart of OTO: magic rites that have been rumored to include tantric sex, angels and demons, and astral projection. Then there is the gnostic mass, reminiscent of the Catholic Mass, except that it includes the host and the wine at the end. The gnostic mass includes elaborate robes, and at the height of the mass, the host is believed to transform into the Body of God and the wine into the Blood of God.
There are several places of worship called camps, oases, or lodges. Most of them keep their locations secret from the general public. The oasis is relatively tiny in Oakland. They perform a weekly gnostic mass in a temple adorned with candles and Egyptian imagery. It is unclear exactly what occurs during initiation ceremonies and what information is exchanged during these activities. According to Crowley’s autobiography, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: “The OTO has one ultimate secret in its hands. The whole of its system [is] oriented towards the transmission of this all-important guidance to its members, through increasingly simple hints.”
Prieuré de Sion: Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Bibliothèque nationale de France-The Reading Room
French National Library Reading Room. (Photograph: Vincent Desjardins/CC BY 2.0)
The secret of this secret society is that many people believe in its presence. Still, academic claims have consistently claimed that the organization is a total myth, created by a madman’s imagination.
The story starts that the Priory of Sion was a community tasked with protecting the descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, who finally settled in France.
It was leaked back in the 1970s that the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, the French National Library, owned a file called Dossiers Secrets d’Henri Lobineau, which pointed out that the Priory of Sion was based in France. The file allegedly contained an introduction, maps of France, genealogies, newspaper clippings, letters, and a list of Grand Masters of the Priory of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, and Leonardo Da Vinci.
The validity of these files has been challenged because they were left in the library. They were finally traced back to Pierre Plantard. It is suspected that Plantard planted a paper in the library to spread an elaborate hoax. He claimed to be a descendant of the bloodline of Jesus. Academics agreed that the Priory of Sion was a fraud created by Plantard. And yet, books, posts, and movies are still being made about this party. Whether or not there is a secret society devoted to protecting the descendants of the family from the biblical times that we will never know.
Rosicrucianism: Park of Rosicrucian
SAN JOSE, Calif.
The grounds of the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
The grounds of the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. (Photo: Ginabovar/Public Domain)
Several manifestos were written anonymously in the early 17th century, telling of legends, mysticism, alchemy, and the Order of the Temple of the Rosary of the Cross. One of these documents was the Fama Fraternitatis published in Cassel, Germany.
The Fama spoke of the 15th-century German doctor and spiritual scholar Christian Rosenkreuz, who traveled through parts of the Middle East, studied esoteric knowledge, studying in places like Turkey and Egypt. There, he claimed to gain a thorough knowledge of nature and the cosmos. He wanted to share what he learned when he returned, but he was rejected. He then founded a similar community called the Rose Cross Fraternity.
His birth and death year remains shadowy, although some sources suggest that he has lived for more than 106 years. The party retained Christian values but strongly rejected Roman Catholicism and was also said to have inspired Freemasonry and hundreds of other organizations, many of which have adopted titles with similar names in modern times. In its simplest form, the organization was aimed at facilitating the “Universal Reformation of Mankind.” Some sources say that the prerequisite for membership was that one should have used more than the average amount of brain capacity.
During Rosenkreuz’s life, the party was thought to have consisted of just a handful of members, each of whom was a doctor. All the participants took an oath to remain bachelor’s, treat the sick without charge, and find a substitute for themselves until they died. Activity in the group peaked between 1607 and 1616 with anonymous works, including the Fama Fraternitatis, which included mysticism and apocalyptic warnings.
It is not clear if Rosenkreuz’s original concept persisted. One of the hundreds of groups that claim to be related to the original is the Ancient Mystical Order of Rosea Crucis, which has some links with the occultist Aleister Crowley. AMORC claims to be committed to the “Study of the Elusive Mysteries of Life and the Universe.” They use major thinkers’ theories, including Thales and Pythagoreans, healing methods, alchemy, symbolism, and mysticism.
The community believes that its history can be traced back to Pharaoh Thutmose III in 1477. AMORC Headquarters is located in Rosicrucian Park, San Jose, California, which stretches around the city block and contains various houses. The park is home to elaborate gardens, a science library, a planetary, a mosque, and houses the ashes of Harvey Spencer Lewis, the secret society founder.