There's always a lot of buzz around whether or not the Illuminati is ~real~ or not. So, we decided to do a deep dive into the origins of the Illuminati and theories surrounding it today.
It turns out the Illuminati actually has a very real historical origin story. In 1776, a German professor named Adam Weishaupt decided to form an organization to promote his strong beliefs rooted in secularism and rational thought. Originally, he wanted to join the Freemasons, but unfortunately he couldn't afford the admission fee.
So, Weishaupt decided to form his own organization. He called it "the Order of the Illuminati."
The Order of the Illuminati had an anti-religious stance and focused on self-knowledge, self-improvement, social reform, and free thought. Conservatives soon considered this a threat to the church and they put a stop to the Illuminati by the late 1780s.
However, members persisted, with some moving to France to continue their work. Some people believe the order eventually dissolved; others believe it survived and was just flying under the radar.
So, we sat down with Kathryn Olmsted, a professor of history at the University of California, Davis. Olmsted explained that the Illuminati has historically been the subject of several conspiracy theories. First, Fascists believed they were Jews, and then, after World War II, extremist anti-Communists believed the Illuminati were Communists.
Most recently, Illuminati conspiracy theorists believe the Illuminati seek to create a New World Order with a dominant totalitarian government.
Some people believe the conspiracy goes as high up as the White House. In a speech after the onset of the Persian Gulf War, President George H. W. Bush said, “We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a new world order — a world where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations.”
Assuming the Illuminati and the New World Order are one and the same, what does it all mean?
The first theory we'll discuss is from Mark Koernke, a right-wing militia activist and propagandist who believes that the NWO is made up of the US government, the UN, and various other organizations pushing an international agenda.
He believes this organization will take away Americans’ rights, form an all-powerful government, and put non-Illuminati members in camps run by FEMA.
The second theory is from David Icke, who believes that world leaders, including Queen Elizabeth, George W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, and the Clintons, are actually lizards (yep, you read that right). He believes these lizard elite are behind the Freemasons and the Illuminati.
According to Icke, this lizard race feeds off the human race and occasionally demands human sacrifices. He also thinks that fluoride in water is added for the purpose of “blocking your pituitary gland and keeping you in ignorance.”
And he's not alone in his thinking — a national 2013 poll revealed that 4% of voters polled believe that “lizard people” control our societies.
The third theory is that the NWO is connected to the Antichrist because the Illuminati are Satanists.
Pat Robertson, a conservative Christian, wrote a book on the NWO and claimed they were responsible for the French Revolution, the Communist Manifesto, and the Federal Reserve.
The fourth theory is from Donald Marshall, who claims the Illuminati are killing celebrities and replacing them with clones used to brainwash society.
Suspected celebrity clones include Beyoncé, Eminem, Al Roker, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and many more.
Conspiracy theorists even point to video evidence of celebrities apparently "freezing" on camera, claiming that they are clones experiencing glitches.
Whether or not they believe the clone theory, many conspiracy theorists agree that major celebrities are in the Illuminati. They point to clothing choices and hand gestures, mainly that of a pyramid (thought to be an Illuminati symbol) as proof that certain celebrities are in the Illuminati.
Beyoncé and Jay Z have been known to make a pyramid-like symbol with their hands, though this is also similar to the symbol for Jay Z’s label, Roc-A-Fella Records.
Kanye West is another purported Illuminati member. He owns a necklace containing the symbol of the Eye of Horus, which is associated with the Illuminati.
In our research, we came across a website that calls itself the "official website of the Illuminati." It even has a section called "Join The Illuminati."
So, we reached out to try and confirm the existence of the Illuminati. We got a response from a PR director who wrote, “Unfortunately members of the Illuminati are not currently available for on camera interviews.” She also mentioned, “There are many misconceptions about my client's organization."
For now, we can't be sure of the existence of the Illuminati... but Beyoncé, if you're reading this — we're available for interviews whenever you are. ;)
vote votesUM. Duh. Bey and Jay let me in please.
vote votesLizard people? Stop smoking, BuzzFeed.