How the Illuminati Died and Rose Again


Once upon a time in the 1770’s, there was a secret society called the Order of the Illuminati.

It was started by a man named Adam Weishaupt, a Bavarian professor of law, who really had a thing for secret societies.

First, Weishaupt gave the Masons a try but decided they weren’t ambitious enough or secretive enough. And what’s the fun in that, really?

So one day he thought to himself, “I’ll just start up my own little secret society.

I’ll offer lower member fees and higher ambitions, and set about changing the world.

And all of this will be super secret, more super secret than all those other not so secret lameazoids.  I will be the most secretive secret secret keeper ever.”

So he whispered in one ear and another and another and then he and his newly sworn undercover brothers set about whispering to others in places where people often whisper to others until one day the Order of the Illuminati was a silent army of 300 or so. The exact number remains a secret, of course.

They had it all, really. Secret words, secret names, secret rituals. They probably even had a secret handshake.

They only had one problem, a problem that has plagued secret societies all throughout their poorly hidden histories. They’re made up of people, and people suck at being secretive.

It wasn’t very long before the whispers fell into all the wrong ears. That’s a really fun thing about secrets. Sharing them.

The other fun thing about secrets is getting to change them up and make them sexier than they ever were before. More intrigue. More danger. More everything.

By 1784, the streets were alive with whispers and the government was feeling nervous, so they banned all that secretive stuff.

Some of the secrets turned into rumors. Rumors turned into accusations. Weishaupt turned into a blabbermouth, and told a government official everything in an attempt to save his society.

He ended up fleeing Bavaria in the end. Other members were arrested and, next thing you know, all of their secrets were made public. Their secret documents. Their secret letters. Their secret goals to promote reason and build a peaceful society devoid of superstition were soon laid out and asunder.

And that’s when things really got fun. The society was no longer a secret. They no longer even existed. Everyone was free to speculate.

They’ve gone underground. They’re plotting something big. They’re everywhere and into everything.

The word spread from Bavaria outward and the word took amazing turns along the way.

Soon everyone knew everything about a society that was no longer anything, but brother, don’t you buy that last bit.

Then came the French Revolution and the Enlightenment and some were none too happy about it. That’s when a Jesuit priest named Augustin de Barruel shared his conviction that the whole enlightened mess had been the master plan of one ingenious evil presence, the Order of the Illuminati.

Just think about it. They no longer existed. What a perfect way to be more secretive than ever.

John Robison, a professor in Scotland reached the same conclusion. It had to be the Illuminati.

These things don’t just happen. Every movement has to have a mover. Every uprising has to have someone who shoves it upwards. Every revolution has to have a central planner. And if they don’t, there will always be people like Barruel and Robison who will work feverishly to provide one.

And so they did, each working separately to craft similar tales of varying details by splicing together all the various rumors that had spun their way through all the various networks.

Their tales were met with wide acclaim, mass distribution, and a bit of mass hysteria.

And that’s how a secret society that was really bad at keeping secrets became the evil mastermind behind a plot to overthrow all that’s holy long after they ceased to exist.

Now you understand a little bit more about why your neighbor’s addicted to Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and They know all the secrets.

What I Was Reading When I Wrote This…

Ken Robert is a guy who can’t not write, writing things he can’t not say. If you can’t not read them, click here and sign up for free updates.

Pretty Things

Right now,
I could close my eyes
and see things

I have this power.
It’s remarkable.
I can raise mountains in my mind.
I can carve rivers in the crevices.
I can burst right through the atmosphere
and trace constellations
with the tips of all my toes.

I can even leave this galaxy
and stay far, far away
for hours,
for days
and weeks
on end

if I have to,

if I need to,

if I want to.

I can cover up my ears
and be swept away,
use my hands
like soundproof barricades
against the noise,
the horns, the anguish,
all those sirens, cries for justice,
and annoying shouts for help.

The trick is-
I’ll teach you.
The trick is to keep your eyes shut
real, real tight
like this.

Keep those ears covered, too.
That’s it.

Now repeat after me.
Pretty things,
pretty things,
pretty things.

And don’t you say another damned word.

Earth Shaker


“She was born dead center in the middle of a burst of thunder, the kind that shakes the floor and rolls on for a while,” the girl’s mother used to tell people, pretending she didn’t know she was just around the corner listening in. “She’s been shaking things up ever since.”

Her mother thought it was important to let her hear stories being told about her to others, stories she could carry deep within her as protection against all the stories others would try to write on her and over her as a means of crossing her out.

She was a child of thunder, a mover of clouds, an earth shaker. Whenever anyone would try to take from her, she knew she could open up the sky and make it rain.

There Was One Who Tried to Save Me


She was holding my face in her hands and she lifted my lids to have a look underneath. I stood still, watching her, as she searched for loose connections, busted hoses, worn out parts.

“I’m worried about you,” she said.

This was serious work and she squinted as she held her beliefs between her teeth, shining them in criss cross patterns over what she thought was darkness.

What she couldn’t see were eight years of Catholic grade school, four years of public high school, a hundred and seven conversations, the untracked hours spent pondering late at night when all the preachers had put the final touches on their sermons and turned off their lamps

My heart sputtered for her. I had no owner’s manual, no maintenance history she could glance over. I’d pitched the former long ago and the latter was only stored in memory, a series of tune ups and inspections all performed in a private garage made of random associations and startling epiphanies.

She hadn’t been there the day I rolled the windows down and opened up the engine. She had no idea what it feels like to conclude there are no road maps, that love’s the only thing you have to guide you, that here is the only place you need to get to, or that your ETA is now if you can just let go of the steering wheel.

I wanted her to join me and thought about telling here of the promises of present rewards. “I’m right here,” I wanted to say, “Come  be here with me.”

But she was busy searching….

for secret compartments

and passageways

to another place

and another time

where she’d never find me.


That’s When the Dogs Came Over


Having finished their grieving for the day, the others stumbled to their rooms where they placed their hearts on pillows beside their heads. But after wading through a flowing stream of arrangements and condolences, I still had loss in my boots, so I sat on a love seat in the living room to pull them off and pour them out.

The pulling was slow and the pouring was too. My head sagged and my chest heaved as I felt alone in that way you only do when the ones who raised you leave. It’s all you, you know? And you’re trying to remember the things they were able to get in before they got whisked through a door that only swings outward.

And there I was knowing I was already forgetting a third of it.

That’s when the dogs came over and put their faces in my lap.

“We’re here, fella.

It’s okay.

Who’s a good boy?” they said.

Cake and Ice Cream


There’s a party in the next life,
but not all will get an invite.
That’s what a man with stacks of pamphlets loudly told me.

He was standing on the corner.
Asked, “Would you like to be reborn, sir?”
Then he began to castigate and sharply scold me.

He told me I’m a sinner,
but I could end my life a winner
if I’d just agree to ditch all my worldly ways.

There’s a land of gold and honey
and another not so sunny.
He urged I make my choice before we meet the end of days.

When he described a lake of fire,
I felt I must inquire
how the honey could be expected to taste so sweet?

With all those people burning,
would the others not be yearning
to give water to those suffering from the never ending heat?

Would they all eat cake and ice cream
while listening to the crowd scream?
If so, I’m afraid I’ll have to “lose” the invitation.

Or I’ll have to RSVP,
“Sorry. This one’s not for me.
Sounds far too much like daily life in pick your nation.”



Found a key
on the floor
of the attic,
then started searching
from the rooftop’s shingles
to the basement
where I found
not a thing.

Out the door
into the yard,
there I ran
in twisted circles
around the fenced green world
of my home,
but I found
not a thing.

Kicked the gate,
swung it open,
hit the sidewalk
with a skeleton key
in my left front pants pocket,
walked through town,
and I found
not a thing.

Every key
has a lock.
Every answer
must surely have
a question waiting to be asked.
So I stood
by the road,
hitched a ride.

Walked the coasts,
crossed the land
with the key
‘tween thumb and finger
and a hope for chance discovery
of that lock,
if there was
such a thing.

Took a plane,
searched the globe
for that sweet
and simple click sound
a mystery just released makes.
A billion locks,
a single key,
not a thing.

In the end,
I decided,
there are keys
just meant for trying.
They’ll take you everywhere, show
you everything,
while they open
not a thing.