Stuff You Should Know: The Illuminati

IlluminatiIf all you know about the Illuminati was taught to you by one Professor Dan Brown, then you are in for a treat, my friend. Because there is a lot more to this lovable group of invisible puppet masters than just secret murders and a conspiracy to set up a new world order. A lot more. For example:

1. The Bavarian Connection

PopeBoth the current Pope and the Illuminati were born in Bavaria, possibly on the same day, but probably not, because the Illuminati is 234 years old. Bavarian philosopher and professor Adam Weishaupt founded the secret club on May 1, 1776, and modeled it after the equally sneaky Freemasons. Some say the point of the Illuminati was to overthrow all the monarchies and state governments of Europe, but all those sources are also shady blogs created in 1997 and festooned with blinky dollar signs and pyramids. We’re going to go ahead and take their word for it, though.

2. The Illuminati was Wildly Popular – At First

IlluminatiEnlightened men all over Europe were on secret club rolls like white on rice. But they didn’t call themselves ‘Illuminati,’ they preferred ‘Perfectibilists,’ which is an even more prickish name, isn’t it? Within ten years the club claimed over 2000 members throughout Europe. But super secret white man club parties rarely last, and this one lost a ton of steam when the ruler of Bavaria banned all hush-hush clubs in 1784. Membership dwindled, Weishaupt was ousted and the Illuminati disbanded. Or did they?

3. Yeah, They Probably Did

Dan QuayleWhile the Freemasonry survived the banning and continues up until the present day, the only people who really think the Illuminati are still around are wackjob conspiracy theorists. And the first conspiracy theory revolving around the Illuminati had to do with the French Revolution. This is how it went:

  • Revolutionaries wanted to overthrow the monarchy
  • Illuminati wanted to overthrow the monarchy
  • The Illuminati were secretly responsible for the French Revolution

As hard as it is to argue with logic so tight you could take a bath in it, the evidence is sadly lacking.

4. For Our Purposes, the Illuminati and Freemasons are the Same Thing

FreemasonsThey’re not, obviously, but in the beginning the Illuminati drew their membership from the same pool of freethinking aristocrats as the Freemasons. And when the Freemasons kept, you know, existing, and the Illuminati totally didn’t, conspiracy theorists just kind of tagged the Illuminati as the Freemasons’ sneaky secret overlords. Or underlords. We’re not sure which.

5. Illuminati Conspiracy Theory: Short Version

John LennonIlluminati conspiracy theorists are afraid of one thing: New World Order. The idea picked up steam in the early 20th century when a British revisionist historian convinced herself and others, including Winston Churchill, that the Illuminati and Jews were mos’ def behind the French Revolution. As the century wore on and conservatives got more and more scared of Communists and atheist liberals, the idea of a sinister mastermind group orchestrating world events picked up steam. The goal of the secret group? A New World Order, duh. One government, no religion, no states. So, pretty much the real life version of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine.’

6. And Then Bush, Sr. Stepped in It

George BushJust when Christian conservatives were getting all riled up about Satan’s minions setting up a ‘New World Order’ through the Masons, Illuminati, Jews and ACLU, George Bush, Sr. said the following:

Now, we can see a new world coming into view. A world in which there is the very real prospect of a new world order. In the words of Winston Churchill, a “world order” in which “the principles of justice and fair play … protect the weak against the strong …

EEK! And now we know why he wasn’t re-elected.

7. Everyone from the Bush Family to the Obamas Have Been Tied to the Club

George BushWell, yeah, after that speech. The Bushes and the Obamas, even though you’d think these guys probably wouldn’t chill at the same club. Bonus fact, if you google ‘Bush family Illuminati’ the first kajillion hits are from end times Christian web sites; the first one refers to George Bush as a ‘Luciferian’ and uses a picture of him lighting the Olympic Winter torch as evidence of his participation in Illuminati rituals.

After the above torch ceremony, Bush and his wife joined his parents and daughters at Camp David, presumably for a secret satanic solstice ritual.

And since this source was totally backed up by Wikipedia, you should feel 100% safe clicking on it. For sure.

8. Also, Jay-Z

Jay Z IlluminatiOh, Jay-Z is totally Illuminati, didn’t you know? Why else would a 41 year old man keep making those ridiculous pyramid signs all over the place? Because unlike past members of the Illuminati, Jay-Z has ZERO INTEREST in keeping his affiliation under wraps.

He puts cult imagery on his clothing line:

Master of the CraftSings about overthrowing the current world order in “Run this Town”:

And clearly turned Beyonce into an evil Mrs. Illuminati:

BeyonceMaybe in an effort to do some damage control, Jay-Z wrote a whole song about how he wasn’t a Freemason. Here are some lyrics:

“B-tch I said I was amazing, Not that I’m a Mason”

Mayhaps not. But it doesn’t change the fact that he shakes hands in the Freemasonest/cultiest way possible:

Illuminati Hand ShakeBut speaking of pyramids all over the place…

9. The Illuminati Had Nothing to do With the Symbols on the Dollar Bill

Ben FranklinDisappointing, I know. It took six years for Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the rest of their ‘Invent a Great Seal for the United States’ committee to come up with the seal that we see on the dollar bill. Of all the guys on the committee, only Ben was a known Freemason, and his suggestion of ‘Moses parting the sea and using the parted waters to kill a crowned Pharoah sitting in a chariot’ was promptly rejected. Although we do associate the all-seeing eye with Freemasonry today, they didn’t adopt that symbol until several years after the Great Seal was approved.

10. There are Still Places Where the Illuminati are Thriving

Dan BrownUnfortunately, those places only exist in Dan Brown’s vivid imagination. Before Brown scored bigtime with The Da Vinci Code, he wrote Angels and Demons. And in that book, symbologist/protagonist (symbtagonist?) Robert Langdon chases down members of the Illuminati who are keen on blowing up the Vatican. With a canister of antimatter. Totally what Adam Weishaupt had in mind when he started his little club.