7 Things You Didn’t Know About The ‘Skull and Bones’ and It’s Members

Skull and Bones is a secret society that started at Yale University in the year 1832. Over the years, the cult has steadily grown in membership and more importantly, its influence in the world. About 3 past presidents of the United States have been Bonesmen, as well as many others in top positions in various walks of life. These lofty achievements of Skull and Bones members have often left the public wondering if there is more to the cult than ordinarily meets the eyes. In this article, you will find out more through these 7 facts about the Skull and Bones and its members.

7 Distinguishing Things That Set ‘Skull and Bones’ and Its Members Apart

1. How Members are Chosen

Skull and Bones is what it is today because of the achievements of its members in the society, the cult’s ideals which they hold dear to themselves as well as the huge secret that revolves around them. For many years, one such relatively unknown thing about the secret cult is its membership base, but in the 1970s, that changed. The group regularly publishes its membership list but their inner meetings and practices remain top-secret. The cult’s members are referred to as Bonesmen.

To qualify as a Bonesman, a student must be exceptionally good in academics, sports or both. Similarly, students with elite family names usually make the list. In its early days, white Protestant males were mostly the only members of the group but over time, that began to change. Al Hessberg, class of 1938 and Levi Jackson, class of 1950, were the first none white football captains to become Bonesmen. Similarly, the group was also exclusively for males until 1992 when a second alumni vote agreed to accept 7 female members tapped to join the group.

2. How Fresh Bonesmen are Initiated

It is a truism that many things that go on with Skull and Bones and its members happen in secret but that does not mean that people are not digging for insight into what happens within the organization. In recent times, more revelations are coming to light about how the cult initiates its members.

A former Yale student who became a journalist with the New York Observer was able to capture some footage of the cult’s initiation rituals. It involves a form of mock human sacrifice, the kissing of a skull, drinking of fake blood from a skull and various other seemingly juvenile embarrassing things. These other things include lying naked in a coffin where they are expected to masturbate and reveal their most secret sexual fantasies and actual experiences.

3. What Happens At The Deer Island Retreat?

Another interesting fact about the Skull and Bones and its members is their ownership of Deer Island which is located on the St. Lawrence River.

The island retreat is a place for members to meet up and rekindle old friendships. The island is reportedly managed by the Russell Trust Association which is a business of the Skull and Bones secret cult incorporated by William Huntington Russell in 1856.

However, recent reports suggest that younger Bonesmen don’t fancy the idea of an island retreat and as a result, the facility now lies in ruins with some even calling it a dumpsite.

4. The Tomb and How It Was Built

The Tomb
The Tomb (Image Source)

The headquarters of Skull and Bones secret cult at Yale University is a building called Tomb. It is a crypt-like sandstone structure that houses items like skeletons, portraits and other items of importance to the members. As with every other thing about the cult, the building and all that goes on in it is covered in secret.

The Tomb was built in 3 phases; its first wing was built in 1856, the second wing was added in 1903 while the 3rd phase which is the addition of Neo-Gothic towers to the rear garden was completed in 1912.

5. They Allegedly Possess Skulls of Historical Figures

An interesting but weird fact about the Skull and Bones cult is their possession of skulls of famous people stolen by its members. One of such well-known case is the skull of Geronimo [a prominent leader and medicine man from the Bedonkohe band of the Apache tribe] alleged to have been stolen from his grave by Prescott Bush during WW1. Other skulls the cult is accused of being in possession of are that of Pancho Villa [a Mexican revolutionary general] and that of Martin Van Buren [eighth president of the United States from 1837 to 1841].

6. What does Order 322 Signify?

The number 322 often appears in the cults insignia. It is reported to be the year of Greek orator Demosthenes’ death. It also refers to the time Athenians lost the Lamian war, forcing the city to dissolve its democracy and adopt a plutocratic form of governance that allowed only rich Athenians to remain citizens.

7. Names You Will Find In Its Powerful Membership List

Bonesmen are often men who grew to become powerful and successful in their chosen careers. Since the 1830s, the cult has seen several successful men in politics, science, sports, business, media, and more as members. It is on record that Skull and Bones has produced 3 past United States presidents. These presidents include William Howard Taft [27th President of the United States], George Herbert Walker Bush [41st President of the United States] and George W. Bush [43rd President of the United States].


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