YALL NOTICE THAT SINCE XADOS GOT APPLICATION TEAM THE APPLICATION TEAM WENT ON A DENY STREAK AND THAT Jay-Z and Beyoncé name their kid "Blue Ivy"? What was the deal with Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show? Why did Whitney Houston die? Some people might say that "famous people are weird and sad" is the answer to all three questions. But no, the answer is: The Illuminati. Who? Allow us to explain. Note: to best service our readers, we've divided this guide into two sections — first, the believer's guide; second, the skeptic's guide. The Believer's Guide What is the Illuminati? The Illuminati is an ancient and shadowy group of elites who control nearly every aspect of life on this planet — from finance and government to religion and culture. Who is in the Illuminati? The Illuminati is made up of the world's political and financial elite, and also, rappers. Theoretically, membership rolls are kept secret, but most YouTube intellectuals agree that the following people are members: Barack Obama the Pope Queen Elizabeth II George Soros Ben Bernanke George W. Bush Jay-Z Kanye West Rihanna Bob Dylan Beyoncé Lady Gaga Jim Carrey Willow Smith What do the Illuminati do? Oh, you know, conspiracy stuff. Assassinations, currency manipulation, Super Bowl halftime shows. All executed through puppet institutions and groups like the Federal Reserve, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Freemasons, and Def Jam Recordings. And all carefully controlled and hidden to ensure that their meddling in world affairs will remain secret. This is sounding more plausible by the minute. What's the end goal of the Illuminati? The end goal of the Illuminati is to establish a one-world authoritarian government known as the New World Order. ...and then? Here, theories differ. Some of the internet's finest minds, writing on scholarly websites like Yahoo Answers, believe that forced conversion to homosexuality will be a top agenda item in the New World Order. Others claim the first order of business will be to round all non-Illuminati up into FEMA camps, possibly as part of a deal struck with aliens in Roswell. Many, if not most, experts believe that the New World Order will be a front for the rise of the Antichrist. The Antichrist? Yes. The Illuminati is made up of Satanists. Even the Pope? I can see how it's confusing. The Pope is actually a Satanist, just like Jay-Z and the Queen of England. (He might even be the Antichrist.) In fact, the whole Catholic church is just a continuation of Babylonian paganism, didn't you know? They keep demons trapped inside the Pentagon, which is why it's, you know, pentagonal. Okay. How can I tell who's in the Illuminati? I know this sounds counterintuitive, but prominent Illuminati members frequently flag their Illuminati connections. Like how in Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" video, there's that goat head-shaped star formation? Or have you ever seen Jay-Z's video for "On to the Next One"? It has a goat skull in it. Goats, bro. Goat heads are an Illuminati symbol? Goat heads represents Baphomet, the goat-headed god beloved by 19th-century occultists. It's not the only weird occult reference in "On to the Next One." The creepy guy with the crow, Jay throwing devil horns, the, uh, actual Masonic symbol — all of Hov's (that's right: Hov) videos are filled with Illuminati and occult symbolism. So are Lady Gaga's: that pink triangle and unicorn that you thought was some campy gay reference? Actually symbols of the immaculate conception of a new order of humanity. So are Kanye's videos, especially "Power." But how will the Illuminati possibly pull off their plan for secret world domination if they're constantly advertising their own existence? Hey! Did I tell you about Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show? Ooh, no, tell me. It was obviously a Satantic ritual. The color scheme was red and black. She had horns on her helmet. The show happened within 48 hours of the full moon. Her male dancers formed a pyramid, a Masonic symbol. It ended with the phrase "World Peace" — as in, "New World Order Peace." And LMFAO was there. LMFAO is Illuminati? Can you think of any other reason for their success? But why would the Illuminati hold a Satanic ritual during the biggest television even of the year? To celebrate the upcoming assassination of Whitney Houston. The Illuminati killed Whitney Houston? But... why? For two reasons: one, to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth, and two, to make room in the Illuminati for Blue Ivy Carter. Jay-Z and Beyoncé's Daughter Is Almost Definitely Illuminati Why did Jay-Z and Beyoncé name their daughter Blue Ivy? Possibly because they are exceedingly… Who else have the Illuminati killed? Oh, you name it — J.F.K., 2Pac, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson. Heath Ledger's death was a ritualistic sacrifice. Aaliyah was killed by Dame Dash so he could become famous. Wow. That makes sense. I know. And there's stuff we haven't even covered! There's stuff we haven't covered? Just a couple, things, like the Bilderberg Group, reptoids, clockwork elves, the Greys, the Rosicrucians, the Knights Templar, and Planet X. I really feel like I've learned a lot from this guide. Where can I learn more about the Illuminati? I highly recommend reading the very factual Behold a Pale Horse and The Biggest Secret — but you can also find a lot of information on such rigorous and learned websites as Godlike Productions, Vigilant Citizen, Above Top Secret and Prison Planet, the website of Austin radio host Alex Jones. Finally, of course, a great deal of important information is distributed on Twitter, YouTube, and Yahoo Answers. Behold a Pale Horse The Skeptic's Guide What is the Illuminati? A defunct German secret society of freethinkers, humanists and Enlightenment academics, founded in 1776 and infiltrated and shut down by Bavarian authorities about a decade later. There hasn't been an Illuminati in 200 years? Well, it's been in use as a conspiracy theory ever since it was first founded, mostly by monarchists, right-wingers, and religious Christians looking for explanations as to why things aren't going their way. So who believes in the Illuminati? Generally speaking, Ron Paul voters, people who are in militias, washed-up rappers, teenage R&B fans on Twitter, and that one guy from high school who is always posting links to Erowid "experiences" to Facebook. That's kind of a broad range of people, isn't it? Yeah. Weird, huh? I don't get it. If it's this right-wing Christian conspiracy, how do rappers start believing in it? That's kind of the million-dollar question. Columbia professor Marc Lamont Hill says that conspiracy theories are a natural response by African-Americans to their disenfranchisement: "There have always been questions and conspiracies about the structure and nature of power by African-Americans, and naturally those questions have made their way into hip-hop," he told the Philadelphia Weekly in 2010. "[In the 1990s] people were going to black book stores... and buying books like Behold a Pale Horse... They were talking about the Illuminati and the Rothschilds and Bilderbergs." So Alex Jones and Prodigy were reading the same fucked-up conspiracy books? That's wild, man. Dude, Prodigy is going to to vote for Ron Paul. This is pretty nuts. Can I read more about it somewhere? Yeah — here's a good Philadelphia Weekly story about the rap Illuminati phenomenon. Here's a Slate column about pop music and Illuminati. Here's an XXL timeline of Illuminati references in rap music. The New Yorker has a really awesome long article about conspiracy theories in America from 1995, but it's subscriber only. Animal has been tracking the Illuminati for years. And this was my favorite book when I was in high school, though it's unfortunately out of print. Oh, and dude, you have to read Foucault's Pendulum. And the Illuminatus! trilogy!