This archive was appropriated from...
The Fortean Times
DAVID HAMBLING traces the
hidden history of the most notorious conspiracy of all time, while
DAVID V BARRETT assesses its modern legacy.
Once, the Illuminati were
barely a rumour. An ancient conspiracy manipulating humankind for
their own dark purposes, they were the hidden hand behind history.
They infiltrated the corridors of power via groups like the
Freemasons, starting revolutions and toppling kingdoms. They gained
control of the international banking system, allowing them to
covertly rule the world.
In recent years, though, this
blanket of secrecy has been gradually lifted. Now the secrecy has
been eroded. First, in 1975, there were the three books later
published as the single-volume
The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson;
then there was a best-selling game; these days, the Illuminati crop
up in every corner of popular culture, from Dan Brown’s
Angels and Demons to
Tomb Raider. But the truth
about the Illuminati remains as elusive as ever.
As a political conspiracy, the
group known as the Bavarian Illuminati was actually very
short-lived. A secret society dedicated to spreading republicanism,
it was founded in 1776 and outlawed in 1790, after which it ceased
to function. While they caused much alarm, the Bavarian Illuminati
were notably unsuccessful as revolutionaries. They may have inspired
other groups, but there is little evidence that the Illuminati
themselves endured as a political force. However, this group was the
artificial creation of one man – and an imitation of a far older
and more influential Illuminati. And to find out about them we must
travel back to 16th-century Spain.
THE "NEW CHRISTIANS"
For centuries, most of Spain was under Moorish rule, with Muslims,
Jews and Christians living peacefully together in what has been
described as a golden age of the arts and sciences. However, by the
late Middle Ages the Moorish kingdoms were falling one by one to
Christian conquerors, a process known as the
Reconquista. The new
regime had a slogan: “One country, one faith”. Having expelled the
Moors, they next decided to resolve the ‘Jewish question’.
There had been public violence
against the Jews since 1391, followed by a strong pressure on them
to convert. In 1492, the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella
issued a final edict that Jews must be baptised into the Catholic
Church or be expelled from Spain. Many left, but others stayed, and
the many thousands of Conversos, or ‘New Christians’, now made up
much of Spain’s educated urban middle class.
Ironically, then, the effect
of the edict was perhaps precisely the opposite of what was
families who had previously been shunned for their religion were now
equal to their neighbours.
Conversos could occupy public office, and frequently did, often
rising to high position. Converso authors and poets contributed
greatly to Spanish culture; even Cervantes, Spain’s greatest author,
may have come from such a family.  And the Church now found
itself faced with a new generation of young priests from
Prejudice dies hard, and many
Old Christians deeply resented their new brothers in religion.
Inevitably, conspiracy theories began to surface, suggesting that
the Conversos were infiltrating the state and the Church in order to
take them over. The idea was popularised by Friar Alonso de Espina
in a 1466 tract, Fortalitium
Fidei Contra Judaeos (Fortress of Faith against the Jews).
A chronicler in Seville
recorded a plot by a group of senior
Conversos against the
authorities in 1481. They were gathering men and arms for a revolt,
and believed that they could get the people to support them. But the
plotters were betrayed – the beautiful daughter of their leader was
in love with a Christian – arrested, and the ringleaders publicly
executed. The story provided justification for later generations who
believed that the Conversos could not be trusted. It was not until
the 20th century that historian Henry Kamen proved the whole thing
was a complete fabrication. 
Laws of racial purity were
passed to prevent those with Jewish blood from holding public
office, and in 1478 a new organisation was set up to deal with
religious subversion: the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition was
zealous in following up any allegation that Conversos might be
secretly following their old religion and, using torture and
psychological terror, set about ensuring that nobody strayed from
the true path.
Conversos were sincere
Christians, and they brought new ideas into Christianity. In 1511,
Spain saw the first stirrings of a movement whose followers were
called Illuminati in Latin
or Alumbrados in Spanish.
In English, we might call them ‘Enlightened Ones’. Pedro Ruiz de
Alcaraz preached a form of Christianity which involved contemplation
to achieve the mystical experience of seeing the Light of God
directly. The Alumbrados
emphasised the power of God’s love and the ineffectiveness of human
effort – including even that of the Church. For them, ecstatic
vision and personal communion replaced ecclesiastical ritual and
Alumbrados came from old
aristocratic families, but the majority were
Conversos. In the 1520s,
the Inquisition established that the
Alumbrados were heretical
and set about exterminating them. The movement was forced into
hiding. For curious political reasons, the
Alumbrados were accused,
and frequently convicted, of being Protestant Lutherans, an entirely
unrelated ‘heresy’. It’s a bit like convicting Buddhists of being
Hindu, and must have added a surreal (even Pythonesque) air to the
Ignatius of Loyola was among
those accused of being an
Alumbrado.  Cleared, he became a priest and founded the Order
of Jesus or Jesuits, which became a powerful elite acting under the
direct authority of the Pope. The Jesuits also had a lasting
hostility to the Inquisition, although it was Jesuit influence that
helped end Illuminism in Spain; rather than opposing mysticism, they
embraced it, making the Church more appealing to would-be
Alumbrados. The movement
didn’t completely die out, though, resurfacing in France as the
Illumines. But, as a major religious movement, Illuminism had lost
The Spanish experience
contains all the elements associated with the Illuminati. A movement
inspired by visionaries defies the established order; it faces a
society racked by a fear of infiltration; and there is a violent
reaction, driving the movement underground. The popular image of the
Illuminati as we know them – a conspiracy against society,
perpetrated by Jews – was born.
Where did the
Alumbrado heresy come
from? Mainstream Jewish thought certainly does not encourage the
rejection of religious authorities in favour of a direct personal
approach to a God of light. But such a belief is the hallmark of the
mystical Jewish movement known as Kabbalah.
Derived from the word for ‘to receive’, Kabbalah – also spelled
Cabala or Qabbalah – is a tradition which deals with the
understanding of God and personal mystical experience. The major
work of the Kabbalah is the
Sefer Zohar or Book of
Splendour, compiled in Spain by Moses of Leon around 1280.
Although he claimed the contents were derived from much earlier
sources, modern scholars believe that the
Zohar was Moses de Leon’s
own work, a synthesis of the thinking of the time and his own new
material.  By couching it in traditional form and writing in
Aramaic, he gave the Zohar
more authority and made its new ideas acceptable to his contemporary
audience, thus avoiding charges of heresy from more orthodox
The Kabbalah is a theology of
light in which the Universe is described in terms of 10 ‘sephiroth’
– attributes or aspects of God. These are described as spheres
through which the light of God is transmitted to mankind. The
sephiroth give shape to the divine light and are separate but also
one with it “in the same way as the rays which proceed from the
light are simply manifestations of one and the same light”.
Each of the sephiroth has its
own name and qualities, including ‘Binah’ or Understanding,
‘Hokhmah’ or Wisdom and so on. Each relates to the others in
particular ways and they form a structure which is described in
terms of a tree or a primordial human figure, Adam Kadmon. As the
first created being and link between mankind and God, Adam Kadmon is
involved in the creation and also the redemption of the world, when
evil will finally be expunged. Matters then get progressively more
complex: emanating from the 10 sephiroth is a second world of
another 10, which is the physical world we know. There are also
third and fourth worlds, occupied by hosts of named angels and
demons, each with particular attributes.
Names are very important in
the Kabbalah, as the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are literally
the building blocks of the Universe. God created the world through
the act of naming. The combinations of letters encompass everything
that ever has been or will be.
This gives rise to the
hermeneutical aspect of Kabbalah, a way of decoding messages
concealed in the scriptures. There are three different techniques:
Temura: changing the
letters of words to create other words by anagrams
Gemetria: in which letters
have numerical values and can be compared with other numbers or
Notarokon: making words
from the initials of phrases (so “Ateh Gibor le-Olam Adonai” – “Thou
art mighty forever, Lord” becomes AGLA).
This provided Renaissance
Kabbalists with a great deal of occupation as they painstakingly
shuffled words and numbers to reveal the secret truths about the
Universe and to uncover the many powerful names of God. They
calculated, for example, that there are exactly 301,655,172 angels
in the Universe. What their modern counterparts can do with the aid
of computer technology can scarcely be imagined. 
It is this side that gives
rise to “practical Kabbalah”. The
Zohar contains details of
how to communicate with hidden powers, explaining how to command
angels and demons to influence nature, cure disease, curse enemies,
predict the future and perform other wonders. For example, a piece
of Kabbalah folklore allows a married couple to predict which of
them will die first, by adding the numbers of their names together
and seeing if the result is odd or even.
Alumbrados appeared in
areas such as Toledo, which were previously centres for Kabbalism,
and although they seem to have lacked the scholarship of the
Kabbalah, the core idea of personal experience of God’s light
persisted. This may be because
Conversos maintained only their oral traditions after the loss
of their Hebrew and Aramaic books. Interestingly, many
Alumbrado leaders were
women, a group which would not in any case have had access to the
written component of the Kabbalah.
A LIGHT FOR THE WORLD
If the Alumbrados
represented the resurfacing of an oral tradition, then the scholarly
tradition of the Kabbalah also survived and thrived elsewhere. Spain
was the great centre of Kabbalistic learning, and the expulsion of
Jews spread Kabbalists to North Africa, the Ottoman Empire,
Palestine and Italy. The latter was to prove significant, as the
humanist philosopher Pico Della Mirandolla picked up the Kabbalah
and Christianised it. Mirandolla explained Kabbalah as a theology
which predicted Christianity and contained many of the same
elements. (The Christian version is often spelled Cabbala to
distinguish it from Jewish Kabbalah.)
In 1494, a leading theologian,
Johannes Reuchlin wrote De
verbo mirifico, in which he showed that the Biblical name of
God, the Hebrew letters YHWH, could be miraculously transformed into
JESUS by Cabbalistic means. Adam Kadmon was also identified with
The Catholic Church eventually
ruled against Cabbala, concluding: “Its speculations concerning
God’s nature and relation to the Universe differ materially from the
teachings of Revelation.”  Its study was considered heretical,
and practical Cabbala was a black art, driven underground once
again. This did nothing to destroy its popularity, and Cabbala
became a staple of Renaissance magic; it also gave rise to the word
‘Cabal’ for a group of plotters.
Cabbala has appeared either
overtly or in concealed form in much occult teaching since then. It
was borrowed, adapted and built upon; in modern terms, unlicensed
pirate copies were in free circulation. Its ancient pedigree gives
it authority, its dense scholarship lends it weight and depth,
making Cabbala the ideal ingredient to add to any philosophy for an
instant boost – the monosodium glutamate of the occult.
Scratch the surface of
Freemasonry and you find the Cabbala. Rosicrucianism is rife with
it. It lies at the heart of esoteric religious groups like the OTO,
the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley’s ‘magick’.
None of this could be described as pure, but then Cabbalistic
scholarship has never been pure. Since the earliest days, there have
been cross-currents with other philosophies, most notably the
first-century Gnostics, Hermetic philsophy, Persian Zoroastrians and
the even earlier Pythagoreans. It is quite possible – and hotly
debated – that the ‘original’ Kabbalah may have come from one of
these sources and was only later adopted into Judaism. Adam Kadmon
looks rather similar to the Persian Adam Qadmaia, the hidden Adam.
There is no continuous ancient tradition, but an unceasing blending
and development of ideas.
However, new developments can
always do with an impressive lineage to back them up, and everyone –
from the Freemasons to Moses de Leon to the first-century Kabbalists
– who invoked Moses has tended to invent an ancient pedigree to
support their own ideas.
THE TWO SIDES OF THE
As we have seen, there are two very different sides to Illuminism.
One is the popular view of the Illuminati as villains behind
everything from Freemasonry to Satanism, with the recurrence of
various plundered symbols giving the impression of a unified
movement. Adam Weishaupt’s Bavarian Illuminati, founded to “attain
the highest degree of virtue”, were quickly demonised. Weishaupt
came from a Jewish family, had a Jesuit education and was a
Freemason – all factors that counted against him. In more recent
times, Illuminati paranoia has moved from political radicals to
international banks, also depicted as shadowy organisations
controlled by Jews. Laughable as this idea may seem, such beliefs in
a powerful conspiracy that was undermining society helped propel the
Nazis to power in 1933, while similar notions are current among
ultra-nationalists in Russia today.
The other Illuminati are the
heirs to the Kabbalistic tradition. As always, their teachings are
confined to the few, because it is an esoteric path for those
willing to put in the effort, rather than an exoteric one for the
many. Trying to make complex and subtle doctrine simple destroys its
essence. It’s like trying to stuff a cream cake into your pocket:
you could do it, but you no longer have a cake, only a sticky mess.
Such teachings can be easily misunderstood and the doctrine
distorted, losing its truth.
Modern organisations like the
Kabbalah Centre want to make the Kabbalah more accessible,
suggesting that the Zohar can be ‘read’ by running your hands over
the text. The Centre also sells red string wristbands to protect
from the evil eye at , Kabbalah water spray for , or a complete
Zohar for 5.  Whatever
the metaphysical objections, the Centre has attracted stars like
Madonna and Britney Spears with its promises to “bring more money
into your life, ignite sexual energy and… radiate beauty to all who
But you may be sure that the
real Illuminati are still there, and those that look for them will
be able to find them. They may want personal transformation rather
than global domination, but those who reject authority in favour of
finding their own truth will always be unpopular with the powers
1 Kevin S Larsen: “Cervantes,
Don Quijote, and the Hebrew Scriptures”
2 Henry Kamen:
The Spanish Inquisition: A
Historical Revision, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1997,
3 Mention should also be
made of the blessed Ramon Llull (1232–1316), a Spanish Christian
philosopher who spent much time debating with theologians from other
faiths. His works describe the Creation in terms of divine lights
and a distinctly Cabbalistic (or proto-Cabbalistic) ‘art of
combination’. He is known as Doctor Illuminatus.
4 Darren Aronofsky’s
wonderful 1998 movie
Pi (1998) includes an
exploration of this idea.
5 See “Catholic
By David Hambling
ADAM WEISHAUPT AND THE
The organisation known as the Illuminati – or the Ancient
Illuminated Seers of Bavaria – was initially called the Order of
Perfectibilists, and was founded on 1 May 1776 by a young professor
of Natural and Canon Law at the University of Ingoldstat in Bavaria
(pp74–76). He was Adam Weishaupt (1748–1811 or 1830), a Jew brought
up as a Catholic, who converted to Protestantism and had a strong
interest in the esoteric tradition that led him to join the
Freemasons in 1774.
Weishaupt’s aim was to perfect both the world and the individual
(hence the Order’s original name), a project he described as:
“illumination, enlightening the understanding by the Sun of reason,
which will dispel the clouds of superstition and of prejudice”.
Weishaupt’s radical version of Enlightenment involved the abolition
of nations, monarchies and religions, and had the ultimate intention
of doing away with all social structures, including private
property and marriage.
Members of the Illuminati were organised into cells that reported
to an Unknown Superior, thus preserving secrecy but also (despite
Weishaupt’s avowedly egalitarian beliefs) maintaining a distance
between lower and higher-grade members.
Indeed, although he had found no deep spirituality in the Masonic
lodge he had joined earlier, Weishaupt was a firm believer in the
secret doctrines, the ancient wisdom teachings, which he believed
lay at the heart of both Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism.
Illuminati began with Weishaupt and four friends in 1776. By 1779,
it had 54 members in five lodges around Bavaria, and then began to
expand beyond it by infiltrating and taking over existing Masonic
lodges. Within five years, it had some 650 members in lodges around
Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Switzerland and northern Italy.
organisation’s revolutionary beliefs had also attracted attention,
despite its structure as a secret society, with both Church and
State determined to quash it. In 1784, Karl Theodor, Elector of
Bavaria, banned all secret societies; in 1785, the Illuminati were
specifically named as a seditious group, with Weishaupt stripped of
his university post and banished from Bavaria. The authorities
seized a great deal of Illuminati documentation, and clamped down on
its members, most of whom also fled the country.
Weishaupt settled in Gotha in Saxony, where he received a pension
from Duke Ernst II and taught Philosophy at the University of
Göttingen. Without his leadership, the Illuminati very quickly died
out. It had lasted a mere 10 years – but its reputation continues
By David V Barrett
10 ILLUMINATI CONSPIRACIES
In their bid to control the
world, the Illuminati are said to have had their hidden fingers in
all sorts of conspiratorial pies over the centuries. Possibly the
scariest thing about these theories is the way they all tend to link
up somewhere along the line: tug on virtually any thread of popular
conspiracy theory and it will eventually lead you to the Illuminati.
In the Internet age, this network of interconnections is becoming
ever more tangled, with many websites having taken paranoia as an
art form to a pitch of dizzying baroque splendour.
Quickly infiltrated by Weishaupt’s Illuminati and pursuing world
domination on the quiet ever since. In reality, the main result of
Weishaupt’s takeover attempt was the conspiracy theories of Robison
and Barruel, and thus a legacy of hostility from national
oligarchies and the Catholic Church towards Masonry.
The Great Seal of the United
The Masonic/Illuminati conspiracy is revealed in the ‘secret’
symbolism of the ‘Eye in the Pyramid’ adopted in 1782 and still to
be seen on the dollar bill (top). (In fact, the ‘all seeing eye’,
representing omniscient deity, and the pyramid below it,
representing lasting strength, are not Masonic symbols, and of the
14-strong design committee for the seal only Benjamin Franklin was a
Mason. ‘Novus Ordo seclorum’ doesn’t mean New World Order or even
New Secular Order, no matter what Dan Brown says.
The Jewish conspiracy
Scratch a Mason, Satanist or international banker and you’ll find a
Jew, say the conspiracy theorists. Underlying many of the Illuminati
conspiracy theories is a strain of anti-Semitic thought that even
includes belief in the discredited Protocols of the Elders of Zion,
the document that supposedly proves a Jewish plan for world
domination (and a proven forgery – see FT131:7; 136:37–38).
A cabal of 13 immensely powerful Satanist families – including such
names as Astor, Rothschild, Rockefeller, Onassis as well as the
Merovingian bloodline of European monarchy – have been using mind
control techniques on an unsuspecting populace to maintain their
grip on power. Some of these families are either aliens, Jews (or
possibly both) to boot!
According to David Icke, the Illuminati are a race of
shape-shifting reptilian aliens from ‘the lower fourth dimension’,
counting among their number such human-alien hybrids as George W
Bush, Hillary Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II and Kris Kristofferson.
Other accounts suggest that the Illuminati have been working
hand-in-glove with the notorious ‘Grays’, opposed by the ‘friendly’
aliens of the Galactic Federation and even, in some theories, crop
circle-makers trying to reveal Illuminati plans.
The New World Order
The Illuminati are behind pretty much every major international body
in the political and financial realms, including the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund, the Trilateral Commission, the
Bilderberg Group, the United Nations, the EU and the International
Criminal Court. Their aim is to work behind the scenes to brainwash
the masses into accepting a global government, centralised economic
control and a single world religion.
We’ve all had bad experiences with Windows – which should come as no
surprise when we realise that Bill Gates is in fact the latter-day
incarnation of none other than Adam Weishaupt. The name is a dead
giveaway: Bill = B(avarian) Ill(uminati), Gates = Geheime
Amerikanische Tochtergenosssenschaft der Erleuchteten Seher, the
American Illuminati lodge. Simple.
The Bohemian Club
Meeting each year since 1872 at “the world’s most prestigious summer
camp”, this ‘secret society’ dreamt up by some San Francisco
journalists in 1872 is a front for all kinds of
Illuminist/Satanic/New World Order goings-on, including naked
wrestling, strange pageants involving giant owls and (the story
goes) S&M and necrophilia.
From college Fraternity societies like Phi Beta Kappa (formed, very
quickly, in 1776 by American illuminists and a direct link to
Weishaupt, the theory goes) to ‘secret’ college societies like
Yale’s Skull and Bones, these incubators of the future great and
good have come under much suspicion as potential Illuminati breeding
grounds, producing powerful politicians and industrialists, top
spies and, of course, George W Bush.
Abstruse numerological interpretations of the 9/11 and 7/7 bombings
show that these supposed terrorist attacks actually have the name of
the Illuminati written all over them, for those who can read the
clues. Don’t try this at home.
Finally, please note that none
of the theories expounded here is supported by Fortean Times
or its editors.
By David Sutton
SECRET RULERS OF THE WORLD
The growth of a conspiracy
astonishing that a small, short-lived society in southern Germany
over two centuries ago should have taken such a strong hold on
conspiracy theorists worldwide. It has been said that it is
irrelevant whether the Illuminati actually control the world; if
enough people are foolish enough to believe that they do, then, in a
sense, they do.
Conspiracy theories about the Illuminati began only a decade after
the demise of the Order, stemming from the work of two writers,
John Robison and Augustin de Barruel, each with an agenda of his
1797, John Robison, Professor of Natural Philosophy at the
University of Edinburgh, wrote a book with the all-embracing (though
hardly snappy) title, Proofs
of a Conspiracy Against All the Religions and Governments of Europe,
carried on in the secret Meetings of Free Masons, Illuminati, and
Reading Societies, collected from good authorities.
Freemason himself, Robison’s aim was actually to distance socially
respectable British Freemasonry from what he saw as some of the more
dubious continental varieties. Robison’s book is full of factual
errors, but its influential central thesis was that the Illuminati,
after abolishing all religions and governments, “would rule the
World with uncontrollable power, while all the rest would be
employed as tools of the ambition of their unknown superiors”.
Augustin de Barruel, a former Jesuit, was the author of
Mémoires pour servir a
l’histoire du Jacobinisme, a four-volume work published in 1797
and 1798 and equally full of erroneous stories – including the
much-cited one that the downfall of the Illuminati began when one of
their couriers, Franz Lang or Jacob Lanz, was struck by lightning
and killed. Sewn into secret pockets in his clothes, it is said,
were coded messages from Adam Weishaupt, which were discovered by
the Bavarian police and led directly to the ban on the Order. In an
echo of accusations against other ‘secret societies’, de Barruel
said the Illuminati “had sworn hatred to the altar and the throne,
had sworn to crush the God of the Christians, and utterly to
extirpate the Kings of the Earth.”
influence of Robison and de Barruel on future conspiracy theories
about the Illuminati cannot be over-emphasised. According to both
writers, the Illuminati were so successful at recruiting members
from other groups, like the Masons, that they were in part
responsible for the French Revolution.
the tendrils of the supposed Illuminati conspiracy have spread much
farther and wider than Revolutionary France. So widespread are they,
the conspiracy theorists assert, that they have been behind almost
everything that has happened since. Is it just coincidence that
1776, the year that the Illuminati began, was the year of the
American Revolution? Or that the first of the influential American
“Greek letter” college fraternities, Phi Beta Kappa, also began in
that same year?
Internet is rife with conspiracy theories of every shade involving
the Illuminati. Those who believe that there is a Jewish Masonic
conspiracy running the world simply cite the founder of the
Illuminati, Adam Weishaupt, a Jew and a Freemason, as proof of their
case. Most such theories are promulgated by fundamentalist
Christians or New Age enthusiasts, and are usually extremely right
wing, white supremacist or anti-Semitic. Some fundamentalist
Christians link the Illuminati with the Antichrist and the impending
end of this era; other conspiracy theorists claim the Illuminati
were behind 9/11.
basic theory is that the Illuminati did not die out in 1786,when
they were closed down in Bavaria. Instead, groups around the world
went underground, resurfacing under a number of different
identities. Thus, all 33˚ Freemasons must actually be secret
Illuminati members. So too the powers behind Greek-letter societies
(especially the Yale University fraternity society Skull and Bones),
which between them produce a large number of bankers,
industrialists, senators, congressmen and presidents of the United
States. And of course the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers and other
major Jewish families, especially if they are bankers. Also heads of
governments around the world. It goes without saying that the
Illuminati were behind the creation of the European Union.
Stripped to its basics, the present-day theory of the Illuminati is
that they are already the
Secret Rulers of the world, and that they are plotting a New World
Order, a world government under their control – just as John Robison
had argued back in 1797. They run organisations such as the
Freemasons, the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the
Trilateral Commission and the World Bank; and, of course, the
Bilderberg Group, the annual meeting of top politicians, financiers
and businessmen from Europe and North America held behind closed
doors and usually in a world-class hotel, and the Bohemian Club,
notorious for its Bohemian Grove summer camps for the rich and
powerful, held each July in California.
Effectively, any organisation containing powerful or influential
people is, say the conspiracy theorists, run by the Illuminati.
number of obvious questions could be asked by anyone with a critical
mind, but two are fundamental. First, if the Illuminati and their
offshoots are so all-powerful, why have they been so singularly
ineffective at achieving their aims over the last two centuries? And
second, if they are so secretive, how is it that their members,
aims, motives, plots and plans are so easy for conspiracy theorists
Indeed, if the Secret Rulers of the World are so inept, perhaps we
don’t need to worry too much about them. Instead, perhaps we should
be more concerned about the conspiracy theorists themselves. In
America they include so-called Christian Militia groups and other
ultra-right-wing Christian sects which are anti-Semitic, anti-Black,
anti-gay, anti-feminist and anti-liberal.
Adapted from the forthcoming
Atlas of Secret Societies
by David V Barrett, to be published by Godsfield in March 2009.
THE SECRET PEOPLE
Some Conversos were
crypto-Jews, outwardly practising Christianity but secretly
maintaining their old religion. Those who fled from Spain to
Portugal in 1492 found themselves trapped when King Manuel decided
that they should neither be allowed to leave nor retain their
religion, leading to a concentration of crypto-Jews.
maintained their identity by oral tradition, as no books or outward
signs of Judaism could be kept. Candles were lit secretly to mark
the Sabbath, and they celebrated festivals unknown to orthodox
Catholicism, like those of Saint Moses and Saint Esther. On entering
a church, they would ritually murmur: “I enter this house, but I do
not adore sticks or stones, only the God of Israel”.
numbers emigrated to the New World. In 1516, the bishop of Havana
complained that “practically every ship docking in Havana is filled
with Hebrews and New Christians.” The Inquisition followed, and in
one Auto da Fe in Mexico in 1649, 108 people were convicted of
keeping Judaism in secret.
spite of such pressures, some crypto-Jewish families have
maintained traditions such as not eating pork ever since, in many
cases without even knowing why. Many have only discovered their
secret ancestry in recent years. 
fascinating story concerns the remote village of Belmonte in
Portugal. By 1917, the inhabitants believed they were the only Jews
in the world. Then they were discovered by Samuel Schwarz, a Polish
mining engineer. At first they denied that they were Jewish and did
not accept him, as they could not believe any Jew would openly admit
his religion. They only accepted the truth of what he said when he
recited a credo containing the Hebrew word ‘Adonai’ (Lord). Schwarz
later wrote a book about his experiences, estimating that there were
still thousands of crypto-Jews in Portugal who had kept their secret
for over four centuries.
Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies
By David Hambling