Last week Treasure Hunters (NBC Amazing Race-type reality show) had its teams running around England and France looking for clues related to a secret society to which many of our founding fathers belonged. Of course, I immediately though “Freemasonry.” Because that’s been a plot point forever, leading to tons of conspiracy theories. But no. It was the Rosicrucian Order, which I was slightly familiar with through Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum. When I went to the library to refresh my memory on the Rosicrucians, however, I can’t find any reference to it being an active society in the United States in the late 18th century, as it would’ve had to have been for people like Benjamin Franklin to be members of it. (Treasure Hunters flashed Franklin portraits every time the host mentioned the secret society.) I looked in three different books, and have since looked at numerous websites (including the Catholic Encyclopedia, which is usually pretty reliable), and it seems as though the order largely faded out by the 18th century, then was reintroduced in the 1850s in both England and the U.S. Of course, it is a secret society, so perhaps they were all secretly members. *eyeroll*
Not that I would expect Treasure Hunters to be, you know, an authoritative show or anything like that. But it seems weird that they would go after the Rosicrucian Order, when they could make a more convincing claim for Freemasonry. I suppose Freemasonry isn’t esoteric enough anymore. Nope, now we’ve gotta go for the really secret secret societies. Next thing I suppose they’ll be claiming that Lincoln was a Grand Master in the Priory of Sion.