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.