Friday, November 16, 2012
In popular culture and the realm of wild and weird conspiracy theories, no secret organization has become as well known as the Illuminati, who have made frequent appearances in books, movies, and television. The group as it is popularly understood is more or less a myth, but the legend of it dates back to a real organization that existed in Germany in the late 1700s. At the time, the members of the group presented themselves as an order of enlightened free thinkers. The press soon turned against them, and they came to be regarded by many as an underground force of dissidents intent on overthrowing the government, and they were even blamed for inciting the French Revolution. The group disbanded shortly thereafter, but their influence remained strong, and for years after their dissolution they were rumored to still be operating somewhere in the shadows.
Thanks to its constant presence in popular culture, the Illuminati have continued to be feared to this day. Modern conspiracy theorists have asserted that the group survived and now operates as a sinister shadow government, directing world industry and politics as it sees fit. The Bush family, Winston Churchill, and President Barack Obama have all been named as prominent members, but no legitimate evidence of such a group has ever been uncovered. Still, the rumor lives on as one of the most popular, albeit bizarre, of all conspiracy theories.
Goethe, Ferdinand of Brunswick