You might already have an idea about who the Illuminati are, but what you think you know might just be evidence of their influence over your everyday life. A statement like that is just a scratch on the surface of how extreme the myth and paranoia surrounding the secret society has become. Whether or not they are truly still around today, it helps to know how it all started. It’s important to note that the Illuminati of the modern day has strayed far from the foundations of the original Illuminati of the 18th century. Here is everything you need to know.
The Original Illuminati Order Was Founded By A German Law Professor
German philosopher Adam Weishaupt originally founded the Order of the Illuminati in 1776 to spread the ideals of the Enlightenment going on at the time. Weishaupt’s group was modeled after Freemasonry but because he found them too expensive, he resolved to start his own society with a different agenda.
Weishaupt was a law professor at Ingolstadt University and recruited his students to help form the society. The original members of the group were Bavarian intellectuals who had to use aliases when they met. In Latin, “Illuminati” roughly translates to “the enlightened ones.”
They Advocated Enlightenment Ideals
The Order of the Illuminati set out to oppose superstition and abuses of government power and religion over public life. Their main goal was “to attain the highest possible degree of morality and virtue, and to lay the foundation for the reformation of the world by the association of good men to oppose the progress of moral evil.”
The group strongly believed in gender equality and hoped to eradicate prejudice. As a result, they were not well liked by government rulers and religious institutions who saw them as a huge threat.
They Have A Class System
In just a few years, the Order of the Illuminati grew from Weishaupt and his four students to thousands of members. Unsurprisingly, they developed a three-tier class system within the society. Within each tier were another three sub-tiers one had to achieve in order to get to the next one.
The most basic level was “The Nursery” which you could only get into if invited by other members before starting a trial period. Though the group advocated equality, Jews, pagans, women, monks, and members of other societies were specifically excluded. They were primarily interested in wealthy men between the ages of 18 and 30.
Weishaupt Didn’t Think Far Enough
Members of the Bavarian Illuminati progressed through the hierarchy through “grades,” as do the Freemasons. German writer Adolph Knigge became a prominent member of the Order of the Illuminati and brought the group tons of publicity when Weishaupt asked him to recruit more members.
Soon, Knigge progressed through the grades so quickly that Weishaupt hadn’t even written material for the higher ranks. As a result, they both decided to collaborate on new material to make the group seem more appealing to the masses in Protestant German states.
Secret Societies Were Banned Nine Years Later
As much as the society tried to keep their activities a secret to avoid “loose talk,” the Illuminati’s criticism of the church and the monarchy soon became common knowledge. More uproar was caused when it came to light that people in positions of public power were Illuminati members. The ruling class and religious authorities were not pleased.
It wasn’t long before Charles Theodore, the Duke of Bavaria at the time, decided in 1785 to ban all secret societies, including the Illuminati and Freemasonry. Weishaupt fled the country and much of his internal correspondence was seized and made public.
Their Secrets Were Exposed
Diplomat Xavier von Zwack was one of the most prominent members of the society as the second-in-command. When the Illuminati was forced to disband, von Zwack was arrested and had all his letters and documents seized as well.
The documents included plans for creating a secret society for women, essays defending suicide and atheism, claims that the Illuminati had the power to end their member’s lives, and information about counterfeiting, poison, and secret ink, according to historian Peter Knight. Because of this, the myth of their power over society grew stronger despite being disbanded.
The Irony Of The Illuminati
One of the main ideas of the original Illuminati was to combat superstition and obscurantism, which is when facts are purposefully withheld from public knowledge. Their free-thinking ideals were obviously in opposition to the great political and religious influence of kings and the church over society in Enlightenment-era Europe.
While the Illuminati started out with wanting transparency among society, they’ve somehow become a legend shrouded in mystery. It didn’t help that once they were pretty much ousted by 1785, paranoia about their existence remained. Many believed that they simply went “underground,” assuming a more insidious objective than before.
They Were Made The Enemy
Defenders of the church and the king took the Illuminati texts out of context and used them to lambast the organization as threats to the order of their worlds. Considering that many Illuminati members held positions in government, many believed that the Order hadn’t actually died down.
As the Illuminati had expanded throughout Europe during its prime, the old French regime blamed the original Bavarian Illuminati for inciting the French Revolution, which was beginning to unravel just as the group was forced to officially disband. This is part of why the Illuminati are behind many conspiracy theories today.
Playboy Editors Tried To Wake People Up
During the 1960s Robert Anton Wilson (pictured above) and Robert Shea, both co-editors of Playboy at the time, controlled the Playboy Forum. They responded to reader’s letters and even sent in some they wrote themselves. They found that many people believed in Illuminati conspiracy theories.
In addition to sending fake letters from readers who believed in the Illuminati, Wilson and Shea also sent in more letters to contradict them. They did this with the hope that people would start being more speculative about what they read in the news. Instead, it only heightened interest in the Illuminati.
The Illuminatus! Trilogy Popularized The Group
The overt interest in the Illuminati prompted Wilson and Shea to co-author The Illuminatus! Trilogy, which was first published in 1975. The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, and Leviathan comprise the trilogy across five books that satirize the organization and the myth surrounding it.
The books combine actual research and fantasy, even using founder Adam Weishaupt as one of its characters. Still, these books brought the Illuminati to the forefront of popular culture. Since then, the books have helped theorists use it as basis for plenty of Illuminati conspiracies.
The Illuminati Allegedly Run The World
Today, some people believe that the Illuminati have infiltrated various levels of society throughout the world. Conspiracists claim that the Illuminati run everything from the U.S. Government, Hollywood, the Vatican City, NATO, the United Nations, and other global media outlets.
Because the Illuminati supposedly run all these entities, it’s easy for them to keep their society under wraps. This is how they are “brainwashing” the masses. In this way, they can not only influence the world but they can do so without getting questioned either since most people don’t suspect that they actually exist.
The U.S. And The Illuminati Were Founded Within Months Of Each Other
The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, about two months after the original Bavarian Illuminati was founded. This is yet another piece of evidence to support the idea that the Illuminati control the American government.
Because of this, it’s believed that some Illuminati members were involved in the establishment of the United States of America and that prominent Democrats and Republicans have been pushing their own agendas ever since. It’s probably just a coincidence that the founding of the U.S. and the Bavarian Illuminati happened within months of each other. But then again, it might not be.
They Want To Establish A New World Order
One of the biggest fears among theorists is the Illuminati’s supposed agenda in establishing a New World Order. This was especially fueled by former President George H.W. Bush, who in 1990 called for a “new world order” in which all nations would live together in harmony when he announced the U.S. would go to war with Iraqi troops.
Theorists panicked that this meant eventually the United Nations would take dictatorship over the world, eliminating national borders, governments, and currencies. Conspiracy theorist John Coleman warned that this would lead to a future that was not unlike that seen in The Terminator.
The Denver International Airport Is An Illuminati Hotspot
The most fervent conspiracists believe that the Denver International Airport is a hotbed for Illuminati activity. From a demonic-looking horse sculpture outside the airport to murals that depict war scenes with masked soldiers wielding swords and guns, people have taken these as an indication that the airport is a meeting place for an Illuminati-based plot against the world.
The airport’s Jeppesen Terminal houses a time capsule with a granite capstone made by the Freemasons. Dedicated to “people of Colorado in 2094,” the stone was inscribed with the “New World Airport Commission,” which only exacerbates suspicions.
The Illuminati’s “All-Seeing Eye”
Another reason people are led to believe that the Illuminati controls everything is the “All-Seeing Eye.” The back of the U.S. $1 bill shows an eye illuminated within a triangle at the top of a pyramid. The “Eye of Providence,” as it is formally known, is a Christian symbol that represents God watching over humanity.
Eyes, pyramids, and triangles are all symbols associated with the Illuminati, but this is one claim that is easy to refute. Not only was the Illuminati founded on a basis of secularism, but they originally adopted the “Owl of Athena,” a symbol of knowledge, as their image.
The Illuminati Issue Black Eyes As Initiation
Over the years, plenty of famous people have been pictured with black eyes. Members of the royal family, actors like Robert Downey, Jr. and Elizabeth Hurley, and even the Pope have been seen out in public with a shiner. Strangely enough, it’s always the left eye that appears to have taken the beating.
Whenever they’re asked about it, they never give a straight answer about the black eye’s origins. Some people believe that these black eyes are a result of an Illuminati initiation ritual. According to radio host Sherry Shriner, these are a result of “soul scalping” in which these people have allegedly sold their souls to the devil.
All The Celebrities Are In On It
Jay-Z and Beyoncé are one of the most powerful couples in the entertainment industry and they’ve long been believed to be involved with the Illuminati. Theorists are always quick to point out Illuminati imagery in Beyoncé’s most public performances, while Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records label has a pyramid as its symbol.
They’re not the only celebrities accused of being in the secret society either. Everyone from Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Madonna and more are said to be involved. Madonna once told Rolling Stone, “People often accuse me of being a member… but the thing is, I know who the real Illuminati are.”
The Illuminati Are Rumored To Have Killed JFK
One of the most standout moments in history believed to be caused by Illuminati interference was the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy. We all know he was shot on November 22, 1963, and we also know Lee Harvey Oswald was to blame.
However, faulty evidence of there being a second shooter has led some to suspect that the Illuminati wanted JFK killed because he wanted to end the Vietnam War, which the Illuminati were supposedly financing, and because he wanted to limit the power of the Federal Reserve System, which they supposedly also control.
The Beatles Were Formed For Mind Control
Of the most outrageous conspiracies surrounding the Illuminati is that the Beatles were a creation of the group. They weren’t just four lads who started a band out of Liverpool but in fact, they were brought together by Illuminati overlords to advance the latter’s agenda.
According to conspiracy theorists, many of the Beatles’ songs were secretly written for them and handlers taught John, Paul, George, and Ringo what to say and how to act. Their popularity and “trigger words” in songs encouraged young minds to rebel and fall into drugs, which of course the Illuminati also supposedly produced.
The Illuminati Make Up Conspiracy Theories About Themselves
Perhaps the wildest Illuminati conspiracy out there is the fact that the group fabricates conspiracies about themselves in order to hide their existence. There are plenty of critics of Illuminati conspiracy theories who say that there are too many out there for any of it to be true.
But the most fervent conspiracists believe that this actually proves that the Illuminati exist. They believe that the Illuminati put out fake conspiracies in order to throw people off. Supposedly, the Illuminati make up their own theories to discredit other ones so that people won’t believe they’re out there.