This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
The first message the Twitter user named Johnson Larry sent to me was pretty innocuous—the second one, not so much.
“Hello,” he initially wrote me before taking a brief pause. “Do you want to join Illuminati where we will be paying you the sum of $100,000 usd if yes get back to us now for more information.”
I, like we all would, responded in the affirmative that, hell yes, I would love to join the Illuminati.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to join the Illuminati? On top of joining the illustrious club of heavy hitters who run the world—like Beyoncé, Henry Kissinger, and the Queen—I would, apparently, be getting $100,000—in American dollars nonetheless!!! (Look, just getting paid in American dollars is a big deal for a Canadian.)
This was my ticket out of this hellhole, baby!
As our chat went on, I learned that Mr. Larry was the “Grand Master,” that it was his job to recruit people into the Illuminati, and that he had been in the group for 19 years or so. However, he wanted to take this conversation to WhatsApp—the official app of the secretive underworld.
Mr. Larry gave me a number to add on WhatsApp, which I quickly searched—turns out the Illuminati has some pretty shitty information security—and was able to find that the number was from Nigeria. This raised a few red flags that Mr. Larry might not be on the up and up.
As we all know, internet scams originating from Nigeria are, like, a little thing. The most well-known one—the Nigerian Prince scam (also known as the advance-fee scam)—has been around since the start of the internet and never seems to die. The scam works like this: The mark gets an email from someone purporting to represent a wealthy figure or group—like a prince or the Illuminati—and that this person can offer the mark a substantial sum of money if he or she offers something up front.
The reason for giving the money up-front and the riches being offered can and do vary wildly—from blood diamonds from a prince who has been held up by a coup d'etat, to gold bullion from a wealthy traveler who died in a plane crash overseas. Millions upon millions of dollars are lost yearly due to these scams—typically from saps like me and grandpas.
Now, the proliferation of the internet has worked as a double-edged sword for scammers—it, at first, provided them with a proverbial goldmine of potential marks. However, people caught on quickly, and there are now many a website whose goal it is to out these scammers and make sure people don’t lose their money to the promise of getting rich after the “Nigerian Prince” is “freed.” It’s something that’s forced these scammers to get creative.
It seems they’ve become so creative that they might just DM a bored journalist an offer to join the Illuminati.
Speaking of which: On top of that pesky area code, there were two other things that also didn’t bode well for Mr. Larry. First was that I was able to reverse Google search the image that Mr. Larry purported was him on Twitter and traced it back to a male Russian mail order bride service. In doing so, I found that Mr. Larry wasn’t actually Mr. Larry; no, Mr. Larry’s photo was of a Turkish man named Marko who likes Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Robbie Williams, and reading Dan Brown novels. Secondly, when I googled the Illuminati, I found a warning posted by the TOTALLY REAL version of the group alerting everyone to people like Mr. Larry.
“They appear in droves on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, spreading misinformation about our beliefs and often demanding money in return for Illuminati membership,” reads the write-up by the totally real and not-at-all-marketing-ploy version of the Illuminati.
Despite the warning from the false shepherd, I persisted—I wasn’t about to lose my chance to join George Soros and the other bigwigs in, what my friend called, “ushering in the global occult dystopia.” In our newly created WhatsApp chat, Mr. Larry welcomed me to the brotherhood and asked if “I could keep secrets”—I told him I could.
“I want you to know that you are now a member. We will be paying you the sum of $100,000 usd per month and a car,” he wrote me. “And if you also want to be famous we will make you famous okay.”
He also offered me powers—I, being an idiot, asked them if they were Iron Fist powers and if he likes Iron First.
Then, sadly, the other shoe dropped and Mr. Larry told me that in order to get the car, the money, and the powers, I had to pay a mild fee of $150 USD for my membership—which is, honestly, a pretty good deal when you think about it. At this point though, Mr. Larry was getting annoyed with how excited I was about the prospect of joining the Illuminati and said no more questions, and after a curt “Good day,” Mr. Larry went AWOL.
I had blown it. I had blown my chance to join the Illuminati. Now looking back at it, I could have handled my rejection from the Illuminati better. But, come on, you've got to be able to see where I’m coming from here. I traversed the stages of grief rather quickly with my sadness quickly morphing to anger, and I sent Mr. Larry a meme I made with pictures lifted from Marko’s dating profile announcing my allegiance with, the lizardman, David Icke.
Shortly, in a moment of extreme weakness, I apologized for the meme and begged him to come back to me. I was heartbroken—I lost my chance at being a member of the Illuminati, which means I lost my chance at a sick car, money, and powers.
You people need to realize that I work in journalism and $100,000 is an amount of money that doesn’t even make sense to me—I couldn’t take this lying down. I sent Mr. Larry message after message asking him to “illumi-do-this.” However, after several hours of me messaging him on Twitter, WhatsApp, and through actual texting, he still didn’t respond.
I had blown it—Mr. Larry did not want to illumi-do-it—I guess, for the time being, George Soros checks will have to do.
Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.