Skull and Bones

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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:

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.

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