A secret society is a club or organization whose members do not disclose their membership, and may be sworn to hold it secret. The term is sometimes also used to describe fraternal organizations which may have secret ceremonies.
Secret societies are often the subject of much suspicion from non-members, and often feature in conspiracy theories. Some although not all secret societies may strive for secrecy for reasons of their illegal activity.
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2 Formerly secret or semi-secret societies:
3 Alleged secret societies:
4 Fictional secret societies:
Skull and Bones at Yale University and the Bishop James Madison Society at The College of William & Mary. The first collegiate secret society was the FHC Club (1750), followed by Phi Beta Kappa (1776), both founded at William & Mary. William & Mary's early exposure to secret societies allowed these types of organizations to flourish there. It now serves as host to at least five, including the 7 Society, the 13 Club, the Alpha Club, the FHC, and the Bishop James Madison Society.