“A secret society is a club or organization whose activities and inner functioning are concealed from non-members.” Throughout human history, there have been countless secret societies and equal number of conspiracy theories surrounding them. Here is a list of Top 10 Secret Societies of the World.
10. Secret Society of Nine Unknown Men of Ashoka
In the 1923 novel by Talbot Mundy named The Nine Unknown, he proposed a secret society founded by the Indian Mauryan Emperor Ashoka around 270 BC to protect and develop knowledge that if falls into the wrong hands would be dangerous for the humanity. He entrusted nine people with protecting the nine books of secret knowledge. The nine books entrusted to these nine men is said to contain information on topics ranging from psychological warfare, physiology, microbiology, alchemy, communication including communication with extraterrestrials, gravity and antigravity devices, cosmology including hyperspace and time travel, light and sociology. Each of the Nine is supposedly responsible for guarding and improving a single book. Among conspiracy theorists, the Nine Unknown is often cited as one of the oldest and most powerful secret societies in the world. Unusually for the conspiracy subculture, the image of the group is largely though not entirely benign. Theosophists also believe the Nine to be a real organization that is working for the good of the world.
9. Thuggee Cult
Thuggee were organized gangs of professional assassins who traveled in groups across India for several hundred years. They were first mentioned in the Ẓiyāʾ-ud-Dīn Baranī dated around 1356. For some years, India’s British administrators had been hearing reports of large numbers of travelers disappearing on the country’s roads; but, while disturbing, such incidents were not entirely unusual for the time. It was not until the discovery of a series of eerily similar mass graves across India that the truth began to dawn. Each site was piled with the bodies of individuals ritually murdered and buried in the same meticulous fashion. In the 1830s they were targeted by William Bentinck, along with his chief captain William Henry Sleeman, for eradication. They were seemingly destroyed by this effort. Thug Behram one of the world’s most prolific serial killer headed this group in early 1800s. James Patton, an officer of East India Company in his manuscript credited him with the murder of 931 victims between 1790-1840.
8. The Order of Assassins
The Hashshashin, or Nizari, were a mysterious band of Muslim assassins that operated in the Middle East during the 13th century. The group was made up of Shia Muslims who broke off from a bigger sect and banded together in order to establish a utopian Shi’ite state. Because their number was small, the group used guerilla tactics in their battle against their enemies, including espionage, sabotage, and, most famously, political assassination. The Hashshashin would plant highly trained moles inside enemy strongholds, with instructions to only attack when the time was right. They were known for their extreme discretion in minimizing civilian casualties, as well as their penchant for using stealth to intimidate their targets. As the story goes, enemy leaders would often wake in the morning to find a Hashshashin dagger lying on their pillow, along with a note saying “you are in our grip.” Their legend soon grew, and before the Mongols finally destroyed the group, they became well known contract killers, supposedly performing jobs for the likes of King Richard the Lionheart.
7. Opus Dei
Opus Dei is an organization of the Catholic Church that emphasizes the Catholic belief that everyone is called to holiness and that ordinary life is a path to sanctity. The celibate numeraries and numerary assistants live in special centers, while associates are celibate members living in their private homes. The order was founded in Spain in 1928 by Roman Catholic priest Josemaría Escrivá with the approval of Pope Pius XII. When Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code was published, it claimed that Opus Dei was a secret organization within the Church whose aim was to defeat the Priory of Sion and those who seek to uncover the “truth” about Christianity and the alleged royal bloodline of Christ. Outside of the book, there has been a great deal of controversy over Opus Dei because of the strictness of its religious structure. The Catholic Church forbids secret societies and membership in them, and Opus Dei investigators have frequently debunked claims that this organization is acting in secrecy to further a sinister agenda.
6. Majestic 12
Majestic 12 is the alleged code name of a secret committee of scientists, military leaders, and government officials, supposedly formed in 1947 by an executive order of U.S. President Harry S Truman. The alleged purpose of the committee was to investigate UFO activity in the aftermath of the Roswell incident—the supposed crash of the alien spaceship near Roswell, New Mexico, in July 1947. The Majestic 12 is an important part of the UFO conspiracy theory of an ongoing government cover up of UFO information. All the alleged original members of MJ-12 were notable for their military, government, and/or scientific achievements, and all were deceased when the documents first surfaced.
5. Sons of Liberty
The Sons of Liberty is the name for a loosely organized group of dissidents that existed in America prior to the Revolutionary War. The group did not exist as a secret society in the traditional sense; rather, it was made up of smaller factions of patriots from across the colonies that united in support of a common goal. When they did meet, it was usually in Boston around an elm tree that has since become known as the Liberty Tree. It was here that the group would formulate their resistance, which included the dissemination of pamphlets and even some sabotage and terrorist activity. This behavior led to the British branding the Sons of Liberty as seditious, and they were often referred to pejoratively as “The Sons of Violence.” The group is most notable today for sowing the seeds of revolution among the colonists with their protest of the Stamp Act, and for coining the now famous phrase “no taxation without representation.” The Sons of Liberty in Boston were the most famous arm of the group, but there were factions spread out all across the 13 colonies. One group in Rhode Island looted and burned the British trade ship Gaspee in protest of unfair trade practices, while others were known to tar and feather British loyalists. Still, the most famous event engineered by the Sons remains the Boston Tea Party in 1773, when members of the group dressed as Indians and dumped shiploads of overtaxed tea into Boston Harbor.
4. The Bilderberg Group
The Bilderberg Group is a collection of approximately 130 influential businessmen, financiers and politicians that meets once a year at an invitation-only conference. The Group derives its name from the Bilderberg Hotel in the Netherlands where it held its first official (and highly secretive) meeting in 1954. At the time, the group’s intention was to promote understanding between Western Europe and North America through informal, off-the-record meetings. Meetings nowadays are organized by a steering committee with two members from each of approximately 18 nations. Official posts, in addition to a chairman, include an Honorary Secretary General. There is no such category in the group’s rules as a “member of the group”. The only category that exists is “member of the Steering Committee”. In addition to the committee, there also exists a separate advisory group, though membership overlaps. These days, however, many believe the Bilderberg Group serves a much more sinister purpose. According to some conspiracy theorists, the group and its collection of elite leaders are responsible for overthrowing governments, rigging elections and even arranging assassinations. Many of the royal families of Spain and the Netherlands are supposed to be a part of it.
3. The Knights Templar
The Knights Templar is a modern off-shoot of Masonry and does not have a direct tie to the original religious military group formed in the 12th century. Its full name is The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta. Its members of don’t claim a direct connection to the medieval group, but merely a borrowing of ideas and symbols. In order to become a member of this group, you must already be a Christian Master Mason. This organization is a distinct one, and is not just a higher degree of Masonry. Despite Freemasonry’s general disclaimer that no one Masonic organization claims a direct heritage to the medieval Knights Templar, certain degrees and orders are obviously patterned after the medieval Order. These are best described as “commemorative orders” or degrees. Nevertheless, in spite of the fraternity’s official disclaimers, some Masons, non-Masons, and even anti-Masons insist that certain Masonic rites or degrees originally had direct Templar influence.
Illuminati as was founded by Adam Weishaupt in 1776 as Bavarian Illuminati. It consisted of freethinkers as an offshoot of the Enlightenment, but limited themselves to five members. Its members were made to take a vow of secrecy and pledged obedience to their superiors. Many acknowledged politicians and intellectuals have claimed to be members of this secret society. Its disbelief in supreme being made it particularly popular among atheists. Internal disputes coupled with panic over succession and government ban on secret societies led to its downfall in late 1700s. In the modern context, conspiracy theorists believe the society survives to this day and its current members are heirs of its original members. Conspiracy theorists have proposed that many world events have been controlled by them. They are believed to have powers to manipulate world governments and it is proposed that a number of presidents have been its members.
Freemasonry as an organization had its origin in late 16th to early 17th centuries, but according to a poem in Regius Manuscript, it could be dated back to approximately 1390. The Freemasons and their grandiose rituals have played a secretive and mysterious role in American life. The Grand Masonic Lodge was created in 1717 when four small groups of lodges joined together. Masons conduct their meetings using a ritualised format with masonic emblems and symbols. There are three degrees of masonry. They are 1. Entered Apprentice (the degree of an Initiate, which makes one a Freemason). 2. Fellow Craft (an intermediate degree, involved with learning) and 3. Master Mason (the “third degree”, a necessity for participation in most aspects of Masonry). Masons use signs and handshakes to gain admission to their meetings, as well as to identify themselves to other people who may be Masons. The gestures differ from one jurisdiction to other and are often timely updated. There are many notable famous Freemasons like Benjamin Franklin and a number of American Presidents. Even Mozart worked thinly disguised touches of Masonry into operas. Allegedly Masons presided when the cornerstone was laid at the Statue of Liberty.