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Skull and Bones

Skull and Bones is one of the so-called secret societies, essentially fraternities, at Yale University. Members are drawn exclusively from Yale undergraduates. Skull and Bones has many famous members including George and George W. Bush, Presidents of the United States.

Skull and Bones, like most of Yale's secret societies, was founded in the 19th century. The society forbids members from revealing affiliation, although for many years the University's yearbook has published a list of members. Rituals of Skull and Bones are based around the organization's campus building which is called the Tombs. While most members are Christian, the secrecy of the Skull and Bones rituals and descriptions thereof have led some to liken them to Satanic practices. The only purported video of a society ritual, taken by journalist Ron Rosenbaum, documents hooded, masked figures participating in what looks like an initiation rite.

Other Yale secret societies include Scroll and Key[?], Wolf's Head[?], Book and Snake, and Berzelius[?]. Given the power and prominence of the members, and relative obscurity of the societies, the societies are frequently included in conspiracy theories. Such conspiracy theories were the basis of the film The Skulls.

Each year 15 new undergraduates are invited to join by the existing members, but in recent years some have occasionally turned down membership to what they view as stuffy secret societies.

Members have gone on to highly successful careers in education, banking, law, industry, and government. However, so have many, many other individuals who have attended Yale and were not members of any of the secret societies.

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