Intitiate me into (documentaries about) secret societies
May 25, 2016 4:32 PM   Subscribe

I want to watch some documentaries about secret societies, conspiracies, occult mysteries, etc. that feel sorta like reading Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail -- a little skeptical (but not cynical), a little fascinated (but not overly credulous), fun, and weird.

I do NOT want to watch documentaries made by people who actually uncritically believe in conspiracies etc., nor do I want documentaries about debunking them. I want to hear all about the purported dark workings of the Illuminati, the Templars, or whomever, from someone whose agenda is simply to tell me weird rad things.

I know about Jon Ronson's films but that's it. Googling mainly brings up stuff that looks very agenda-driven.

The lizard people thank you! Probably. I assume. I am not in contact with them.
posted by babelfish to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I have no idea if there are documentaries, but two topics come to mind, The story of The Nine Seance and the story outlined by Nick Redfern in the book Final Events. Both stories are great because they are true. How much they have or have not influenced history and current events - you decide.

I am unaware of any documentaries about either subject, but I'm sure they exist. Nick Redfern gave an AWESOME podcast interview about the details of Final Events somewhere that had me riveted - search iTunes. Christopher Knowles and others have written and spoken extensively about the seance that supposedly contacted The Nine, I'm sure there are youtube documentaries. Can not vouch for any. I do think these two subjects are related, which make them even more fascinating!

I hope that helps you out a little. (Youtube definitely has docs about The Nine, as per google, but I only linked to written blogs I'm comfy with.)
posted by jbenben at 5:00 PM on May 25, 2016

Off the top of my head, there's not a lot of documentaries about secret societies that are not played up to some level. First, the debunking and rebunking docs take up much of the market and thus encourage more factual/hey look at this cool thing docs to up their game. Thus all those History Channel hour long docs that went from a dry history of group X to sensationalized "people say that...." docs like Ancient Aliens and their ilk.

Your best bet would be to look to those older series like Timewatch or Secret History and pick out the episodes/topics that appeal to you.

If podcasts are your thing, then look at Lore and Mysterious Universe. The first delves into the history behind fantastical events and the latter is two Australian dudes reporting on and taking the piss out of fringe topics. Also up your alley would be Oh No Ross and Carrie! who join fringe groups and report on their experiences. The did the OTO a few months back and are a week or two away from wrapping up their Scientology experience.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:01 PM on May 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ancient Aliens?
posted by Clustercuss at 7:33 PM on May 25, 2016

My friend who yesterday introduced me to David Icke (whom you're probably aware of via Jon Ronson) also told me about "The Last Podcast on the Left" which covers these sorts of things. I haven't listened, but he told me about some captivating stuff. As I look over their archives, I see they did some episodes on Aum Shinrikyo, the cult that committed the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, and to that end, I'll add the non-fiction book "Underground" about that cult and the events around the attack, written by Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami.

But you're asking for video, and all I have is this: This weekend I saw a Seattle International Film Festival showing of "Tickled," the true story of an secret underground tickle-fetish "sport" which is backed by a bizarrely powerful and aggressive hush campaign which goes to great efforts to intimidate people who want to get out of it or expose it. It's a terrifically-made documentary, and it does not leave you guessing, thank goodness. It's lead by David Farrier, a Kiwi journalist who made a career from exploring "weird rad things" as you put it, and as he'll tell you in the first seconds of the trailer.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:50 PM on May 25, 2016

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