Last month I was writing an article about the conspiracy theory that 1) the Illuminati still exists and 2) that Beyoncé is often dropping not-so-subtle hints that she is in the Illuminati. During the process of the writing the piece, I stumbled upon a website that claimed to be the official home of the Illuminati. Even the web address — www.officialilluminati.org — admittedly sounded pretty, well, official.
That's strange, I thought. Isn't the Illuminati just a conspiracy theory? And even if it's not a conspiracy, aren't they an extremely secretive and elite group?
I looked around a bit more. The official page of the Illuminati seemed to have a logo, a resources page, an about section, a lot of social media accounts and even a television commercial. It also seemed to have an official tone: mysterious and a bit like the sound of an Eastern religious text.
Then I saw it. I could join the Illuminati! Little old me could become a member of a powerful secret organization alongside the likes of Jay Z, Kanye West and Rihanna. Sure, I might have to start on the bottom rung of the ladder alongside Blue Ivy, but I could be a member.
How easy was it to join? Would I have to swim across the English Channel, murder someone in the night, pledge my life savings or concoct a magic potion? Nope. I would have to press the "Join the Illuminati" button and give a stranger my name and email address.
So, I joined. What would happen next? I guessed I would probably be contacted by a masked man who would take me to headquarters. There, I would immediately start influencing the events of our world, from presidential elections to international sports to the Top 40.
Instead, I just started getting a lot of emails.
Let's back up just a bit. What do we actually know about the Illuminati? For those who don't know the history, the Illuminati was originally a secret group of influencers in 18th-century Bavaria who fought against injustice, superstition and religious influence. They were one of a number of secret societies active at the time, experiencing about 10 years of expansion and infighting and then fading out around 1787. About a decade after that, rumors began circulating that the group still existed underground and that they were still responsible for influencing world events like the French Revolution.
Fast-forward to modern day. The Illuminati still captures the imaginations of people around the world, fueling truckloads of conspiracy theories and stories. These theories run the gamut from a very simple "Yes, there is still a secret group of Illuminati," to the more salacious and celebrity-centric "Madonna is a Satanic Illuminati witch who offers oral sex to leftist voters."
What version of the group had I joined? The Bavarians? The oral sex devils? Something else entirely?
After I joined the Illuminati, I started getting form emails from them right away. Wow, I thought. Maybe they are real, and soon they will ask me whom I'd like to win the Super Bowl.
Instead, though, they pretty quickly wanted me to start buying stuff. First off, they were pretty insistent that I buy an Illuminati Talisman so that I could display my loyalty. These talismans, of course, cost money.
OK, so it's a bit weird that a secret society wants me to buy a necklace so that everyone knows I'm a member and also that these items are as little $12. There's also a hilarious disclaimer on the talisman marketing email: "Be careful when others offer the Talisman online." Ah, I see: When other people offer you a cheap fake Illuminati talisman, it's a scam, but not when the official Illuminati do it. Yes, that sounds perfectly legitimate.
Next, the Illuminati really wanted me to buy their book, Illuminatiam: The First Testament of the Illuminati. This book is available on Amazon and costs $9.90. The book's description claims that its wisdom is available to only elite members of the group, but in reality, anyone with a mailing address or a Kindle and almost 10 bucks can order it. Sadly, the book has almost 2,000 reviews, which means the scam is working on somebody. I hope that many people haven't bought the fake gold necklaces.
It's been a crazy whirlwind of a month in which I have been in the Illuminati. Actually, it just really filled up my junk mail folder. In any case, I am ready to move on to another secret society. Something that gives me more power in international affairs and maybe a group who has a better graphic designer. Maybe something that sends fewer emails and that is slightly less culty.
I really, really hope that it's easy to unsubscribe from the Illuminati. But who knows? Hopefully, I will just have to click a button.
So, there you have it. The "official" site of the Illuminati is a site that likely has no connection to either the original Bavarian Enlightenment-era secret group or the alleged modern-day secret society of pop stars. In fact, it's probably just an attempt to make money (like 97 percent of the stuff on the internet).
But — and this is a big but — if I die or disappear shortly after writing this article, could you please take a close look into it? Remember that the police are probably in on it and that no one is to be trusted. Maybe look for clues regarding my murder in Bey's newest music video?
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