"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Illuminati and Secret Society Tales Still Flying Off Shelves

(This post has been updated 4/10/2019)

It seems like every time I post a story with the word 'Illuminati' in it, my comment in-box gets flooded with spam and crackpot messages. It just goes with the territory. Unfortunately, the Illuminati has been tied to Freemasonry in the public imagination since the 1780s, off and on. Today, they are unfortunately interchangeable in a fair-sized swath of the public's perception. And recurring interest in the subject seems to sprout every couple of years like biennial beet plants.

The National Geographic History Magazine has a short, deeply flawed, introductory article about Adam Weishaupt and the origins and brief lifespan of the Bavarian Illuminati. If you are new to the subject or don't really know how or why Freemasonry and the Illuminati get schmeared together by conspiracy mongers when hunting boogeymen to blame for world events when they get overcharged at the Starbucks, have a look at 'Meet the Man Who Started the Illuminati' by Isabel Hernandez.

The original article appeared back in 2016 and was taken apart by Josef Wäges back then for its anti-semetic propaganda. Those references still appear in the article. See The Illuminati, National Geographic, and Anti-Semitism and the comments that followed. It demonstrates the easy ability to perpetuate errors and compound them - the article continues to resurface as a popular top Google link.

Since this post is already attracting the tinfoil hat troll farmers anyway, I might as well also mention that History™ has reissued a 2016 special magazine, Secret Societies with very brief articles about 19 different secretive groups, going back to the Greek Eleusinian Mysteries and the Pythagorian Brotherhood, Templars and Rosicrucians, Illuminati and Masons, right up through the Order of the Solar Temple. It's all pretty thin, thumbnail stuff with a drive-by shooting take on everything. The Freemason chapter is painfully weak, with the usual child-like glee of 'exposing' ritual 'secrets.' Suitable for teenagers at best as a too-simple introduction to these groups overpowered with glossy photos to keep the boredom level down. On grocery impulse racks everywhere this month, next to the National Enquirer, the Archie comics, and the Betty Cooker Crockbook quarterly cake recipes.

What I do find interesting is that both magazines have enough ongoing interest in these topics to keep revisiting them on a regular basis. In fact, Brother Thomas Johnson commented on this in an earlier post:
"This month's "H" (History) magazine is a reissue of a Special Edition on " Secret Societies " which was first published in 2016. It is flying off the shelves on a Naval Base where I do business. Approximately 40 copies sold out in less than two days at $14.00 a copy. Now some might say, well, Sailors need reading material while away at sea. That may be true. But some may also be hungry for what we have to offer."

(Here's the shameless plug.)

For those who are looking for a basic primer on conspiracism and secretive organizations and movements, real or imaginary, or if you just can't get enough on the subject, I've got just the book for you...

Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies For Dummies by Christopher l. Hodapp and Alice Von Kannon.

You're welcome.


  1. That National Geographic article is the same as the one a while back:


    And because it now has top rank for a search on Adam Weishaupt, a new generation will imbibe the conflation of Rothschild and the Illuminati, search for more info to shore up the accusation, and descend into the rabbit hole of explicit anti-semitism once again. Thanks National Geographic.

    1. Terry, sorry, I posted this on the road and wasn't easily able to go back and reference the 2016 version. Once I got to a real keyboard, I was able to go back and reacquaint myself with the original. I have updated the post today to reflect those earlier discussions.

  2. The Bavarians get their just appraisal, among many other things, at the World Conference on Fraternalism in Paris at the French National Library in June, along with new insights from luminaries like Brent Morris, Andrew Prescott, Joseph Wales, Pierre Mollier, and presenters from 9 countries. No charge, but registration requested to cope with translation devices and catering. See https://www.ipsonet.org/conferences/ritualconference-main/wcffh19prelim

  3. The National Geographic article is flawed. For one, Weishaupt was not a descendant of Jews. This keeps floating around due to poor research and the activities of anti-semites.

    Moreover, he was a rationalist, vehemently opposed to occultism and was not a Kabbalist as presented in the article.


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