A secret society is a club or organization whose activities and inner functioning are concealed from non-members. The society may or may not attempt to conceal its existence. The term usually excludes covert groups, such as intelligence agencies, or guerrilla insurgencies, which hide their activities and memberships but maintain a public presence. The exact qualifications for labeling a group as a secret society are disputed, but definitions generally rely on the degree to which the organization insists on secrecy, and might involve the retention and transmission of secret knowledge, denial of membership in or knowledge of the group, the creation of personal bonds between members of the organization, and the use of secret rites or rituals which solidify members of the group.
A team of Swedish scientists paired with a USC researcher to crack the Copiale Cipher, thus revealing secret rituals and beliefs of a secret German society that had a fascination for ophtalmology. Thousands of old and obscure symbols filled over 100 pages of text which was found in Berlin towards the end of the Cold [...]