Secret societies always get the ominous treatment in fiction.
Are there any movies with remotely benevolent secret orders? Most fictional secret societies are usually more bogged down with dressing in outdated robes, chanting ominously, doing sacrifices, or hatching nefarious global plots.
So, to the paranoid mind, it probably sounds somewhat startling that 20 out of 45 US presidents have been affiliated with some kind of secret group. Just keep in mind that many of these societies function a bit like social clubs, charitable organizations, and business networks. In many cases, beneath the secret handshakes and mysterious rituals, they're kind of like adult frats (or actual frats, in the case of the college groups on this list).
Here are the presidents who have belonged to a secret society at some point:
Christina Sterbenz contributed to a previous version of this story.
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