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23 Most Powerful Secret Societies

24/7 Tempo Logo By John Harrington and Grant Suneson of 24/7 Tempo | Slide 1 of 24: Secret societies have captured the imagination of the public for centuries. Many of these groups are thought to be ancient, mysterious gatherings of powerful men who get together and tip the balance of world power in their favor. These organizations, which have developed their own rituals and require membership oaths, exist for numerous reasons and have popped up over the centuries. Not just anyone can be a member of these groups. Many restrict admittance based on gender, religion, or occupation. Some seek power for their members, while others are dedicated to charity. Whatever their purpose, these organizations are thought to have significant influence on the outside world, largely because of the powerful people known to be members. There are secret societies whose members have wielded considerable influence and power that are very real and still operate to this day. Freemasons are well known worldwide, with an estimated 2 million members -- more than 1 million of whom are in the U.S. The group has included influential figures such as George Washington, Ben Franklin, J. Edgar Hoover, Benedict Arnold, and more. Though secret societies likely make people think of old men sitting over grand wooden tables, the group that may be able to claim the most influential alumni in the U.S. is made up of college students -- here are the hardest colleges to get into in every state. 24/7 Tempo reviewed historical records and media sources to determine the most powerful secret societies still in existence today.

Secret societies have captured the imagination of the public for centuries. Many of these groups are thought to be ancient, mysterious gatherings of powerful men who get together and tip the balance of world power in their favor.

These organizations, which have developed their own rituals and require membership oaths, exist for numerous reasons and have popped up over the centuries. Not just anyone can be a member of these groups. Many restrict admittance based on gender, religion, or occupation. Some seek power for their members, while others are dedicated to charity. Whatever their purpose, these organizations are thought to have significant influence on the outside world, largely because of the powerful people known to be members.

There are secret societies whose members have wielded considerable influence and power that are very real and still operate to this day. Freemasons are well known worldwide, with an estimated 2 million members -- more than 1 million of whom are in the U.S. The group has included influential figures such as George Washington, Ben Franklin, J. Edgar Hoover, Benedict Arnold, and more.

Though secret societies likely make people think of old men sitting over grand wooden tables, the group that may be able to claim the most influential alumni in the U.S. is made up of college students -- here are the hardest colleges to get into in every state.

24/7 Tempo reviewed historical records and media sources to determine the most powerful secret societies still in existence today.

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