Skull and Bones
Skull & Bones was founded at Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut in 1832. It is the oldest and most prestigious of Yale's seven secret societies. Among the others are: Scroll & Key, Book & Snake, Wolf's Head, Elihu, and Berzelius. These fraternities serve as recruiting grounds for young people destined for careers in government, law, finance and other influential sectors of American life. Skull & Bones is the elite of the elite among these societies. Only Scroll & Key can claim a near equal status.
Since its founding, Skull & Bones has inducted about 2,500 members. At any given time, about 600 or so members of the Order are alive. The society was exclusively male until the 1990s, when the society voted to admit women.
If the members of Skull & Bones were to select a Hall of Fame from among their members, some of the people whose names would almost certainly appear at the top of the list would be:
- Alphonso Taft, a founding member of the Order who served as the Secretary of War under President Rutherford B. Hayes (1876-1880).
- William Howard Taft, the only man to ever serve as both the President of the United States and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
- Henry Lewis Stimson, partner in the Wall Street law firm of Root and Stimson, Secretary of War under President Taft (1908-1912), Governor General of the Philippines (1926-1928), Secretary of State under President Herbert Hoover (1929-1933) and Secretary of War under Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman (1940-1946).
- Averell Harriman, investment banker with Brown Brothers Harriman, director of the Lend-Lease program of the U.S. State Department (1941-1942), U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1943-1946), Governor of New York, Under Secretary of State for Asia (1961-1963), and presidential secret envoy to Soviet leaders Stalin, Krushchev, Brezhnev and Andropov.
- Robert Lovett, partner in Brown Brothers Harriman, Assistant Secretary of War for Air (1941-1945), Deputy Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Defense (1950), leading member of the New York Council on Foreign Relations.
- Harold Stanley, investment banker, founder of Morgan Stanley.
- Robert A. Taft, United States Senator (1938-1950).
- Prescott Sheldon Bush, investment banker and partner in Brown Brothers Harriman, United States Senator from Connecticut, father of George Herbert Walker Bush.
- George Herbert Walker Bush, United States Congressman (1964-1970), Chairman of the Republican National Committee, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, first American Diplomatic Liaison to the Peoples Republic of China, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1975-1977), Vice President of the United States (1980-1988), President of the United States (1988-1992).
- George Walker Bush, President of the United States (2001- ).
- John Thomas Daniels, agro-industrialist, founder of Archer Daniels Midland.
- Hugh Wilson, foreign service officer, Counsellor to Japan (1911-1921), U.S. Minister to Switzerland (1924-1927), Assistant Secretary of State (1937-1938). Ambassador to Germany 1938), Special Assistant to the Secretary of State (1939-1941), Office of Strategic Services (1941-1945).
- John Forbes Kerry, Massachusetts senator and 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate.
- William F. Buckley, Jr., conservative commentator and founder of the National Review magazine.
- William Sloane Coffin, former chaplain of Yale and antiwar activist
There has been much speculation over what goes on within the society's walls. In a 60 Minutes report on Skull and Bones, New York Observer reporter Ron Rosenbaum says that in part of the group's initiation ritual, "a woman holds a knife and pretends to slash the throat of another person lying down before them, and there's screaming and yelling at the neophytes.".
Alexandra Robbins, a journalist who was herself a member of a rival secret society during her senior year at Yale, says the cast of the initiation ritual is right out of Harry Potter meets Dracula: 'There is a devil, a Don Quixote and a Pope who has one foot sheathed in a white monogrammed slipper resting on a stone skull. The initiates are led into the room one at a time. And once an initiate is inside, the Bonesmen shriek at him. Finally, the Bonesman is shoved to his knees in front of Don Quixote as the shrieking crowd falls silent. And Don Quixote lifts his sword and taps the Bonesman on his left shoulder and says, ‘By order of our order, I dub thee knight of Euloga.’" 1
Some sources claim that initiates also lie in a coffin and recite their entire sexual histories.
A number of conspiracy theories have arisen alleging that Skull & Bones is an offshoot of an old Bavarian secret society called the Illuminati and that some of its members are actively involved in a plot to control world events. Such theories acquired additional impetus when S&B member George Herbert Walker Bush heralded the collapse of the former Soviet Union by declaring that a "New World Order" had emerged. The idea of a "New World Order" sounded ominously like the "one world government" that features in many conspiracy theories.
Related SourceWatch articles
- Alexandra Robbins, "Skull & Cross Bones Society", skullandcrossbones.org. See also her book "Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power"
- Antony Sutton, Book: "Americas Secret Establishment",
- Bush-Law in the Land of Mannon. Alfred Mendes outlines the history of America's beloved First Family and some of their choice friends.
- Stephen Prothero, Skulls in the closet. What does membership in a bastion of privilege say about George W. Bush's character?, Salon, January 21, 2000.
- Reference to 60 Minutes broadcast October 5, 2003. Article: CBS News.com, October 2, 2003.
- Mark Coulton, Digging up the Skull and Bones connection, The Age, March 18, 2006.