11. Ordo Templis Orientis: The Order of the Temples of the East was originally founded as an offshoot of the Masons, kind of like the Stonecutters but without Steve Gutenberg. But it underwent radical changes when an occult magician known as the Great Beast, Aleister Crowley, took over the leadership.
10. Rosicrucians: This mystic Christian fellowship was founded by a group of 8 doctors, alchemists and sages in the 1400s, in a quest to destroy the one true ring.
9. Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn: This is yet another occult group that grew out of the Masonic and Rosicrucian traditions, but with a much stronger emphasis on ritual magic like spell-casting, astrology, astral travel, crystal balls and potions.
3 – The Knights Templar – The Knights Templar, was a Christian military order that became one of the most skilled fighting units during the Crusades. Tasked with protecting pilgrims visiting the Holy Land, the group was officially endorsed by the Pope around 1129. Members of the order were expected to follow the Latin Rule, a list of over 200 rules for behavior, which included vows of poverty and celibacy, and the cardinal rule that warriors of the order should never surrender in battle. Non-combat members of the order managed a large economic infrastructure and created early forms of banking. At their height the Templars bought and managed farms and vineyards, built massive stone castles and cathedrals, manufactured goods, had their own fleet of ships, and even owned the island of Cyprus. Rumors of the Templars wealth and power and secret initiation ceremony created distrust among its critics. On Friday the 13th, 1307, King Phillip IV of France, who was deeply in debt to the order at the time, claimed the group had turned to heresy and had all of the Templars in France arrested, tortured, force to give false confessions, and then burned at the stake. Pope Clement V then disbanded the order in 1312 and the members fled to other countries or joined other orders. Some believe the disbanded Templars took part of King Solomon’s treasure with them, which is said to have included the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant. Some also believe the descendants of the Templars formed the Freemasons.
2 – Priory of Sion – The Priory of Sion is the name of a secretive fraternal organization which was said to be originally founded in France. In reality, the organization was a hoax put forth by Pierre Plantard to support his claim that he was the Great Monarch prophesized by Nostradamus. He created a fictitious history for the group, which he claimed was founded by Godfrey of Bouillon in Jerusalem in 1099. In Plantard’s history, the priory was devoted to installing a secret Merovingian bloodline on the thrones of France and Europe. He even went as far as to plant fake evidence in various locations in France.
1 – The Illuminati – The Illuminati, which is Latin for “enlightened”, originally referred to the Bavarian Illuminati, a secret society founded in Germany in 1776. The goal of the group was to oppose superstition and religious influence and government abuse in public life. Many intellectuals and politicians were members of the group, including the dukes of Gotha and Weimer. The group was outlawed by the Bavarian ruler Charles Theodore, with the backing of the Catholic Church in 1784. Despite the banishment, critics claim the group continued to meet underground and were responsible for bringing about the French Revolution. Conspiracy theorists also believe that the group lives on and is conspiring to control world affairs by placing agents in positons of power in government and corporations, in order to establish a New World Order.