People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies

Alli - September 29, 2021

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Members of Skull and Bones. Wikimedia.

Skull & Bones – Yale’s Sinister Secret Society (Part 2)

The society releases the names of the new invitees every year – but what takes place within the four walls of The Tomb and on the society’s private retreat, Deer Island, is to this day shrouded in secrecy. Members are required to take on society pseudonyms, usually taken from antiquity and classical literature, and use a complex numerical code by which clocks are set to 5 minutes ahead of the real-time and special importance is placed on the number 322. The origins of this are unclear, though speculation holds that it is something to do with Greek antiquity or an original founding chapter of the organization that existed before the Yale group was created, possibly in Germany.

According to some sources, members are assigned nicknames. “Long Devil” is assigned to the tallest member; “Boaz” goes to any member who is a varsity football captain. Many of the chosen names are drawn from literature (“Hamlet,” “Uncle Remus”), from religion and from myth. The banker Lewis Lapham passed on his name, “Sancho Panza,” to the political adviser Tex McCrary. Averell Harriman was “Thor,” Henry Luce was “Baal,” McGeorge Bundy was “Odin.” George H. W. Bush was “Magog,” a name reserved for a member considered to have the most intimate experience. George W. Bush, unable to decide, was temporarily called “Temporary,” and the name was never changed.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
This undated photo provided by Christie’s shows the 1872 ballot box belonging to Yale’s secretive Skull and Bones society that is being offered for sale at Christie’s New York City auction house. The ballot box, in the form of a skull and cross bones, is being sold on Jan. 22 for an estimated $10,000 to $20,000. AP Photo/Christie’s.

This Alleged Skull & Bones Member (Bonesman) Opened up a Q&A (Part 1)

In an interesting twist and parting from its usually secretive character, one alleged Bonesman came forward to offer an opportunity for people to ask them pressing questions about the secret society. The initial post said: “By Request — I am a member of Skull and Bones. AMAA. Things I will not answer are anything that compromises my own identity. A lot of my fellow Bonesmen take the secrecy of the organization very very seriously. Lucky for you guys, I like Reddit more than I like Bones.” He then opened it up to questions, here are some interesting ones:

“Q: Does Bones offer any financial support to members during or post their tenure at Yale? A: Bonesmen get cash when they graduate. It’s not enough to make you rich; it’s more like a sizeable parting gift.

Q: How did Alexandra Robbins’s book affect your society? It seemed all a bit of a joke to me that people took it so seriously. A: Bonesmen, especially old ones, seem to love the secrecy and mystique of Skull and Bones. I think it’s pretty stupid.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Screen grab from documentary on Skull and Bones. Amazon.

This Alleged Skull & Bones Member (Bonesman) Opened up a Q&A (Part 2)

Q: Whats the point of the club and what does it do? A: Bones is really all about helping other bonesmen. There isn’t a lot more to it than that.

Q: I know with other organizations (friend was in Scroll and Key) that the rolodex is the most powerful element; however, did you find the actual society meetings (debates, rituals, etc.) to be enriching? She often spoke of them as a kind of stepping stone of sorts – much as a modern finishing school. A: The society meetings are a cool element. You are “tapped” ie: informed and given a chance to accept or reject an offer. Some people (like Joe Lieberman, to give a famous example), have declined. There aren’t (that many) hard feelings about declining a tap. As I said above, they really force you to bond with your fellow taps in very short order.

Q: Has someone ever befriended, hired, or otherwise affiliated themselves with you in hope of benefiting from your membership? A: All the time. But it’s pretty easy to tell when people start sucking up to you right after the Rumpus publishes your name.”

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
The tomb house for Scroll and Key. Wikimedia.

More Yale Secret Societies

Fans of Leigh Bardugo’s “Ninth House” may have already recognized the name Skull & Bones. But this isn’t the only Yale secret society – and you can find multiple real Yale secret societies in her paranormal thriller. The Scroll and Key Society is another secret society, founded in 1842 at Yale University. It is one of the oldest Yale secret societies and reputedly the wealthiest.The society is one of the reputed “Big Three” societies at Yale, along with Skull and Bones and Wolf’s Head. Each spring, the society admits fifteen rising seniors to participate in its activities and carry on its traditions.

Its notable alumni include CNN news anchor and columnist Fareed Zakaria and “Dateline NBC” news anchor Stone Phillips. While Skull & Bones tends to be the more infamous of the Yale societies, that doesn’t mean that Scroll and Key doesn’t have its secrets. However, these secret societies are good at keeping their secrets. So we will have to trust that the next “member” is just that. They claim to be a part of the “tomb-owning” elite at Yale. Of course, that could mean they could be a part of a few secret societies on campus.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
Yale University. Yale.

A Yale Secret Society Member Spills About Traditions

“Our week usually consists of an informal dinner on Sundays where it was just our current delegation (term for the current group/cohort). Afterwards we’d either have a bio or just hangout (movies, movies, TV, drinking, laser tag, mixer with another landed society). Thursday nights are very different. We dress formally and have dinner with a small group of adults who are either members or honorary members. Honorary members are usually faculty members. We also usually have an invited speaker who is prominent in his or her field.

“After dinner the adults leave, the delegation usually does the usual college hangout things. We only wear black robes and white masks around tap (the process/time when we pick a new delegation from the junior class). We do have meetings in the secret society where things gets done, these more serious meetings usually occur in a special/sacred room. I wouldn’t say we control anyone’s future but our own. We encourage each other in our endeavors and learn to rely on other people who have been members. This usually leads to interesting, useful connections when it comes to career moves.”

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
An Illuminati Symbol. Complex

The Illuminati – The Big One

No reputable people have come forward with a personal account, but we can’t exclude this one.

One secret society that has maintained its power into the modern-day – if you believe it exists to start with – is the Illuminati. Like so many of our clandestine organizations, the Illuminati charts itself back to the 18th century, when the likes of the Freemasons, the Rosicrucians and the Carbonari were also finding their feet. They began life as an order of rationalists in a conservatively Christian society – Bavaria, in their case – that wanted to negate the influence of religion in public life and curb the power of the authoritarian German order. Naturally, this sort of behavior did not endear them to the ruling class of the time and necessitated that movement towards a secretive organizational structure.

Nevertheless, the Bavarian Illuminati persisted and grew, forming a network of political liberals and reformers that spread out from their home base in Ingolstadt, Bavaria across southern Germany. They had degrees like Masons, pseudonyms to maintain secrecy and a sophisticated system of spying on each other that was designed to keep everyone honest and deter police informers. The original grouping in Bavaria clashed with the Freemasons, from whom they regularly stole members, and the Rosicrucians, whom they considered not to be revolutionary enough in their zeal for a rational, technocratic society. Eventually, the anti-monarchical nature of the Illuminati caught up with them and in 1785, all secret societies were banned by Duke Karl Theodor of Bavaria and their membership fizzled out.

People Reveal their Personal Accounts with Infamous Secret Societies
A Popular Symbol of the Illuminati

The Illuminati – The Big One

What marks out the Illuminati is not so much their origins, but where they (supposedly) are today. Despite going into abeyance in the last 18th century, many considered that the Illuminati were merely dormant rather than gone. They were blamed in some royalist quarters for the French Revolution – they certainly did share goals of Robespierre and Lafayette – and generally became to go-to bogeyman for all conservative fears. The appeal of a secret society on which all the ills of the world could be blamed has not diminished over the years, and arguably the myth of the Illuminati is now more powerful than the real group ever was.

Their goals – technocratic world government by the rational, rich and smart – could not have been better constructed for the modern-day conspiracy nut. The fears of the Illuminati began to manifest themselves in the aftermath of the 1848 Revolutions in Europe, which had largely won the goals of the original secret society, and only grew as the organization itself ceased to be. Right-wing conspiracy theorists have long pointed to an unseen hand and in both the United States and in Europe, writers pointed to the Illuminati as a cabal of (often Jewish) bankers and moneymen who controlled finance and thus the world. Of course, there was very little to the rumors, which were often virulently anti-semitic in their origin and goals, but nothing fuels a conspiracy theory like its adherents being told that they’re miles wrong – and so it persists to this day.

 

Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

Contributions made by D.G. Hewitt

NYTimes – The Secret World of Opus Dei

History Channel – 7 Things You May Not Know About Freemasons

Business Insider – 14 US Presidents Who Were Members Of One Of The Most Mysterious And Powerful Secret Societies In History

The Atlantic – What It’s Like to Join the Freemasons

News Week – Shadows in The Shadows: The Rosicrucians, A Fake Secret Society, Had A Real Impact on The World

The National Archives – The Templars’ ‘Curse’ On the King of France

The Connexion – The Knights Templar – A Christian Military Force Crushed by A French King

America Magazine – Opus Dei in the United States

World History Encyclopedia – The Assassins

Encyclopedia Britannica – Gavrilo Princip

Smithsonian Magazine – The Origin of the Tale that Gavrilo Princip Was Eating a Sandwich When He Assassinated Franz Ferdinand

The Guardian – Gavrilo Princip: Hero or Villain?

ThoughtCo – The Black Hand: Serbian Terrorists Spark WWI

History Extra – Why Europe’s Great Year of Revolution In 1848 Failed

BBC – The Birthplace of The Illuminati

Spy Scape – Secrets of The Illuminati: The Top-Secret Society with Plans to Rule the World

The Week – Who Are the Illuminati – And What Do They Control?

BBC News – Just Who Exactly Is Going to The Bilderberg Meeting?

New England Historical Society – Skull and Bones, or 7 Fast Facts About Yale’s Secret Society

The Washington Post – A Look Inside Yale’s Secret Societies — And Why They May No Longer Matter

Courant – Yale’s Secret Societies Go Bump in The Tap Night

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