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Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies for Dummies .

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Napoleon said, “What is history but a fable agreed upon?” Of course,
what nobody seems to remember is that Napoleon said a whole bunch
of really questionable things. What’s wrong with it is that it implies that his-
tory is just a matter of opinion.
Entering the world of conspiracy theories and secret societies is like stepping
into another dimension — a distant, parallel, alternate universe where the
images, words, and names that surround you are vaguely familiar, but where
the laws of physics have completely changed: Black means white; up is down;
do-gooders are really Beelzebub’s Satanic waterboys; and the world seems to
be viewed through a giant funhouse mirror.
We stepped into this alternate universe while Chris was working on
Freemasons For Dummies (Wiley). In the alternate universe of conspiracy
theories, the fraternity that he wrote about bore no resemblance whatsoever
to the version found in stacks of conspiracy books and endless Internet
information of anti-Masonic accusations.
Our exploration of the world of conspiracies and secret societies after
working on the book about Freemasons led to extended discussions with
Wiley’s For Dummies folks, and the proposal for this book grew and grew
as our research became more extensive.
Researching a book about conspiracy theories and secret societies is a frus-
trating experience, most notably because it’s all supposed to be a secret. But
it’s a balancing act, as well. Too little skepticism risks falling down Lewis
Carroll’s rabbit hole into a twisted wonderland of circular logic, but too much
skepticism risks overlooking something critical that may become tomorrow’s
tragic headline. We talk a lot in this book about secretive and suspicious
groups that are at the center of conspiracy theories around the world, but we
also let you know what you can do to spot truly malevolent secret societies
and tell the real conspiracies from the fakes.

Description

Introduction ………………………………………………………..1
Part I: Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies:
The Improbable Wedded to the Inscrutable …………………7
Chapter 1: Everything You Know Is Wrong ……………………………………………………………9
Chapter 2: Conspiracism and the Origin of Modern Conspiracy Theories …………..19
Chapter 3: Building the Perfect Beast: Secret Societies through the Ages ……………33
Part II: A Colossal Compilation
of Conspiracy Theories …………………………………………45
Chapter 4: Everybody Knows About It: The World’s
Most Common Conspiracy Theories…………………………………………………………………47
Chapter 5: JFK and Other Presidents: The Conspiracies Behind the Guns …………..67
Chapter 6: The World Ends Monday — Racial,
Religious, and Apocalyptic Conspiracies ………………………………………………………….95
Chapter 7: Not of This Earth: Innocent Pawns in an Intergalactic Imbroglio ………117
Chapter 8: Tracking the Evolution of the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories ………………….137
Part III: Secret Societies and Societies with Secrets ….157
Chapter 9: The Freemasons: The World’s Longest-Running Secret Society ………..159
Chapter 10: Rosicrucians and the Evolution of Occult Secret Societies ……………..183
Chapter 11: The Illuminati: The Bavarian Boogeymen ……………………………………….207
Chapter 12: Secret Societies of Terror and Death ………………………………………………219
Chapter 13: Frolicsome Fraternalism and Nefarious Foes of Freedom ……………….249
Chapter 14: Thugs, Mugs, and Lugs: The Mafia
and Other Underworld Societies …………………………………………………………………….267
Chapter 15: Banks and Super Committees:
Knowing All, Owning All, Controlling All………………………………………………………….297
Part IV: The Part of Tens …………………………………….315
Chapter 16: Ten Conspiracy Theories That Skirt the Edge of Madness………………317
Chapter 17: Ten Conspiracies That Were Absolutely True …………………………………329
Chapter 18: Ten Weirdest Secret Societies of All Time……………………………………….343
Index ……………………………………………………………..351

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