References to Freemasonry in popular culture range from the vitriolic to the innocuous. Far more often they are merely misinformed allusions from which Freemasonry faces a far more insidious threat; that of being marginalized, trivialized, and fictionalized. Most of the references noted on this site are harmless, simply pointing out that Freemasonry has played a role in our society; some are humorous, yet some are disturbing in their associations.
Masonic references in the writings of Umberto Eco
Translated from the Italian by William Weaver. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, San Diego, New York, London:1988.
ISBN: 0-15-132765-3 [Hardcover, 641 pages.]
Three Milan editors, who have spent altogether too much time rewriting crackpot manuscripts on conspiracy theories and the occult, decide to write their own explanation for world events. Then the fictional world they have created takes on a life of its own. Although this is a work of fiction, many of the characters and references are real. This mixing of fact and fiction only fuels public confusion about Freemasonry.
These knghts supposedly escaped, took refuge in Scotland, and joined a Masonic lodge in Kilwinning. According to the legend they became part of the society of Freemasons, who served as guardians of the secrets of the Temple of Solomon. Ah, here we are; I thought so. This writer, too, claims that the origins of Masonry lie in the Templars escape to Scotland. 
That was how the Freemasons was born later spreading throughout the world. 
The sages of the Great White Fraternity were also the founders of the first Masonic lodge, back in the days of King Solomon. It was clear, from his works, that Dante had been a Rosicrusian and a Masonas had Saint Thomas, incidentally. 
"What do you mean, later? Thats the same argument Bramanti used to prove Dante was Mason. If the Corpus repeats ideas of Plato and Jesus, it must have been written after them!" 
"Weren't you listening? Pythagoras, Dante, the Virgin Mary and the Masons. Always out to screw us. Make umbada, not love." 
On page 239, the chapter head lists the High Grades of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite while page 245 lists the Grades of the Antient and Primitive Memphis-Misraim Rite.
But I wouldn't neglect this manuscript about Masonic symbolism in the grotto of Lourdes.
Come, come, these are occultists tales. You are behaving like vulgar Freemasons. 
The Revue internationale des sociétés secrètes, which talks about a Jewish-Masonic-Bolshevik plot."
"But on January 14, 1937, Dmitri Navachine, Mason and Martinist...."
'Hitler was a Rosicrusian influenced by the Masons...." 
Garamond was overwhelmed. "But are they... Masons?"
Chapter 75 [page 421] is a timeline running from the 1645 founding of the Invisible college by Ashmole to a 1936 visit from Comt de Saint-Germain, including the 1717 creation of the Great Lodge" in London, the birth of the Thule Society in 1918, and many other Masonic and occult references.
"And what," Agliè replied, "does Mason mean? They are the adepts of a chivalric order inspired by the Rosicrusians, and indirectly by the Templars."
"But what does that have to do with the Masons?" Garamond asked again.
"If what you saw has anything in common with the Masons, its the fact that Bramantis rite is also a pastime for provincial politicians and professional men. It was thus from the beginning: Freemasonry was weak exploitation of the Templars legend. 
"But," Diotallevi asked, "how do we find the link between Bacons followers and the revolutionary groups of the late eighteenth century?"
"Could Freemasonry be the answer?" Belbo said. 
"In the eighteenth century, in London, there were lodges of genuine masons, and they were called operative lodges. Then, gradually, some idle but thoroughly respectable gentlemen were determined to join operative masonry, so it became symbolic, philosophical masonry." 
"...These are the reasons for the Masonc masquarade: the apron, the trowel, the T square. Masonry became fashionable, attracting the aristocracy with the genealogical tables it hinted at, but it appealed even more to the bourgeoisie, who now not only could hobnob with the nobles but were actually permitted to wear a short sword. In the wretched modern world at its birth, the nobles need a place where they can come in contact with the new producers of capitol, and the new producers of capitol are looking to be ennobled."
As well, there are several references to Cagliostro, the Comte de Saint-Germain, Martinism, McGregor Mathers, the Bavarian Illuminati, the Ordo Templi Orientis and many other historical figures and groups who have played a role in Freemasonrys history.
"But the Templars seem to have emerged later."
"The one who first established a direct relationship with the Templars, Ramsey, I'd prefer not to discuss. I suspect he was put up to it by the Jesuits. His preaching led to the birth of the Scottish wing of Masonry."
"The Scottish Rite was a Franco-German invention. London Masonry had established three degrees: entered apprentice, fellowcraft, and master. Scottish Masonry multiplied the degrees because doing so meant multiplying the levels of initiation and secrecy...."
"But what was the secret?"
"There was no secret, obviously. 
"In short, the Duke of Brunswick, seeing the confusion around him left by Hund, realized that at this juncture there were three conflicting currents in the German Masonic world: the sapiential-occultist camp, including some Rosicrucians; the rationalist camp; and the anarchist-revolutionary camp of the Illuminati of Bavaria." 
"Its possible that Weishaupts Illuminati were really on the side of Jacobin Masonry and had infiltrated the neo-Templar branch to destry it." 
"Its all clear now. The English Templars put forth the Masonic proposal in order to make all the initiates of Europe rally around the Baconian plan." 
"Masonry was the cover, the pretext behind which all these agents of different groups--God knows where the Paulicians and Jerusalemites were--met and clashed, each trying to tear a piece of the secret from the others." 
For example, current Masonic studies believe that the Illuminati of Bavaria, who advocated the destruction of nations and the destabilization of the state, inspired not only the anarchism of Bakunin but also Marxism itself. 
I remembered the reservation Agliè had expressed about Ramsey, the first to posit a direct connection between the Masons and the Templars; Agliè said that Ramsey had ties with Catholic circles. In fact Voltaire had already denounced Ramsey as a tool of the Jesuits. Faced with the birth of English Freemasonry, the Jesuits in France responded with Scottish neo-Templarism. 
"In the true Masonic code no other god will be found save Mani. He is the god of the cabalist Masons, of the ancient Rosicrucians, of the Martinist Masons...." --Abbé Barruel 
Napoleon did not hesitate: he decided to join them. He had his brother named grand master of the Great Orient, and he himself, according to many sources, made contact with the Masons and became a very high official in their ranks. 
But in 1806 he [Napoleon] received a letter from a certain Captain Simonini, who reminded him that Mani and the Old Man of the Mountain were also Jews, that Masonry had been founded by the Jews, and that the Jews had infiltrated all the existing secret societies.
"The business about visual education stultifying the masses is a clear allusion to the educational program of Léon Bourgeous, who had five Masons in his government." 
"After the Rosicrusians turn up in France, the Jesuits reverse the Plan, replacing it with its negative: discrediting the Baconians and the emerging English Masonry.
When the Jesuits invent neo-Templarism, the Marquis de Luchet attributes the Plan to the neo-Templars. The Jesuits, who by now are jettisoning the neo-Templars, copy Luchet, through Barruel, but they attribute the Plan to all Freemasons in general." 
"There is no need to mutiply the evidence to prove that this degree of Rosy Cross was skillfully introduced by the leaders of Masonry.... The doctrine, its hatred, and its sacriligious practices, exactly those of the Cabala, of the Gnostics, and of the Manicheans, reveals to us the identity of the authors, namily the Jewish Cabalists. Mons. Léon Meurin. 
A final touch to the mosaic: browsing at a bookstall in Piazza Castello, I found a German work on Masonry, anonymous, in which an unknown hand had added, on the flyleaf, a note to the effect that the text was the work of one Karl Aug. Ragotgky.