From the Illuminati to the Freemasons, and the Knights Templar to the Knights of Malta, historical secret societies have long been the stuff of world-domination rumors. But what are the best secret societies to join? That really depends on what you're looking for from your clandestine organization. As for how to join a secret society and make money, you'll have to figure that one out for yourself.
Did the Knights Templar really join an occult society? Were the Sons of Liberty actually behind the Boston Tea Party? And what about how to become Illuminati? These secret societies from history have been alleged to pull the world's strings from behind the scenes, from the mysterious Flat Hat Club to the violent Molly Maguires.
What Is It: The Freemasons date all the way back to 1390, with roots in medieval stonemason's guilds. And multiple Founding Fathers were members, with George Washington swearing his oath of office on the Bible of the St. John's Masonic Lodge No. 1 of New York.
- George Washington
- Benjamin Franklin
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- J. Edgar Hoover
Why You Should Infiltrate: Over one third of US Presidents have been Masons, so that gives you pretty good odds for becoming powerful. But do the Masons control the world? Mason historian Robert Cooper says, "If we’re a secret society, how do you know about us?” Unless that's what they want us to think...
What Is It: The Knights Templar, a crusader organization, dates back to 1118, but in the early 1300s, members were arrested and tortured in France on charges of devil worship. Dozens were burned at the stake for treason.
- Hugh de Payens
- Odo de St. Amand
- Philippe de Milly
- A ton of other medieval French knights
Why You Should Infiltrate: According to historians, the Knights Templar vanished 700 years ago, after being accused of spitting on the cross and committing homosexual acts. But did they really vanish? Conspiracy theories claim that the Knights Templar guard the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant, and other religious artifacts.
What Is It: Dating back to 1085, the Knights of Malta started as a group of monks who cared for patients at a Jerusalem hospital. The organization transitioned into a military order to defend crusaders. Unlike other secret societies, the Knights of Malta had their own island – Malta. Holy Roman Emperor Charles V gifted them the island of Malta in 1530, and Napoleon took it away in 1798.
- Alexander III of Russia
- Charles I of Austria
- Konrad Adenauer
Why You Should Infiltrate: So they're actually more a humanitarian religious order than a secret society, but the Knights of Malta battled the Barbary pirates, fought off Suleiman the Magnificent, and tried to kill Hitler, which is pretty cool.
What Is It: This shadowy secret society was originally created by a German professor in 1776, and its goal was to oppose the Roman Catholic church's power over science and philosophy. One of its many precepts that flew against religious teaching: the belief that suicide was okay. Members of the Bavarian Illumanti (as it was called) were suppressed by the Bavarian government and seemingly vanished in less than a decade. Its creator died in exile.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (alleged)
- Ferdinand of Brunswick
Why You Should Infiltrate: That bland founding story has to be a cover for some major world-domination stuff. After all, Kanye West, Beyoncé, and Kim Kardashian have all been rumored to be secret members. Dan Brown wouldn't lie to us, right?