They are popularly known as a shadowy organization connected with the Holy Grail, the global illuminati and who knows what other manner of shadowy conspiracy theories.
But now the freemasons are hoping to reveal a new image to the public after years of misinformation.
Richard Goddard, the provincial grand master for Worcestershire, says he is hoping to radically modernise the public profile of freemasonry with a new policy of openness.
The secretive order was driven underground by persecution from the Nazis in the darkest days of the Second World War, and has kept itself hidden from the public eye ever since.
But Mr Goddard – whose order takes in much of Birmingham and has its headquarters in Kings Heath – said he wanted to shed the secret image. Click here to read more.