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Seeking the Truth in Secret Societies

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The first secret society, according to Theodore Ziolkowski, a Princeton-based scholar on the literature of cults and conspiracies, "consisted of Eve and the serpent and then it just kept going," Ziokowski writes.

In Greek antiquity, the mystery cults were often blamed for undermining democracy. The Knights Templar was accused of threatening royal hegemony in the middle ages. The Thirty Years' War was often attributed to the machinations of the Rosicrucians. It was whispered that the Illuminati triggered the French Revolution.

Twentieth century conspiracy theorists, from Hitler and Stalin to Henry Ford and beyond to the present day, read the protocols  of the Elders of Zion as the blueprint for a Jewish plot to control the world's economy. 

So, are any of these secret societies real or worth worrying about? We try to separate the myth from the reality. 

Leave your comments below, email us at colin@wnpr.org, or tweet us @wnprcolin. 

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