The Freemasons have inspired conspiracy theories for centuries.
They have a secretive history, and an abundance of influential members stretching to the very top of the Establishment – politicians, military men, spies, diplomats and even royalty.
But according to the Daily Mail a secret archive of its membership has just been opened to the public, which looks to prove that even more leading figures from history than previously thought were members.
This list includes the names of two million Masons, including the current Duke of Kent, Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle and even five kings – most recently Edward VII, Edward VIII and George VI.
Some believe that the Freemasons are just a ridiculous club for men – courtesy of the odd arcane ceremonies, secret handshakes, symbology, lambskin aprons and embroidered sashes that they’re famous for.
But the release of the new list proved to be a gold mine for those who say the group is a force for bad.
Genealogical website Ancestry used the records to discover that at least five people who were personally associated with the official inquiry into how the Titanic sank were actually Masons. The findings exonerated the key figures involved, suggesting there was a cover up, the Daily Mail reported.
And according to a new book by Bruce Robinson, writer of the film Withnail & I, Jack the Ripper was also a Freemason, suggesting his identity might have been covered up to protect him.
The Freemasons do donate a lot of money to charitable causes, but the closed way they conduct business, and the influential positions their members hold will always lead conspiracy theorists to say the group are up to something more sinister.