Secret Societies Around the World

The idea of a secret societies may seem like the stuff of crazy conspiracy theories, but the truth is they have always existed, and many still do. Several of our leading government officials were members of secret societies in college. Let’s take a look…

The Right Club

The Right Club was formed in May of 1939 by anti-semitic fascist sympathisers within Brittian. The leader was Archibald Ramsay, who was a Scottish Unionist and was aggressively opposed to the opposition against Germany. He wanted to assist Germany in their anti-Semitic agenda. Members names were logged in the “Red Book,” which was bound in leather and locked. The book was divided into two lists: one for males and one for females. On the men’s list, there were 135 names; and on the women’s list were written 100 names.

Ramsay was soon identified when he gave a speech spewing hate against Jewish people. When asked to explain himself, he confirmed he made the speech and said he was denied speaking privileges at 3 different halls (claiming it to be evidence of  “Jewish control”).

He and his followers would go on to pass out propaganda and leaflets calling WWII the “Phoney War.” He and his cohorts ranted about the so-called “Jew War” and claimed they were destroying the workforce for non-Jewish workers.

Ramsay’s ultimate downfall was attempting to leak correspondence between Churchill and Roosevelt with the help of member Tyler Kent. However, they had already been under suspicion at this point and were shut down. The Red Book was opened and systematically dismantled. Many members, including Ramsay, were arrested May 23rd, 1940.

Suicide Club

Despite the ominous name, the club isn’t for members to commit suicide. Instead, the group was formed and credited to be the first, modern extreme urban exploration society. It began in 1977 as a course Warne taught at the Communiversity in San Francisco as part of the Free School Movement with the club’s founder, Gary Warne, along with three friends.

The name came from three stories written by Robert Louis Stevenson and appealed to the off-kilter nature of the group’s members. You could join by attending an initiation ceremony that would take place sporadically. Members picked events they wanted to host and they would be listed in the groups “Nooseletter.” The categories were street theater, elaborate games in weird locations, explorations, infiltration (they infiltrated the American Nazi Party and Unification Church), and categories could be conjoined.

The club, even in secrecy, had heavy influence on things such as The Billboard Liberation Front and the Dachiell Hammet Walking Tour, which was the longest-lived literary tour in America, beginning in 1977. Eventually, the Suicide Club disbanded and ex-members started anew with The Cacophony Society, which started San Francisco’s first SantaCon and influenced The Burning Man Festival.

Molly Maguires

In the 19th century, this society group formed in Ireland and was comprised of rural Gaelic members. They primarily fought against traditional socioeconomic practices and land usages. The would destroy fences, plow newly-pastured land, and would also kill and mutilate livestock. Some even killed or severely injured landlords.

Members would to dress like women and pretend to be begging for food outside of store fronts. If the owners refused or ignored them, they would enter the store and steal what they wanted while threatening the shop owners. The Maguires weren’t limited to Ireland though; there were cases of assault and damage in Liverpool, England, as well as the United States.

The fall of the Maguires, at least in the US, began after the Avondale Mine caught on fire, resulting in the deaths of 110 coal miners in 1869. Following the fire, a series of violent attacks erupted. At least 20 suspected members of the group were convicted of murder and executed by hanging in 1877.

Cicada 3301

The Cicadas are somewhat of an enigma of secret societies. On three separate occasions, the group of unknown members planted a series of complex puzzles and alternate reality games on the internet starting in 2012. The object was to obtain “highly-intelligent individuals” for some unknown cause. The first puzzle ran for a month and the subsequent two rounds occurred in January of 2013 and January 2014, and then it stopped.

No one knows who these people are, but it’s been speculated they may be related to some type of intelligence agency such as the NSA, CIA, or MI6. As of now, no one has officially solved any of the puzzles. Some people claim to have, but there has been no recognition from Cicada.


This society is comprised of the Tolai people in the Rabaul area of New Britain in the Bismarck Archipelago. They are a religious and political group that advocates for social issues.  Members are believed to invoke the male spirit of duk duk and female spirit (tubuan), depending on the mask members are wearing. They performed rituals and festivals that were closed to the public by the threat of death. The Duk-Duk only appeared during a full moon.

Only men are allowed to be members and perform the ritual dances. Once they don the masks, they are allowed to execute justice, extort fines, arrange feasts and taxes, and even carry out punishments (like burning down houses and killing people). The dancers who wore the mask of the female spirit tubulin were considered divine and their actions infallible. The society began to die out at the turn of the 20th century, but Duk-Duk dancers are now featured primarily as tourist attractions.



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Jess Hicks
Jess Hicks
Jess lives in Ohio with her husband and 3 cats. She is a freelance writer, film critic, and overall horror hound. Her interests aren't solely movie related though and you can check out her work on Phactual, Bloody-Disgusting, Geek Legacy, and more.