When we hear the term Illuminati, names like Beyoncé, Jay Z, Kim Kardashian, and Kanye West come to mind. Many conspiracy theorists believe they’re part of a group that controls the world’s power from behind the scenes, quietly creeping unseen in the shadows. The modern-day Illuminati is said to be populated with today’s hottest celebrities and entertainers. Basically, anybody with a tremendous amount of power, influence, and money has been accused of being a member of the Illuminati at one point or another. But before there were the rappers and reality TV stars of the present-day Illuminati, there were the bankers and philosophers of yore.
When the Order of the Illuminati, the organization’s original secret society, was shut down in the late 1700s, conspiracy theories formed almost immediately about its continued efforts. Many believed the members of the Order carried on with their plans underground. Some even claim they wanted to get disbanded, and used the public abolishment to their advantage to deflect curious eyes from their efforts.
Who are these mysterious members? Nobody knows for sure, because there’s no real proof of the Illuminati organization beyond the original Order. But conspiracy theorists believe that powerful, prominent men and women have supported its existence since the late 18th century, through the 19th and 20th centuries, and up to the present day. If there is such an organization as the Illuminati, its members likely include more than just celebrities. After all, its roots are in the financial and political worlds.
Before there were thorough YouTube videos, lengthy Reddit threads, and hilarious memes dedicated to discovering proof and exposing the Illuminati to the masses, there were simply members. Or as they would probably call themselves, The Enlightened. Meet some of the people rumored to be part of the Illuminati throughout history. They don’t have clothing lines, Grammy awards, or their own emoji apps, but they allegedly set the plans in motion for the modern-day Illuminati members who do.