Collegiate secret societies have long existed, and members have gone on to hold positions of power and even run countries.
The Bilderberg Group
The Bilderberg Group is an annual meeting that takes place over three days. It is made up of informal discussions designed to foster dialogue between Europe and northern America and consists of representatives from economic, social, political, and cultural fields.
The first meeting was at the Hotel De Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, The Netherlands, 29-31 May 1954. Attendees are political leaders and industry experts and discuss a wide range of topics such as trade, technology, investment, climate change, and monetary policy.
Although not a secret society, their methods are secretive. Names of attendees are not released before the conference, and the meeting is closed to the public and media. There is no press release issued and no minutes taken during the session. These secretive talks have fired up the imagination of conspiracy theorists that believe that members of the Bilderberg meetings are a secret political clique trying to install a New World Order.
Opus Dei is a Roman Catholic organization whose members seek personal Christian perfection.
They exist surrounded by controversy and have been accused of secrecy, cult-like practices, political ambition, aggressive recruiting tactics, and the brainwashing and isolation of initiates.
The Order began in Spain in 1928 by St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer y Albas, with separate branches for men and women. Since 1982 Opus Dei has been run by a Bishop elected by members who can establish seminaries and promote students to Holy Orders. Initiates have a 5-year probation before being inducted into the organization.
Opus Dei members commonly practice self-sacrifices such as fasting and abstinence. One of their more extreme rituals is self-mortification, often using a cilice. This is a spiked chain worn around the upper thigh. This device will be familiar if you have read Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code or watched the movie adaptation.
Order of Skull and Bones
The Order of Skull and Bones was founded in 1832 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, at Yale University.
William Huntington Russell and Alphonso Taft created Yale’s oldest secret society for senior students that they called Bonesmen. Many Skull and Bones members have reached influential positions, with William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush going on to be president of the United States.
The affairs of the Skull and Bones are secret, and they have been accused of controlling the CIA and even being a branch of the Illuminati trying to install a New World Order.
The emblem of the Order is a skull and crossbones with the number “322” underneath. The number is thought to mean 322 BCE when Greek orator Demosthenes died, and Ancient Athens moved from a democracy to a plutocracy.
They choose 15 new members every spring and only began admitting women into the Order in 1992.
The Scroll and Key Society
The Scroll and Key Society was founded in 1842 by John Addison Porter at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
The secret society was formed after disputes occurred over elections to The Order of Skull and Bones, which was a highly sought-after membership. It is the second oldest secret society at Yale and reputably the wealthiest. They fund their activities and even make donations to the university.
The Scroll and Key Society emphasize honest debate and secrecy. They induct 15 seniors each year, all of whom are high achievers in diverse areas. They were initially a literary, dramatic, and debating Society where members were free to express their beliefs, argue their ideas, and discuss new ways of thinking.
The first female member was admitted into The Scroll and Key Society in 1989 and was the fifth society at Yale to do so. Scroll and Key members apparently meet twice weekly for dinner and debates at their on-campus building or ‘tomb.’
The Cambridge Apostles is a secret society at Cambridge University, England. It was founded in 1820 by George Tomlinson, and most members come from Saint John’s, Trinity, and King’s colleges.
They are predominantly a discussion group covering topics of truth, God, and ethics. They began to admit select women in the 1970s, and potential candidates, male and female, didn’t know they had been nominated until they were accepted.
The group’s name dates from the original Society membership of 12, symbolizing the 12 apostles of Jesus. During the initiation ceremony, initiates are briefed on the history and traditions of the Apostles, they have to sign ‘The Book,’ which is a list of members and rules, and they have to swear a vow of secrecy.
Active members are called Apostles, while former members and fellows are called Angels. Every few years, secret meetings of Angels take place at a Cambridge college or a London venue.
The Seven Society can be found at the University of Virginia, Charlotteville, USA.
Shrouded in mystery, no one knows for sure when the Seven Society was founded, although the first Society symbol was found in the 1905 yearbook. The symbol of the Seven Society is the numeral 7, surrounded by the Alpha, Omega, and infinity signs.
How members are chosen or who they are is a well-guarded secret. Names of members are only revealed after their death. At a member’s funeral, the university chapel bells, gifts from the Society, will toll at seven past the hour, in increments of 7, every 7 seconds, for 7 minutes.
They’re a group focused on philanthropy specifically to support the university. The Society is known for leaving gifts in amounts that include the number 7. For example, $77.77 was donated to fund a drinking fountain.