What is Illuminati?.. Are they Real? - Read More here

The Illuminati was a secret society that promoted ideas in opposition to those of the Church and was founded in 1776 by Bavarian Jesuit Adam Weishaupt. Illuminati also refers to modern organizations that claim to have ties to secret societies, such as the original Bavarian group.
But Are They Real???…

Yeah. They very much are real!

While not much is known about the group (most of what's written about them is in German), they began as a secret society, initially with five members—that would go on to include dukes and literary men in Bavaria—who opposed the Roman Catholic Church's power over science and philosophy, and who sought to free themselves from the church and restrictions of the government. This is the Age of Enlightenment we're talking about here, so they also wanted to "enlighten" people about their superstitions and prejudices.

But, like most secret societies, they didn't stay very "secret" for long, and people gossiped about the mission of the group. Some believed they were behind the French Revolution and had their eyes on other governments to take down.

Who founded the Order of the Illuminati?

That would be Adam Weishaupt, a German philosopher.

In 1773, Weishaupt was made the chair of canon law at the University of Ingolstadt, a university in Bavaria that was largely influenced by the Roman Catholic Church. Before his appointment, the position had been occupied by priests for 90 years. Two years later he was made dean of the university at the age of 27—and many of the priests at the university weren't happy with the young hotshot who was gaining power. Jesuits and Weishaupt fought over the church's "intolerance" and "bigotry," and this led Weishaupt to conclude that a secret group of like-minded thinkers would be the only way to overthrow the status quo. So, he wanted to be a Freemason, of course. Only problem is that he didn't have the money to pay the admission fee (and he also concluded in the end that the Freemasons weren't secret enough). Making his own society was the next best alternative.

The Order of the Illuminati would grow from five members to thousands, thanks to recruitment from Freemason lodges and other European countries. Because they became so popular, staying hidden wasn't so easy. Secret societies were made illegal and punishable by death a few years after Karl Theodor became ruler of Bavaria in 1777. This was the end of the Order of the Illuminati (so we think). Weishaupt moved to Gotha, Germany, where he died in exile.

What happened to the group after the ban?

Symbol of the Ordo Templi Orientis.

Because the Order of the Illuminati got so big at its peak, other splinter groups formed. And as those groups came to an end, people throughout the following decades and into the next centuries would take it upon themselves to create Illuminati-linked groups. The offshoots include the Ordo Templi Orientis that founder Theodore Reuss tried to make a successor to the Illuminati in 1880 (they use "Illuminati" as a rank in their group), the Illuminati Order in 1988, and Orden Illuminati in 1995. But none of these groups held the power over society that conspiracists claim the modern Illuminati have.

Then why do we still hear so much about them today?

Nesta Helen Webster

Today's interest in the Illuminati has lasted because some believe the group continued long after Theodor's ban on secret societies. Over the course of the next centuries, it's thought that the Illuminati have courted the world's biggest players in politics, industry, media, and entertainment. This was spurred on by the popularity of writers/conspiracy theorists like Augustin Barruel, Nesta Helen Webster, William Guy Carr​, David Icke and Mark Dice, who believe the Illuminati are still in operation (unlike Weishaupt's Order of the Illuminati, this iteration would have to be kept secret for the long run).

Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus! trilogy and Dan Brown's book Angels and Demons helped popularize the group. Angels and Demonswas made into a movie starring Tom Hanks, and follows his character as he solves an Illuminati puzzle while trying to find an assassin who's working for the group.

What does the modern Illuminati want to do?

The same thing they try to do every night: *The Brain voice*... try to take over the world!

But seriously, that's it. It's like Weishaupt's original plan, but on steroids. According to theorists, the Illuminati have been conspiring to establish a "New World Order" that would set up a single government to control the planet. The Illuminati supposedly has agents who control movies, music, banks, governments, and other powerful institutions, and their influence, combined with strategic decisions, will result in this totalitarian one-world government, or another sinister outcome. Theorists have pointed to other secret societies, like Skull and Bones and the Bilderberg Group, to claim that they're front organizations for the Illuminati.

There are so many theorists speculating about the shadow organization, and each theory is different. Nesta Helen Webster's theory states that the Illuminati was run by elite Jewish people to spread communism and capitalism to divide the world, and then rule it. In the early 1900s, Christian fundamentalists claimed that the Illuminati's New World Order would be a sign of the coming of the antichrist. Two of the biggest supporters of this theory were the John Birch Society’s Blue Book in 1958, which outlined the mission of a society like the Illuminati, and Pat Robertson’s book, The New World Order.

So far, theorists have linked the Illuminati to the deaths of Tupac, Michael Jackson, JFK, and Princess Diana, as well as the 9/11 attacks, the French Revolution, and pretty much everything else.

Who's been flagged as a member?

Of course, if you're a part of this secret society, it's your job to do just that: keep it secret. But the list of supposed members stretches far. You have businessmen like billionaire Warren Buffet (above) who've been accused, and Yahoo! News made an entire list of celebrities they think are Illuminati, backed by photographic evidence (the "666" hand symbol apparently being evidence enough). The list includes:

Kanye West
Jay Z
LeBron James
Lindsay Lohan
Lady Gaga
Kim Kardashian
​But there's a lot more people who are supposedly part of the Illuminati, including George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Hitler, Justin Bieber, and The 1 percent. Michael Jackson is said to either be a member, or someone who tried to expose the Illuminati (which is allegedly why he was killed). By definition, a member can be anyone who has power or influence. Like, say, if you Google "Chris Brown Illuminati," someone's already made the Illuminati connection. Take that as you will.

Is there evidence for the existence of the Illuminati?

If you want evidence, all you have to do is search YouTube for it, and you'll find plenty of people who think they've found it. There are a ton of creepy videos, like the one above, that explain the Illuminati's supposed power. Many of the videos tap into people's fears (which is why a lot of them add a soundtrack full of horrifying sounds and sometimes show violent pictures). Symbols that are now synonymous with the Illuminati are the Eye of Horus and the pyramid (which are both famously on American currency). Since the Illuminati are said to have influence over entertainment, finding those symbols on television or in movies is alleged proof of their involvement.

It's interesting that these symbols became intertwined with our vision of the Illuminati, and not the Owl of Minerva, which was the Order of the Illuminati's original symbol.

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