Yale student William Huntington Russell spent a year studying in Germany in 1831. While in Germany, Russell grew close with the leader of a German secret society that also used the skull as their symbol. Upon his return, Russel had founded “The Order of the Scull and Bones” in 1832 with Alphonso Taft. Skull and Bones was founded in response to Russell having a fundamental disagreement with Phi Beta Kappa, an academic society, about their masonic traditions. Skull and Bones membership is limited to 15 juniors per year who undergo a 2 day long initiation process organized by the leaving 15 seniors. Initiates are given new names, introduced into the prized possessions of the Society, and “reborn” into a society that includes over 60 US Congressmen, 3 Presidents, Former CIA Directors and countless CEOs and other American Businessmen. Bonesmen have their hands in every level or power in the country. Skull and Bones society members will often hire each other within their investment banks and law firms as well as appoint each other to high ranking public offices.
As one of America’s most powerful Secret Societies, Skull and Bones is a brotherhood with influence in all levels of American institutions. Over time, the most influential and powerful members, their secret rituals, and the meaning behind the most recognizable symbols of the Skull and Bones society have all been revealed. Skull and Bones even links the 2004 Presidential Election and the Skull of the famous Apache Warrior Geronimo.
Skull and Bones Assets
Skull and Bones society claims assets of over $4.2 million. Of the $4.2M, the famous Skull and Bones Tomb sits at 64 High St. in New Haven CT. The Russell Trust Association is used to manage the assets of the society. Deer Island in the St Lawrence River is also owned by the Russell Trust Association and is said to be used for retreats for Skull and Bones members. Initially, the island was a place for Bonesmen to rekindle their old friendships. Now, the island is a shell of it’s former self as most of the buildings have become overgrown by natural plant life. Only one building remains in tact. It is said to have 15 bedrooms and still be used as a retreat location. Deer Island was given to the Skull and Bones Society sometime before 1949. The Russell Trust Association also owns much of the real estate used by Yale University as well as large portions of land in Connecticut.