America's capital is full of symbols, but not all of those images are purely patriotic. For every starred and striped flag and bald eagle, hidden symbols lurk in every corner of Washington, DC. Once you know what you're looking for, you'll start seeing these secret symbols everywhere.
Masonic symbols in DC appear at the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, or the Pentagon, likely paying homage to the Founding Fathers who were Masons. But other DC symbols might represent less mainstream groups. Some people believe that symbols of the occult, the Illuminati, and Satanic societies are dotted throughout the city.
A few of these rumors are easy to debunk. Other stories of secret symbols in DC are grounded in fact. Regardless of what you believe, these tales add an intriguing dimension to this historic region.
Obelisks have been built since ancient times. But why did Robert Mills and the Washington National Monument Society choose this shape to memorialize America's first president? Some people point to the importance of obelisks to the Freemasons. The Washington Monument stands at 555 feet tall, or 6,660 inches — close to the biblical "mark of the beast," 666.
However, skeptics point to the fact that, when the Washington Monument was being designed in the 19th century, classic architectural design elements from the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations experienced a popular resurgence. According to this view, the architects of the monument were simply following the trends of the time.
The inside of the rotunda of the Capitol Building contains a painted fresco called the Apotheosis of Washington. Painted in 1865 by Constantino Brumidi, this artist previously worked at the Vatican. Some theorists believe it shows George Washington, draped in regal purple robes, becoming a god.
This theory is true: "apotheosis" actually means ascending to a god-like status. The allegorical piece also features 13 maidens, which represent the 13 original colonies. The group is flanked by Roman gods and goddesses, including Neptune, Mercury, and Minerva.
The Pentagon takes its name from its unique shape: A five-sided pentagon, or pentagram; however, some people believe its infinite design (as it is a pentagram surrounded by other, slightly large concentric pentagrams) is a sign of the occult.
In reality, the Pentagon was built in the 1940s under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and its unique shape was chosen in order to maximize space, rather than to reference the occult.
The Statue of Freedom sits on top of the Capitol Building. The bronze figure wears a military helmet and holds a sword, laurel wreath, and shield. The statue is an allegory for the United States, and is similar to Columbia, another personification of the ideals held by the country.