Deep History


Secret Societies 


Included in this category are occult organizations, political groups which maintain secret membership, and also those whose interests span both areas. A prime example of the latter would be the Masonic Lodge P2, which served as the major operational hub for Operation Gladio, one of the longest-running and widest-ranging black ops in history. Ordo Temply Orientis, the Church of Scientology, the Temple of Set, the Roundtable Foundation, and other occult groups were likewise set up by people with strong ties to military and intelligence organizations. Some of this crossover can perhaps simply be ascribed to the personality of intelligence agents and occultists alike who enjoy the feeling of access to secret knowledge and power unknown to the masses. What attracts a certain type to one group might attract them to the other. Clearly though, the secretive nature of many occult organizations does make them useful sites to organize illegal activities out of the public's view. A more cynical motive on the part of intelligence agencies might be to prey on the number of social outcasts and misfits who are often drawn to occult groups, whether to use them as MKULTRA-style test subjects (see Jonestown) or useful idiots/brainwashed patsies (see Sirhan Sirhan). Last but not least, intelligence agencies have shown a genuine interest over the decades in studying psychic phenomenon for espionage purposes, so keeping tabs on those who dabble in such areas might seem a sensible precaution.

1940 - The first trials begin for "Murder, Inc.", an organization which acted as the enforcement arm for the American Mafia. They are believed to be responsible for up to 1,000 murders.

1942A planning meeting for the Manhattan Project is held at the secretive Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio, California.

1946 - Ku Klux Klan member Wesley Smith founds the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian. It becomes an important group within the white supremacist Christian Identity movement.

1947 - Occultist and Thelema founder Aleister Crowley dies. The leadership of his two secret societies, Ordo Templi Orientis and A∴A∴, will become a matter of much dispute.

1948 - Andrija Puharich creates the Round Table Foundation to study paranormal phenomenon. Puharich is a medical doctor and army officer who will go on to help with mind control experiments like MKULTRA and remote viewing projects like Stargate. The Foundation itself is notable for its influence on the New Age movement, science fiction, and popular culture. One woman connected with the group, Ruth Paine, will secure a job at a certain book depository for a young man named Lee Harvey Oswald.

1949The National Renaissance Party, a neo-fascist organization, is founded.

1950 - Having concluded a substandard career as a junior officer in the Navy, L. Ron Hubbard publishes a self-help book titled "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health" which will become the canonical text of Scientology.

1951 - World Vision International is founded. Ostensibly an Evangelical Christian relief and development non-profit, it has been accused of providing cover for CIA black ops. While there isn't a single "smoking gun," a number of interesting links can be found between World Vision and events as diverse as the Phoenix Program, the training of the Contras, the Jonestown massacre, the assassination of John Lennon, and the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan.

1952 - Jack Parsons is killed in an explosion at his home laboratory in California. Parsons was a genius rocket scientist who co-founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He was also a devoted disciple of Aleister Crowley, and headed a lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis. He was a friend and business partner of L. Ron Hubbard until Hubbard ran off with Parsons's mistress aboard a boat that he and Parsons owned.

1952 - Crowley disciples Kenneth Grant and Autin Osman Spare found the Zos Kia Cultus.

1952 - Andrija Puharich's Round Table Foundation welcomes a channeler named Dr. D. G. Vinod. Vinod relays a series of messages he claims are from "The Council of Nine," a group of aliens once worshiped as the Great Ennead of Ancient Egypt. Puharich and his group take the claims so seriously that they start a new institute called Lab 9 devoted to the teachings of the Council. Among those with whom they discuss these ideas is Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, along with other writers who work on the show. Numerous episodes of the show will focus on interactions with discarnate, god-like alien entities, most notably in the later spin-off series Deep Space Nine.

1953 - The Church of Scientology is incorporated.

1954 - A group of some of the most powerful and influential people in the world gather for a meeting at the Hotel Bilderberg in the Netherlands. From this point on a Bilderberg Group, comprised of 100-150 prominent political and industry figures, will meet once a year under a shroud of intense secrecy to discuss their vision for the world.

1954 - The White Citizens' Council is formed.

1954 - Crowley disciple Gerald Gardner founds the modern religion of Wicca.

1954Sun Myung Moon founds the Unification Church. The church publishes The Washington Times newspaper and becomes involved in conservative and anti-communist politics around the world.


1955 - British occultist Kenneth Grant founds the Typhonian Order, one of several organizations which will claim successorship of Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis.

1958The Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple is bombed. Five men who are members of the National States' Rights Party and the Knights of the White Camelia, two white supremacist groups, are indicted but never convicted of the attack.

1958 - Synanon is founded. Initially a drug rehab facility, it develops into a cult-like commune which eventually becomes the Church of Synanon. It will eventually disband in 1989 following allegations of tax evasion, kidnapping, assault, and attempted murder.

1958Krishna Venta and several of his followers in the Fountain of the World cult are killed when two disgruntled former cult members set off a bomb in their headquarters in Chatsworth, California.

1958The Rajneesh movement is founded. The cult will gain notoriety for a 1984 bioterror attack in Oregon.

1959 - George Rockwell founds the American Nazi Party.

1961Nazi Paul Schäfer opens a cult compound in Chile known as Colonia Dignidad. The heavily armed cult keeps people in conditions resembling a concentration camps and sexually molests the children there. For a time infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele finds refuge there. After dictator Augusto Pinochet rises to power in the U.S.-sponsored coup of September 11, 1973, his secret police will be invited to use the compound as a detention and torture center.

1961Alpha 66, a right-wing anti-Castro terrorist organization, is formed. A sister organization known as Omega 7 is also created during the early 1960's.

1962 - The Esalen Institute is founded to further the Human Potential Movement. It will have a significant impact on the New Age movement. For a few years it is highly influenced by Andrija Puharich's Lab 9 cult/government experiment, going so far as to list the Council of Nine on its board of directors.

1965 - The canonical text of Discordianism, the Principia Discordia, is published.

1966 - Anton LaVey founds the Church of Satan.

1966George Jackson and W. L. Noel found the Black Guerrilla Family.


1967 - L. Ron Hubbard founds Sea Org, an inner circle of the most dedicated members of the Church of Scientology. Members are subject to a strict disciplinary code and are made to work 100+ hours per week for the organization.

1968The Jewish Defense League, a right-wing terrorist organization, is formed.

1968An abusive Christian cult known first as the Children of God and later as the Family International is formed.

1969 - The radical-left Weather Underground group is formed.

1969 - Grady McMurtry revives the Ordo Templi Orientis, which had been defunct since 1962 when Aleister Crowley's successor, Karl Germer died.

1969 - Anton LaVey publishes The Satanic Bible.

1969 - Charles Manson and a number of his cult devotees are arrested after they carry out a grisly series of murders. Manson had at one point been a Scientologist, and may have also drawn inspiration from The Process Church.

1970 - The Black Liberation Army is formed.

1971The Zarephath-Horeb Community Church is founded. It will soon evolve into The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord, a secretive right-wing, white supremacist, Christian Identity organization.

1971A Christian cult known as the Church of Bible Understanding is founded.


1972 - Jesus People USA is founded. It is the largest, and one of the few enduring communes of the Jesus Movement, a Christian element within hippie counterculture. Ex-members have spoken of its abusive and authoritarian practices.

1972A Christian cult known as Twelve Tribes is founded.

1972 - Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles meet and formulate the ideas which will become the basis for the Heaven's Gate cult. They will gain scores of followers in the coming years, and decades later will come to the nation's attention following a mass suicide motivated by a belief in salvation via extraterrestrials.

1972John Africa founds the MOVE organization.


1973 - Marcus Foster is killed by the newly formed Symbionese Liberation Army, purportedly over his support for a student ID system for Oakland schools, a plan which he actually opposed.

1973 - The white supremacist Creativity Movement is founded.

1973 - Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur is arrested following a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike and a series of other alleged crimes. She will be convicted of murder and imprisoned, but will escape in 1979 and flee to Cuba.

1973 - L. Ron Hubbard directs the Church of Scientology's Guardian's Office (later known as the Office of Special Affairs) to begin Operation Snow White, a massive infiltration of various government agencies for the purpose of whitewashing their records on the cult. Up to 5,000 Scientologist agents participate in the plot.

1974 - The Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps Patty Hearst. Due to brainwashing, Stockholm Syndrome, personal volition, or some combination of the the three, she soon joins the group as an active member. Most of the other SLA members are killed in a shootout in Los Angeles later in the year.

1974 - The white supremacist National Alliance is formed.

1974 - The white supremacist National Socialist Movement is formed.

1974 - The UFO religion (sometimes labeled a cult) of Raelism is formed. It will eventually develop a somewhat substantial membership, with estimates ranging between 65,000 and 80,000 adherents.

1974 - The Church of Scientology's Sea Org sets up the Rehabilitation Project Force to punish members who fail to live up to the order's strict disciplinary codes. Reports have surfaced of members being isolated from friends and family and forced to do hard manual labor in gulag-like conditions while living in rat-infested basements.

1975 - Michael Aquino, a lieutenant colonel in military intelligence and ex-Church of Satan member, founds the Temple of Set (as in the Ancient Egyptian god).

1975 - Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua member and Aleister Crowley disciple Marcelo Motta founds the Society Ordo Templi Orientis in Brazil. He will become involved in, and lose, legal battles with Grady McMurtry's OTO in America.

1975 - Charles Manson follower Lynette Fromme attempts to assassinate President Ford. 17 days later Sara Moore makes an attempt on the president's life as well. Moore was said to be obsessed with Patty Hearst (of SLA fame), but also worked as an FBI informant.

1975 - shootout at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota leaves two FBI agents and one American Indian Movement member dead. AIM activist Leonard Peltier will later be convicted of participating in the shootout. Many consider his trial to have been highly biased.

1975 - American Indian Movement activist Anna Aquash is murdered. Two other AIM activists are eventually convicted for the murder under the premise that they thought she was an FBI informant, or that she simply knew too much about the Pine Ridge shootout.

1975The United Freedom Front, a militant Marxist group, is founded. In the coming decade they will carry out at least 20 bombings and nine bank robberies in the northeastern United States, targeting corporate buildings, courthouses, and military facilities.

1976 - David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz begins a serial killing spree in New York. He will later claim that he was a member of a satanic cult and had carried out the killings for ritual purposes.

1976 - A Masonic lodge known as P2 or Propaganda Due has its charter withdrawn and goes underground. Sometimes referred to as Italy's shadow government, the lodge has deep operational ties with Operation Gladio.

1976 - The Church of Scientology begins Operation Freakout, an attempt to have author Paulette Cooper either imprisoned or confined to a mental institution. Cooper had recently published The Scandal of Scientology, a highly critical examination of the cult. Before the official start of Operation Freakout, Scientologists had already been covertly harassing Cooper for years, as well as filing bogus lawsuits.

1976The Animal Liberation Front is founded.

197712 former Nation of Islam members seize three buildings in Washington, D.C., and hold 149 people hostage. One hostage and a policeman are killed but the attackers eventually surrender after a standoff.

1978 - Over a thousand people are killed by cyanide poisoning or other means at the Jonestown cult compound and nearby Port Kaituma airstrip in Guyana. Among the dead are cult leader Jim Jones and California Congressman Leo Ryan, who had traveled there to investigate allegations of abuse.

1978 - Ray Sherwin and Peter Carroll form an occult order called the Illuminates of Thanateros and an occult system which they call Chaos Magick. It draws from the teachings of Aleister Crowley and Austin Osman Spare as well as tantric traditions and Taoism.

1978 - The Ossining, New York estate of Andrija Puharich where Lab 9 is based suffers an arson attack. Puharich flees to Mexico, fearing that the CIA has turned on him.

1978The Church of Scientology acquires a facility in California which will become known as The Hole, a prison for Scientologists who upset their leader.

1978MOVE members become involved in a shoot-out with Philadelphia police during an attempted eviction from their headquarters.


1979 - The Church of the SubGenius is founded.

1980The Guadalajara Cartel is formed in Mexico. It will prosper in the coming decade due to its protection by the CIA and Mexican intelligence agents loyal to the CIA. Its founders will also serve as major sponsors of the Contras.

1981A satanic cult known as the Ripper Crew begins a rape, torture, and killing spree which will claim 18 lives before its members are arrested.

1982Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon is found guilty of tax fraud and conspiracy and is sentenced to 18 months in prison.

1982The Army of God, a Christian anti-abortion terrorist organization, is founded,


1983The Order aka Brüder Schweigen or Silent Brotherhood, a white nationalist organization, is formed.

1984Investigations into the McMartin Preschool in California begin following accusations of bizarre ritual and sexual abuse of children. After a length trial, all charges against the school's owners are dropped. In popular media the trial is brought up as an example of "hysteria" or "moral panic" over a "fake Satanic ritual abuse conspiracy" when other allegations of CIA involvement with secret societies or human trafficking arise.

1984Liberal radio host Alan Berg is murdered by members of The Order.

1984The Order of the Solar Temple is founded in Geneva. The cult will become notorious worldwide for their involvement in a series of mass murder/suicides between 1994 and 1997.

1985A police standoff with members of The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord is resolved peacefully. Leaders of the organization are arrested and the group disbands.


1987David Miscavige formally assumes leadership of the Church of Scientology. Due to L. Ron Hubbard's declining health, Miscavige had been running the organization in everything but name for several years prior to this.

1987Police in Tallahassee, Florida respond to reports of abused-looking children being transported around by two well-dressed Caucasian men in a van. The U.S. Customs service and other police jurisdictions become involved and the investigation leads to a set of warehouses in Washington, D.C. owned by a cult known as The Finders. The warehouses contain evidence of child pornography, an international human trafficking organization, and also bizarre ritual activities including animal sacrifice. At this point the CIA takes over. The children are returned to the custody of the adults who had evidently been abusing them and if any further investigation is pursued there are no public records of it.

1989Black Panthers co-founder Huey Newton is killed by a member of the Black Guerrilla Family.

1989Adolfo Constanzo dies in an apparent murder-suicide pact with other members of his Matamoros Cult in Mexico City as police are preparing to storm his apartment. The cult is trafficked drugs and performed black magic rituals for local drug lords, and is responsible for at least 25 murders.

1990The Phineas Priesthood, a militant right-wing white supremacist ideology, is formulated.

1992Li Hongzhi founds the Falun Gong spiritual practice in China. It will eventually spread worldwide. Following a 1999 crackdown on practitioners by the Chinese government, many are forced to practice in secret.

1992The Earth Liberation Front is founded.

1994Volksfront, a white supremacist organization, is formed.

1997The Heaven's Gate cult commits mass suicide in hopes of salvation via a UFO supposedly hiding behind the Hale-Bopp comet. The presence of this UFO had just been announced on the Coast to Coast radio show by Courtney Brown, a Ph.D. professor at Emory University, and self-professed psychic who had worked on the Stargate Project, a government-sponsored remote viewing program. In a further twist, the cult had been renting their mansion from Sam Koutchesfahani, an FBI informant involved in secretly and illegally infiltrating Middle Easterners into the country.

1998Catholic priest Alfred Kunz is murdered in Wisconsin. Kunz had been investigating both child abuse within the church and a local cult linked with cattle mutilation at the time he was killed. The murder remains unsolved despite a costly investigation.

2000The European-American Unity and Rights Organization, a white nationalist organization, is founded.

2005Following a confession by Louis Lamonica, pastor of the Hosanna Church in Louisiana, police discover systematic child molestation, animal sacrifice, and devil worship at the church.

2006Hutaree, an apocalyptic right-wing Christian militia group, is formed.

2006Opus Dei banker Gianmario Roveraro is beaten to death in Italy.

2008Acting on a child-abuse tip, police with SWAT teams raid the Yearning for Zion Ranch, a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints community in Texas. While the tip turns out to have been a hoax, and none of the children under the age of five appear to have been abused, a number of girls in their teens have been impregnated. Church leaders and several other men are eventually charged with sex crimes. Many members of the community eventually return, promising to end underage marriages.