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Freemasons and Odd Fellows: US presidents who were in secret societies

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To the paranoid mind, it probably sounds somewhat startling that 20 out of 45 US presidents have been affiliated with some kind of secret society.

Are there any movies with remotely benevolent secret orders? Most fictional secret societies are depicted as ominous — and usually feature troublesome chanting, outdated robes, sacrifices, and nefarious global plots.

The societies presidents have been involved with, however, function more like social clubs. Under the secret handshakes and mysterious rituals, many are just like fraternities.

14 presidents were Freemasons. Masonic lodges essentially function as combination of a social club, charitable organization, and business network. The fraternal organization has been around since at least the 1700s, likely arising from early modern organizations of stonemasons.

Here are the presidents who have belonged to Masonic lodges or other secret societies at some point.

Abby Jackson and Christina Sterbenz contributed to an earlier version of this post.

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