This feature was originally published on February 20, 2015.
There are theories to explain the '69 moon landing, JFK's assassination, 9/11, Area 51, AIDS, and, well, Beyoncé. Conspiracy theories, in a way, are meant to give us answers to things that may be difficult to wrap our heads around. How did George W. Bush win the presidency? Oh, because he was a member of the Skull and Bones secret society. These kind of theories are a dime a dozen, but while some theories seem absurd, some of them have turned out to be true, like the U.S. government intentionally not curing STDs in infected black people to study them, and that same government's mind control programs.
If the moon landing "hoax" took over the early 1970s (don't remind Buzz Aldrin of that, or he'll punch you in the face #thuglife style), then the pentagrams, skulls, eyes, and pyramids of the Illuminati have been the most talked about conspiracy theory of the 2000s—thanks to the Internet. Type "Illuminati conspiracy" into Twitter or YouTube and you'll get a ton of results that show how hardcore people are about the theory and getting to the bottom of it. It's Roswell, New Mexico, all over again. So, what is the Illuminati and the conspiracy around them? What do they want? And, probably the main thing on your mind right now: Who's in it? C'mon, Lady Gaga has to be. Have you seen her videos? Blue Ivy? Obama? The Founding Fathers?
It's all complicated, and when you take into account most of what's been said about the Illuminati, there are a lot of moving parts that stretch many, many years. As you might expect, not all that's been said about them is verifiable, but there's some truth behind the group as a whole, which goes back centuries (to the year America was founded, to be exact).
Let's take a look at the group and why they're talked about today.