June 3, 2023

Are the Illuminati real? It can be scary out there (Part 2 of 3)

If you search for “Illuminati” on Google, you’ll get 35 million results in a second. If you do the same on YouTube, you’ll find thousands of videos. You may be tempted to believe now that with such a colossal amount of information, you will be able to understand Illuminati with ease. Not so. Quantity is not quality. I can tell you right away, this is one of the most difficult subjects to investigate.

Internet searches will tell you that 23 celebrities, including Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Obama, Jay-Z and Beyonce were or are Illuminati. You’ll also be told that that institutions such as the Federal Reserve Bank, the CIA and the United Nations serve Illuminati interests.

Claims are that a “New World Order,” meaning a dramatic change, will result from the installation of a totalitarian world government. Also, that a terrifying Illuminati conspiracy involving money and power, was responsible for the assassination of JFK.

It is getting wild out there! They even say that Illuminati have been effective in making the entire world believe that man has walked in the moon. Well, this is too much. Let’s pause for a moment.

The truth is that humankind has always been fascinated by mystery. How were Stonehenge blocks in the U.K., averaging 25 tons each (a weight equivalent to four adult elephants), symmetrically assembled? How were the pyramids in Egypt built? And the Nazca Lines drawn in Peru?

Humankind also has been attracted to societies. Some well-known societies include the Lyons and Rotary Clubs and the Catholic Knights of Columbus.

Other societies are secret. Secret societies are said to promote knowledge and material welfare of their members and communities. In the Lehigh Valley, you can find Freemasonry (with lodges in Allentown, Bath, Easton) and the Rosicrucian Fraternity (Quakertown). Others are infamous secret societies like the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis.

Fraternities and sororities in colleges can also be secretive. For example, Yale University’s “Skull and Bones” – the Brotherhood of Death – with strange, secret rites has traditionally been joined by the children of American patrician families.

In Part 1 of this series, it was mentioned that the Bavarian Illuminati society had been dissolved in 1789, but that Illuminati endorsers believe otherwise. This will be discussed in Part 3.

But the concept of Illuminati reemerged in the 1960s and ’70s. With an era that featured Nixon’s cover-up, psychedelic drugs and distrust of government and authority . . . questioning was fertile soil for two books that above all, aimed at entertaining.

In 1963, Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley published “Principia Discordia,” renamed “Principia Discordia or How the West Was Lost” on the second edition. It mixed esoterism, fiction, humor and illogical concepts.

That book inspired Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson to write the playful trilogy “The Illuminatus!” in 1975, insuperable in conspiracy deceit.

In 1988, exploring the crescent interest in conspiracies, Italian author Umberto Eco wrote “Foucault’s Pendulum,” which fictionalized various secret societies, including the Bavarian Illuminati.

However, it was in 2000 that the most popular Illuminati fiction appeared and sold over 200 million copies, being translated to 57 languages. Written by Dan Brown, “Angels and Demons” became a movie that starred Tom Hanks and was a half a billion dollar blockbuster.

Today, Illuminati conspiracies are featured in music, books, virtual space, politics, etc. As of 2013, 33 songs had the word Illuminati as part of its lyrics. Billionaires Jay-Z, Kanye West and Beyoncé are some of the few said to be Illuminati.

Although they deny it, they seem to enjoy nurturing the hypothesis, but keep their eye on the ball ­– profits. In fact, Jay-Z made the Illuminati hand sign the official trademark of his “Roc-a-Fella Records” enterprise.  

To investigate the current bizarre Illuminati circle, I read the 2017 book, “The Illuminati: The Secret Society That Hijacked the World” by Jim Marrs, a “well-known and respected expert.”

His previous book, “Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy,” had been on the New York Times best-sellers list and became the polemic film “JFK” directed by Oliver Stone.  

I thought I was on the right track when I read the book’s Introduction.

“A small percentage of these [Illuminati literature] deal with genuine historical documents and reliable research by reputable scholars, but the vast majority, unfortunately, deal with fanciful fiction (of the sci-fi or mystery-action and adventure variety) or misinformation and deliberate disinformation posing as fact and serious scholarship.”  

So far, so good.

In this critical era of “fakes,” in which lies are not just told, but pictures are skillfully edited and even lip movements are computer doctored, as explained on “Fake news: do not let them fool you” (The Commuter, June 2020). One must get the facts backed by proven reliable sources and cross-check every affirmation.

A cinematic view dazzles the reader and sets the stage for the weirdness of Illuminati.

It describes an initiation ceremony that took place at Le Château d’Ermenonville near Paris in 1789 and was excerpted from “Essai sur la Secte des Illuminés” (Essay on the Cult of the Illuminati) by Jean-Pierre-Louis de Luchet.

Staged in the castle with a persistent odor, an initiate saw what seemed to be corpses wrapped in shrouds, but surprisingly they started moving awkwardly.

As the initiate approached the altar filled with human skeletons, the priests tied a pink blood-wetted ribbon on his head. At some point he removed his clothes and the priests painted crosses on his skin. The scary excerpt concludes with the recitation of the oath “In the name of the crucified one…” by which the candidate swore to detach himself from all links: family, relatives, friends, authorities and the king. However, loyalty to superiors would be absolute.

Overall, what you get from the book is an overwhelming miscellaneous assortment of facts and factoids, speculations, stories and ideas. Marrs seems not concerned with finding out the truth but rather keeping the conspiracy alive, which could open a door for sequels – an excellent book-selling strategy. In fact, the last line of the book reads:

“The old Illuminati is no more, but Illuminism casts its shadow across the world.”

“He knew how to sell books,” a former colleague said after Marrs died.

I will mention examples of the makeup of the book; you will see why it can be catalogued among spreaders of “misinformation and deliberate disinformation” – criticized by Marrs in the Introduction.

Examples of speculation:

  • America’s independence and the foundation of Illuminati were in the same year, but Marrs’ narrative favors Illuminati: “And the year in Latin MDCCLXXVI (1776) might represent the year the Illuminati was formed, more than the founding of the United States.” (Page 181)
  • “The portrait of the U.S. Dollar bears a strong resemblance to Adam Weishaupt, founder of the Illuminati…” – reads the picture caption on Page 243, where a picture of Weishaupt – from an unknown source, apparently from a German publication – is placed next to George Washington’s. Surprisingly, the familiar portrait of the American hero is Weishaupt’s face.

Marrs feeds readers conspiracy, fueled primarily by material from “Illuminatus!” that was never meant to be taken seriously.

  • On the reverse of the dollar bill, the pyramid under the Providence’s eye, has 13 rows of brick (Page 178). Thirteen was the number of the original colonies, as well as the number of horizontal lines on the flag.

Marrs’ explanation is taken from “The Illuminatus!” – “’Thirteen is, of course, the traditional code for marijuana’” (Page 242). “Shea and Wilson did connect Washington with the Illuminati in that both reportedly smoked marijuana for the medicinal and hallucinatory benefits” (pages 243-4).

Examples of fantastic claims backed by untrustworthy authority:

  • Marrs cites expert John Reitzer, who shares the ‘uncomfortable conclusion’ as Gardiner and Osborn, namely that “control over the Earth is being carried out by persons not of the planet” (Page 346).

To have an idea of how authoritative the chiropractor Reitzer is, check his website “Nofakenews,” which contains fallacious pandemic articles, such as “there is no virus: how to fool the entire world using seven simple steps.”

  • “The evidence of ancient nonhuman visitation is compelling, almost overwhelming. Cave drawings, cuneiform tablets of stone, biblical descriptions, ancient writings and anomalous artifacts around the world attest to the reality of such a presence down through history.” (Page 348).

To prove such speculation, a combo of historical facts (Sumerian scripture, paleolithic rupestrian art), non-specific “ancient writings and anomalous artifacts” and biblical descriptions are mentioned. By the way, the Bible never meant to be a rigorous historical document. 

  • “Researchers have encountered too many connections and coincidences, along with statements from world leaders, to simply write off the notion of an attempt at global control by a small, dedicated group of people,” Marrs writes (Page 344).

Who are the researchers Marrs alluded to? Is William H. McIlhany – cited on pages 163, 170, 192-3, 256, 286 – among them? He was an affiliate with the radical-right John Birch Society. In “A primer of Illuminati,” McIlhany claimed that the French Revolution was unnecessary and was only fueled by Illuminati’s thirst of power.

 “In France, the ten years prior to 1789 had seen the development of greater social and political reform by the monarchy than ever before. The lot of the common people had steadily improved and there was no visible discontent due to economic misery.” To McIlhany, the extreme reaction of the French people was not justified.

As to the “control by a small, dedicated group,” it’s business as usual. It’s pure capitalism: concentration of capital, mergers, acquisitions and diversification that typically involves ownership of media outlets.

Eight banks in the world control $25.1 trillion, equivalent to the U.S. budget for 7 years, $3,500 for each person on the planet. On the most catastrophic year for people all over the world, 2020, Bernard Arnault, Jack Ma, Jeff Bezos and other super-billionaires got $1.9 trillion richer.

No need to make connections with convoluted Illuminati maneuvers and intermediation.

It’s profit above all.

As to the possibility of real celebrities being involved with the powerful manipulations, on BBC’s “How the Illuminati conspiracy theory started,” journalist and author David Bramwell believes that Jay-Z, Bryanna, Beyoncé and others are having a lot of fun. Nothing else.

“The fun must be even more, because their profits are boosted by the free publicity” – a perspicacious reader would add. Indeed today’s convergence of various media formats intensifies the marketing of a variety of products: songs, books, movies and a multitude of merchandise.

Such convergence associated with the ease of book publication, be it online or mom-and-pop publishing, magnifies the spread of conspiracies – and marketing. For example, Marrs’ publisher, Visible Ink Press, specializes on aliens, astrology, UFOs, vampires, witches and zombies.

It’s unfortunate that serious investigations on Illuminati get buried by the millions of misinforming sources. One of such serious works is “A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America” by professor Michael Barkun (Syracuse University). He “knows his way around the arcane world of contemporary conspiracy theorists” more “than any other scholar in America,” a reviewer wrote.

Finally, the “it can be scary out there” on this article’s title, refers not to the imminent danger of a totalitarian universal government orchestrated by an “interlocking directorate of conspirators” (Barkun), but for the distrust that Illuminati and other conspiracies are sowing in public discourse.

This massive mess ends up corroding democratic institutions, components and practices: public agencies, public officials reputation and elections. (To be discussed in Part 3).




Humor can be a serious tool for the consolidation of ideas. The Illuminati conspiracist strategy of finding patterns and connecting them to the worst possible outcome was used by comedian John Oliver in “The Conspiracy Behind Cadbury Cream Eggs Candy.”

Marrs’ reaction was: “ … One sure-fire method of deflecting public attention from a serious subject is to make it the object of ridicule.”

However, his book never proved that Illuminati was a serious subject.

“The average Cadbury Creme Egg weighs 34 grams, the same number of streets as “Miracle on 34th Street.” That’s one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time; coincidentally, the Christmas carol “12 Days of Christmas” talks about “five golden rings” as one of the ideal holiday gifts.

Germany has Europe’s largest supply of gold, and Cadbury Creme Eggs are made in the United Kingdom – in other words, only a quick, affordable flight apart. That connection is actually more of a distraction, because the “truth” lies in the fact that Cadbury Creme Eggs were originally called Fry Creme Eggs.

Why change the name? Perhaps because “Fry” is a word with three letters – the same number as the sides of a triangle. And if you cut a Creme Egg in half and put it at the top of a triangle, it greatly resembles the Illuminati pyramid.

Concluding, with reason and logic of course, that Cadbury Creme Eggs are a tool of the Illuminati.

Source: Conspiracies (Web Exclusive): Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO). The conspiracy behind Cadbury Cream Eggs candy.

Jesus Zaldivar

Jesus Zaldivar, contributor to The Commuter, is a Media Production student at NCC. Previously, he conducted biomedical / environmental research in South America, Europe and six states in the U.S. (Contact: jesus.zaldivar@student.northampton.edu)

View all posts by Jesus Zaldivar →
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