"I never would have believed it, until one night I woke up around three o'clock in the morning. I felt something cold against my shoulder. It was the ceiling. I was looking down at my own body." Julianne Moore and other actors ask you to think about "the paranormal, one of the biggest issues of our age" in this ad for Time-Life Mysteries of the Unknown series of books. Curious about unexplained phenomenon? Tales of events, dismissed as chance, coincidence, or imagination, but what if they aren't? How could you explain it? How did these ads (if not the books) get so popular? Fittingly enough, it may have just been fated in the stars. [more inside]
If you take Adam Parfrey's definition of a secret society as a social group that demands an oath of allegiance to join, and then consider that such societies include labor unions, business groups, rural/agrarian organizations, religious and occult organizations, sobriety groups, drinking groups, immigrants, anti-immigrant organizations, philosophy and science (including optometry) (previously), and groups for "persons of quality" who wanted to engage in "immoral acts." With that introduction, here is The Cyclopædia of Fraternities; a compilation of existing authentic information and the results of original investigation as to more than six hundred secret societies in the United States, written by Albert Clark Stevens and published in 1899, in full on Archive.org.
This is Duncan Campbell's BBC documentary series Secret Society which shows the never broadcast episode on secret groups, committees and societies that operate silently within British government. The first episode about secret cabinet committees features author Peter Hennessy, Clive Ponting and MP Clement Freud amongst others. It also contains the infamous Zircon spy satellite epsode. [Warning - Vimeo - alternative links for four of these are at Archive.org.] [more inside]
Dead men tell some tales - a visit to the Hellfire Caves, home of one of the most infamous Hellfire Clubs.
The “Copiale Cipher” is a 105 pages manuscript containing all in all around 75 000 characters. Beautifully bound in green and gold brocade paper, written on high quality paper with two different watermarks, the manuscript can be dated back to 1760-1780. [...] the manuscript is completely encoded.[more inside]
Declaration on the Notion of “The Future” is the most recent of many manifestos broadcast by the mysterious entity The International Necronautical Society. [more inside]
The Lizard, The Catacombs, and the Clock Metafilter's own™ Marquis did some investigating of a Parisian secret society, known variously as UX, Untergunther or la Mexicaine de la Perforation (previously 1,2) The resulting article has been picked up by the Literary Journal BRICK and is available in full on their website. [via mefi projects]