Secret societies have existed for hundreds of years, projecting a sense of mystery and sometimes cynicism about the collective goal of the individuals in the group.

From religious organisations to political groups, these groups instill a cloud of secrecy that all members much obey. Who truly knows what goes on behind the closed doors of a secret society?

This list will examine the 10 most mysterious secret societies in history.

Top 10 Mysterious Secret Societies

10. Knights Templar


A religious military group formed in the 12th century, the nine founding knights took a vow to protect pilgrims traveling through the Holy Land. Soon after, more knights joined the cause and their power and influence grew. This society has grown in popularity due to the Assassin’s creed franchise which is based around the group.

9. Bilderberg Group

Bilderberg Group

The Bilderberg Group is an annual private conference of approximately 150 political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and the media. Started in 1954, the group has met at various locations each year, however the agenda for the meetings is a closely guarded secret. Many conspiracy theories suggest that the meetings of the group are the building blocks for a one nation world.


8. Freemasons


The Freemasons are widely considered to be one of the oldest secret societies still in existence.  They’ve become synonymous with secret handshakes, strange rituals and a hierarchy in which members move up through various levels as they gain experience and respect within the society.


7. Ku Klux Klan


Founded in 1866, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) extended into almost every southern state of America by 1870. The organisations primary goal was to reestablish a white supremacist society. Klan members famously burned crosses and staged rallies where they denounced immigrants. In the 1960’s during the civil rights movement, a surge in KKK activity occurred. Their crimes include bombings of black schools and churches and violence against black activists.


6. The Cadaver Society


The “Cadaver Society” is a secret society of students at Washington and Lee in Lexington, Virginia, United States. The group’s membership and organizational structure are unknown. Cadaver has been in continuous operation since its founding in 1957. The Cadavers have a bridge that bears their name, connecting the main campus to Wilson Field, as well as their symbol in many prominent places throughout the campus. In contrast with the non secretive membership of the Sigma Society, the Cadaver Society is strictly anonymous.


5. The Rosicrucians


Founded in the early fifteenth century by Christian Rosenkreutz, the Rosicrucians were purported to be using occult practices to bring about a global transformation. Two centuries later, the publication of three manifestos launched them into the popular consciousness. They are believed by discerning conspiracy theorists to have founded the Freemasons, the Illuminati, and the Invisible College, and to have been the guiding force behind every significant revolution in modern history.


4. The Order Of The Nine Angles


The Order of Nine Angles (ONA, O9A) is a controversial occult group for a variety of reasons. For it has been claimed that they “represent a dangerous and extreme form of Satanism”. The ONA is unlike most, if not all, contemporary Occult orders or organizations in that it has no centralized organization, no person claiming to be its leader, no formal membership, and – as the ONA – holds no public activities, meetings, or events, issues no public statements, and detests the use of titles. Instead, it is a particular type of secret society; a collection of covert localized groups (small clandestine cells) and anonymous individuals who identify with or who support its aims, methods, and goals.


3. The Elders of Zion


In 1920, a newspaper owned by industrialist Henry Ford ran a series of articles reprinting a Russian document called the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The document was quickly debunked as a hoax, but those articles were collected as a book, newly titled The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem. Adolph Hitler read the book, was influenced by it, and appropriated many of its ideas for himself. Anti-Semitic theorists around the world still believe that the Protocols were genuine and that there was once a Jewish conspiracy to achieve world domination.


2. The Order Of The Skull And Bones


The Skull and Bones Society at Yale University was founded by William H Russell in 1832. Originally called the Eulogian Club, the Skull and Bones society boasts many important heads of state (including at least three presidents of the United States), prominent figures in the field of industry, and heads of agencies among its membership. The society meets twice a week for rituals.

1. The Illuminati

Perhaps the most famous of all secret societies is the Illuminati. Originally, the Illuminati was a branch of the Freemasons, however they have since become a major focus for conspiracy theorists, many of whom credit the Illuminati for every major disaster, economic turmoil and any other world event. There is no evidence to suggest that the group still exists, but this just adds to the mystery of the Illuminati.