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Skull and Bones is an undergraduate senior secret society at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. It is the oldest senior class landed society. The society’s alumni organization, the Russell Trust Association, owns the society’s real estate and oversees the organization. The society is known informally as “Bones”, and members are known as “Bonesmen”.
What is Skull and Bones?
It was founded in 1832 after a dispute among Yale debating societies Linonia, Brothers in Unity, and the Calliopean Society over that season’s Phi Beta Kappa awards. William Huntington Russell and Alphonso Taft co-founded “the Order of the Scull and Bones”. The number “322” appears in Skull and Bones’ insignia and is widely reported to be significant as the year of Greek orator Demosthenes’ death.
The first extended description of Skull and Bones, published in 1871 by Lyman Bagg in his book Four Years at Yale, noted that “the mystery now attending its existence forms the one great enigma which college gossip never tires of discussing.”
Skull and Bones selects new members among students every spring as part of Yale University’s “Tap Day”, and has done so since 1879. Since the society’s inclusion of women in the early 1990s, it selects fifteen men and women of the junior class to join the society. The society “taps” those that it views as campus leaders and other notable figures for its membership.
In the 2004 U.S. Presidential election, both the Democratic and Republican nominees were alumni. George W. Bush wrote in his autobiography, “[In my] senior year I joined Skull and Bones, a secret society; so secret, I can’t say anything more.” When asked what it meant that he and Bush were both Bonesmen, former Presidential candidate John Kerry said, “Not much, because it’s a secret.”
The group Skull and Bones is featured in conspiracy theories, which claim that the society plays a role in a global conspiracy for world control. Theorists such as Alexandra Robbins suggest that Skull and Bones is a branch of the Illuminati, having been founded by German university alumni following the order’s suppression in their native land by Karl Theodor, Elector of Bavaria with the support of Frederick the Great of Prussia, or that Skull and Bones itself controls the Central Intelligence Agency.
Text: Wikipedia contributors. “Skull and Bones.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 6 Dec. 2017. Web. 8 Dec. 2017.