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Q: What’s the Scariest Secret Society at Yale?

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A: As far as collegiate secret societies go, there’s none more mysterious (and prestigious) than Yale’s Skull and Bones. In fact, the club boasts quite the membership list: George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, John Kerry, William Howard Taft, McGeorge Bundy, William F. Buckley, and Henry Luce to name just a few. The society dates all the way back to 1832, and, with such a large number of “Bonesmen” having attained positions of power over the years (including several presidents and a former head of the CIA), it’s no wonder that rumors abound that the society is obsessed with obtaining power and influencing U.S. foreign policy.

But whether or not members are truly “obsessed,” the group sure tries to give off a spooky impression. For instance, the Skull and Bones also goes by the name the Brotherhood of Death, and the members meet in an imposing temple-like building on the Yale campus called the Tomb (makes us wish we had a nightlight!). Bonesmen are selected, or “tapped,” during their junior year and can reveal their membership only after they’ve graduated. Even then, they can never talk about it.

The Bones have been accused of all sorts of crazy rituals and conspiracies, including drug smuggling and the assassination of JFK (after all, he did go to Harvard). It’s even rumored the skull of Geronimo resides in the Tomb, stolen from its resting place by Prescott Bush, Dubya’s granddad. And, in one of the more commonly known rituals, the initiate must spend all night naked in an open coffin, confessing all his sexual experiences to the group!

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